Neighbourhood Matters acknowledges the generous invitation from First Nations Australians to the Australian people as expressed in the Statement from the Heart, and fully endorses the establishment of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament (henceforth ‘the Voice’), enshrined in the Australian Constitution.
We firmly believe that the Voice is an appropriate act of recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and a crucial first step towards justice, reconciliation and healing.
Furthermore, by ensuring decisions affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are guided by their own wisdom, we hope that as a nation we can address some of the most pressing issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities today, including children being taken from their families; high rates of incarceration; overcrowded housing and homelessness; and poor health and life expectancy outcomes. We expect that the Voice will hold governments to account for achieving the Closing the Gap targets.
The upcoming referendum on the Voice, set down for Saturday 14th October, is one of the most important moments in the history of our democracy. We acknowledge that, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, there are many different views on the Statement from the Heart and the Voice. We also acknowledge that, in the lead up to the referendum, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities may experience trauma, stress and even racism. We are therefore committed to promoting respectful dialogue on these issues that is well-informed and where all are able to participate safely.
Regardless of the outcome, the Neighbourhood Matters will support and partner with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and individuals for the sake of justice, reconciliation and healing in our own community. We will also support any future steps towards the establishment of a treaty and a truth-telling commission.
We urge all Australians to make an informed decision as they vote in the referendum on 14th September You can find the Australian Electoral Commission’s ‘Yes/No Referendum Pamphlet’ here and a factsheet about disinformation here.