Posted September 2023
KU Children’s Services is proud to support Australia’s 45th referendum and the #Yes23 Campaign, recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the First Peoples of Australia and supporting a Voice to Parliament.
We acknowledge there are differing views on the upcoming referendum, however KU’s support for a Voice to Parliament is in keeping with our Statement of Commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and our organisational values of Diversity and Inclusion. We feel strongly that Australia’s First Nations Peoples have the right for their voices to be heard and to have a say on matters that impact them.
The information below has been provided by KU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs Team to help you understand why the referendum is needed.
What is the First Nations Voice to Parliament?
The creation of the First Nations Voice to Parliament (The Voice) is a result of the endorsement of the Uluru Statement from the Heart (The Statement) in May 2017, following two years of regional dialogues, calling for Voice, Treaty, Truth, and proposing several recommendations.
This year, on Saturday 14 October, Australians will vote to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
The Voice will be an elected Advisory Group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, having a responsibility and right to advise the Australian Parliament and Government on national matters of significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and will be protected in the Constitution of Australia.
The model of who and how The Voice is formed and how it will function will not and cannot be actioned until such time that a First Nations Voice is enshrined in the Constitution.
Be Informed and Prepared
Historically, successive state and territory governments have made decisions for, and about, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, many of which we now know have not worked.
Whilst many Australians acknowledge the status quo is unacceptable and want positive change, there are also many who are unsure if The Voice will make a significant difference – they want to know more.
The Voice is an opportunity to hear from local peoples about local issues, and for First Nations Peoples to be given a chance to make practical changes, to change the status quo and improve life opportunities for future generations.
This is a real opportunity to close all the gaps between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians and should not be seen as a situation of ‘history repeating itself’.
The 2023 Productivity Commission Report findings on the Closing the Gap outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children indicate that early education targets have not improved and children’s removal from their homes and families is increasing. This trajectory can be changed if the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities are heard, if solutions are determined locally, and implemented with sustainable, long-term funding.
Readings and Resources
The following resources have been sourced to provide opportunities to research, learn and understand why a referendum is needed and to assist people in making an informed vote.
- Voice to Parliament – Reconciliation Australia
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice – Community Toolkit – resources to help you to learn more about the Voice and the referendum, including videos, posters, fact sheets, templates and more – Australian Government
- What is the Indigenous Voice to Parliament? Here's how it would work and who's for and against it – ABC News
- Frequently Asked Questions about The Voice – Yes23
- VOICEfacts – a series of short videos offering clear and concise information to help Australians make an informed decision on the Voice – The University of Melbourne
- The Year of the Voice – Q+A Highlights – ABC News
- Indigenous Constitutional Recognition through a Voice – this course explores the first of the proposed reforms of the Uluru Statement from the Heart: Indigenous Constitutional Recognition through a Voice. This experience will take about 15 – 20 minutes of your time to explore the content.