Over six years ago, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates ‘from all points of the Southern sky’ gathered together and crafted the Uluru Statement from the Heart. They invited us to walk with them in a ‘movement of the Australian people for a better future’.
As representatives of the community sector, we stand ready to accept the generous invitation from First Nations peoples and take the next step towards that better future.
We will be saying ‘Yes’ at the referendum on October 14th, and we call on you to join us on this journey.
A Voice to Parliament will make our system fairer by ensuring that everyone has a chance to be heard.
It is a critical next step towards a future where First Nations peoples are respected and listened to and have the opportunity to inform government decisions about their own lives.
Drawing from our collective experience working with communities across Australia, we know that our political leaders make better policies when they listen to the voices of people directly affected.
Time and time again, in the disability sector, the housing sector, employment services, and aged care, we’ve seen that policies can succeed or fail based on how well governments respect and listen to the communities affected.
We’ve seen progress being made for communities who have been historically marginalised – like the LGBTQIA+ community – when we’ve truly listened to their experiences.
Unfortunately, governments have too often refused to listen or take up the advice of First Nations peoples.
Successive governments have ignored the urgent calls from First Nations leaders and peak organisations to invest in community controlled domestic violence organisations, take meaningful steps to protect Country and address climate change, and reform our justice system.
As a country, we have now reached a critical crossroad. We can either take this next step forward together towards deeper listening, healing and growth for our nation or sit on the sidelines and risk seeing this invitation rejected.
It is time for all of us to act; to have the conversations in our communities – around dinner tables, in lunchrooms, workplaces, community halls, and on sporting fields. Street by street, these are the actions that great social movements and transformational moments demand of us.
This is how we transform our nation and walk together towards a better future for all. The only question history will ask – what did you do to ensure that Australia voted ‘Yes’?
Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT)
Alannah & Madeline Foundation
Asylum Seekers Resource Centre (ASRC)
Australian Association for Adolescent Health (AAAH)
Australian Communities Foundation
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)
Australian Services Union
Brotherhood of St Laurence
Catholic Social Services Australia
Centre for Women’s Economic Safety (CWES)
Cerebral Palsy Alliance
Common Equity NSW
Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA)
Community Housing Industry Association NSW
Community Housing Industry Association Victoria
Community Legal Centres Australia
Council to Homeless Persons
David Morawetz’s Social Justice Fund
Disability Advocay Network Australia
Eastern Community Legal Centre
Economic Justice Australia
Edmund Rice Centre
Family & Relationship Services Australia
Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria)
Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA)
Financial Counselling Australia
Financial Rights Legal Centre
Good Things Foundation
Grampians disAbility Advocacy
Health Consumers’ Council WA
Health Justice Australia
Housing for the Aged Action Group
Human Rights Law Centre
Jesuit Social Services
Life Without Barriers
Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation
Mountains Community Resource Network
One Door Mental Health
People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
Public Health Association Australia
Sacred Heart Mission
Save the Children and 54 Reasons
Settlement Council of Australia
Settlement Services International
Single Mother Families Australia (SMFA)
Social Ventures Australia
South Port Community Housing Group
St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia
SydWest Multicultural Services
The Benevolent Society
The Pinnacle Foundation
The Snow Foundation
Uniting Care Australia
Welfare Rights Centre
Western Sydney Community Forum