A VOICE TO
A Voice to Parliament is a body enshrined in the Constitution would enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide advice to the Parliament on policies and projects that impact their lives.
A Voice to Parliament gives the Australian Government the opportunity to make policies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, rather than for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
WHAT CHANGE WILL
A VOICE DELIVER?
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have consistently called for self-determination, rather than symbolism, to make a real difference to their lives. A Voice to Parliament will give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people agency to help inform decisions that impact their lives.
Current policy-making does not have a systematic process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to provide advice, meaning that policy is often made for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people rather than with them.
A Voice to Parliament, enshrined in the Constitution, would enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to give advice to the Federal Parliament about laws and policies that impact them through a simplified policy making process and structural change.
This means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are included in the law-making process, rather than having bureaucrats and politicians deciding what is best for them.
A Voice to Parliament, enshrined in the Australian Constitution, will deliver real and practical advice to Parliament and the Government on how laws and policies can best improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who know and understand the best way to deliver real and practical change in their communities have a say through a Voice, we will finally be able to close the gap that still exists between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians. This is why it is so important.
TO THE ULURU STATEMENT
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a call by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for real and practical change in Australia through the establishment of a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament and the establishment of a Makarrata Commission, to undertake processes of treaty-making and truth-telling.
From the Heart’s call for a Voice to Parliament is in line with the call outlined by the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The journey towards the Uluru Statement has been long and challenging. In 1937, Yorta Yorta elder William Cooper petitioned King George VI calling for representation in parliament.
The Yirrkala Bark Petitions (1963), the Larrakia Petition (1972) and the Barunga Statement (1988) are just some examples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s efforts to find a fair place in the Australian nation.
Australia is the only country in the world yet to formally recognise its Indigenous people in the form of a treaty or constitutional recognition, unlike our key allies such as Canada and New Zealand.
Prime Minister John Howard announced that if he was to win the 2007 Election, within 18 months, he would hold a referendum to change the constitution to recognise the “special status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first peoples of our nation”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard established the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution, beginning a renewed national focus on finding a path towards a referendum.
This political focus culminated in the establishment of the Referendum Council in 2015 by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
The Referendum Council built on previous work done by other committees and reports and was tasked with engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on their views on real and meaningful recognition in the Constitution.
The Council established 12 First Nations Regional Dialogues, which engaged over 1200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates on a number of existing proposals for constitutional change.
These Regional Dialogues undertook extensive deliberation of the proposals and culminated in the four-day First Nations National Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017.
The Convention brought together 250 Indigenous representatives from across the country to reach a consensus on the most meaningful and appropriate way to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the Constitution – a Voice to Parliament.
From the Heart campaign established to take up the call of the Uluru Statement for a constitutionally-enshrined Voice to Parliament. We believe that it is now time for the Australian people to come together through a referendum and make this fair and practical change.