The journey home always feels hours long, but the excitement of seeing your family builds as you draw nearer; when you arrive you’re greeted by everyone, who are always glad to see you. The warm embrace of your aunties, uncles and cousins are one of the many feelings of home. The roar of laughter that fills the room, a perfect moment that would be impossible to match anywhere else.

The love that radiates from your family is irreplaceable. No matter how long you have been away, your family are first to welcome you with loving arms. You know that you will never go hungry or homeless, because you will always have family to turn to when the chips are down.

Coming from a big family myself, there has always been that indescribable bond.

It’s only natural that the love in our homes is important to us. Our home is where we grow, learn and return to when we are finished experiencing the world. There really is no place like home. Especially when you have lived in one house your entire life.

When you picture home, it is where you feel most safe, where you feel comfortable, where your memories are made. Whether it be dinner in front of the TV every night where you have those awkward talks with your parents or a quiet place to hide away when you feel the need to be alone. There are so many reminders that this is your home.

Then, imagine being told that your home is ‘A lifestyle choice’. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made a statement ascribing this to Aboriginal communities in rural areas, and that these “lifestyle choices will no longer be the taxpayers job to subsidise.”

You can only imagine the anger and hurt that something like this would have on the people living in these communities. The massive issue here is that the government is allowed to go into these communities, these homes, and forcefully shut them down. Shut down.

These very words send chills through my heart, knowing that homes are ripped out from under families, with no consideration for the First Nations People.

Culture is not a lifestyle choice. These forced closures not only affect homes, but a way of life; many generations before now have lived in these communities, and for many of these people, they have never left. Why is it that these communities are the ones that are being shut down? A threat that happens to only affect the First Nations People. Taking away someone’s home for the sake of the taxpayer is not reason enough. If anything, we are letting the Prime Minister bully these communities into homelessness.

I believe it is important to know that this is not the first time First Nations People have been faced with this threat, and I fear that it won’t be the last.

Words by Natika Cunningham