We say ‘YES’ to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
As the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria, VACCHO believe that having an Indigenous voice enshrined in Australia’s Constitution is critical to addressing the health and wellbeing inequalities that continue to devastate Community.
Why does VACCHO support The Voice?
We believe that having an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice enshrined in the Constitution is critical to addressing the health and wellbeing inequalities that continue to devastate our Community. The last 250 years have disempowered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, creating intergenerational and ongoing trauma cycles that Governments have failed to rectify.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart was a landmark document that took into account hundreds of expert testimonies and days of discussions and negotiations. A Voice was the only suggestion endorsed by all regional dialogues, and we want to see it realised.
We know that Community control is the only way to create longstanding and positive changes for Community. A Voice in the Constitution will ensure that we are heard and represented, and it will start the process of effecting meaningful changes for all.
Left to right: VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher AO, Tim Watts MP, Marcus Stewart and the Honourable Linda Burney MP
The Referendum question
“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Do you approve this proposed alteration?”
If passed, the constitution would have the following lines inserted:
“In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:
i. there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
ii. the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
iii. the Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.”
The vast majority of Aboriginal people want to see a Voice enshrined in Australia’s Constitution. A Voice will give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all corners real standing in this country. The country we have fought for in world wars, the country we have won Olympic medals for.
And it’s not just about Aboriginal people needing a voice – it’s about Australia having an Aboriginal voice. The Voice will unite Australia as a nation. A Voice will tell the world that we as a nation are unique, we have the oldest culture in the world, we are proud of it, and all of Australia feels a part of who we are.
A Voice to Parliament will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people. A Voice will bring forward 60,000 years of wisdom to shape our future. The Voice will champion ancient Aboriginal culture and ways of knowing, being, and doing to drive policy that supports thriving Communities. By speaking directly to the Australian Government, the Voice will empower Aboriginal Communities to create better health and wellbeing for our people.
In the 1967 Referendum Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were counted – in the 2023 Referendum your ‘Yes’ vote will empower us to be heard.”
Helpful links to information on the Voice.
The 2017 ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ called for a First Nations Voice, as well as a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement-making and truth-telling.
The Deaf Aboriginal Services and Expression Australia have collaborated to provide Auslan translation of key information around the Voice to Parliament referendum.
The Australian Government’s website is a neutral source with clear and succinct information on the background to proposals for The Voice and the referendum.
A series of short videos produced by the University of Melbourne offering clear and concise information. Videos will be regularly added in the lead-up to the referendum.
Revered First Nations’ leaders from across the state have united to deliver a powerful show of support for a ‘Yes’ vote to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
“We are resilient people, and we will not take a backward step.” The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health...
Victoria’s Aboriginal leaders and hundreds of staff from Victoria’s largest Aboriginal organisations gathered to...
In a survey of 1600 health workers* across Victoria, 80% believed that health and wellbeing outcomes would be improved if Aboriginal people had more involvement in developing health policy.
Revered First Nations’ leaders from across the state have united to deliver a powerful show of support for a ‘Yes’...
Members of the Uluru Dialogue and key advocates for the ‘Yes’ campaign in Victoria joined forces at VACCHO on Sunday...
VACCHO celebrated revered leader Michael Long who encouraged Australia to “share the love” whilst embarking on his 650...
On 21 May 2023, 250 inner west residents attended The Voice Forum, held in Altona by Tim Watts MP, eager to hear from...