• Vic Simms: a legendary musician who combines his talents with political activism. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Bidjigal Elder Vic Simms has called on the Prime Minister to start listening to Aboriginal people.
Liz Deep-Jones

21 Jun 2018 - 5:01 PM  UPDATED 21 Jun 2018 - 5:05 PM

After 60 years of combining his musical talents with political activism renowned singer-songwriter, Vic Simms fears he will not live to see reconciliation in his lifetime.

But he hasn’t lost his optimism — he hopes his grandchildren will have the chance to live in an equal society, through Treaty.

"It's nothing new asking for a Treaty. It's been around for maybe 30 to 40 years and it’s still being knocked back,” Mr Simms told NITV News.

He says he felt frustrated after the Prime Minister rejected the proposal for an Indigenous voice to parliament proposed by the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017.

“It was knocked back by Malcolm Turnbull and they're still calling for him to sit down and talk to blackfellas ... not just come out on a flying visit.”

His message to the Prime Minister is clear: "You gotta start listening to Aboriginal people!”

“This Treaty is not just a one-way ticket to Luna Park, this is their life! They're riding on this for a fair go."

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Vic Simms grew up on the Aboriginal mission La Perouse, in Sydney's southeast, where he experienced and witnessed racism first hand.

"You couldn't go across the other side of the road of Anzac Parade, and if you were an adult, you ended up in Long Bay Up until 1969, two years after the original referendum to change ways for Aboriginal people, so you had to be very careful.”

Mr Simms believes that the strict rules that were in place for Aboriginal people living at the mission influenced their musical abilities.

“You lived under a curfew and had to be home by six in the evening, so that's why I think we were so musical."

His album, The Loner is regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time in Australian music.

While he's still performing, Mr Simms spends much of his time teaching Aboriginal culture to school and university students through his history talks in the Botany Bay area. He's also an Ambassador for the Governor General and the Prime Minister for visiting heads of state.

"I represent Aboriginal people musically, politically and socially ‘cause that's who I am. I stand tall even though I'm only 5'5, but I do stand tall in being recognised and recognising who I represent. Unfortunately, we're second and third down their list in the political circle here in Australia. When will we get a fair go?"

The Point airs Thursday evenings, 8.30pm on NITV (Ch. 34) or catch up at SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #ThePoint

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