The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice: Shaping Australia’s Future
On October 14, 2023, Australians will have a historic opportunity to vote on whether to change the Constitution to establish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Here’s why your ‘yes’ vote matters.
The Referendum: A Pivotal Moment for Australia At the heart of this referendum lies a single, powerful question:
“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognize the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”
This isn’t just a legal change; it’s a profound acknowledgment of the rich history, culture, and contributions of Indigenous communities that have thrived on this land for thousands of years.
The Role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice The proposed Voice holds a critical role in reshaping Australia’s future:
Independent Advice: It will provide independent advice to the Parliament and Government, ensuring that Indigenous voices influence decision-making processes.
Accountability and Transparency: The Voice will operate with accountability and transparency, fostering trust and fairness in its actions.
Collaboration: It will work in harmony with existing organizations and traditional structures, recognizing the power of unity.
Establishing the Voice: A Step Towards Self-Determination The process of setting up the Voice is rooted in principles of self-determination and community representation:
Community Selection: Members of the Voice will be selected by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, respecting the desires of local communities.
Community Representation: The Voice will be a true representation of Indigenous communities, ensuring gender balance and involving youth voices.
Inclusivity and Respect: It will empower, be community-led, inclusive, respectful, and culturally informed, embracing the diverse traditions of Indigenous cultures.
ALS and Nolan Hunter: A Privilege of Insight Aboriginal Land Services (ALS) had the privilege of meeting with Nolan Hunter, an esteemed leader in the Uluru Dialogue. His insights added depth and significance to the discussion, highlighting the importance of this referendum in Australia’s reconciliation journey.
Pictured above: Aboriginal Land Services’ Central Services Manager Summer Bennell-Brinkworth and Nolan Hunter, Senior Leader of Uluru Dialogue.
Why Vote ‘Yes’? Voting ‘yes’ in this referendum is more than a checkbox; it’s a pledge to equality, unity, and a better future. By recognising the First Peoples and establishing the Voice, Australia takes a giant step towards a nation that values, respects, and includes Indigenous voices.
It’s an opportunity to ensure that the Indigenous communities’ perspectives are not just heard but genuinely considered in shaping the nation’s path. A ‘yes’ vote is a commitment to a more inclusive, equitable Australia.
In conclusion, the upcoming referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice is a pivotal moment in Australia’s history. It’s a chance to embrace diversity, acknowledge the past, and forge a brighter, more inclusive future. By voting ‘yes,’ Australians can lead the way toward a stronger, united nation—one that truly recognises and respects the First Peoples of this land.
Let’s stand together to shape Australia’s future.