On Sunday, 10 September, Aboriginal leaders from across Victoria came together to sign a declaration in support of a Yes vote for Constitutional recognition of First Nations Australians and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
VACCA CEO, Muriel Bamblett, was in attendance along with a leaders from many Victoria Aboriginal organisations including Aunty Jill Gallagher AO (CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation), Aunty Esme Bamblett (CEO, Aboriginal Advancement League), Antoinette Braybrook (CEO, Djirra) and Rueben Berg (Co-Chair, First People’s Assembly of Victoria.
VACCA, along with an overwhelming majority of the Aboriginal community, strongly supports a Yes vote in the coming referendum. Constitutional recognition will finally acknowledge over 60,000 years of history and a Voice to Parliament will allow our communities to be heard. When we have a say on the decisions that affect us, we will see better policy and better outcomes for our children, families and young people.
A Voice to Parliament is essential to ensure we are heard now and in the future on the issues that affect us.
Read the declaration in full below.
An overwhelming majority of the Aboriginal Community want to see an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice enshrined in Australia’s Constitution. A Voice will give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all corners of the continent real standing in this country. The country we have fought for in world wars, the country we have won Olympic medals for.
Hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gathered at Uluru, after a dozen consultation conventions, to call for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
This Voice would be chosen by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and advise parliament on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.
This Voice is our chance to choose who represents us, rather than people handpicked by government.
An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice will make a real, meaningful difference to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.
A Voice will bring forward 60,000 years of wisdom to inform our future.
The Voice will champion ancient Aboriginal culture and ways of knowing, being, and doing to drive policy that supports thriving Communities.
In providing a platform to speak directly to the Australian Government, the Voice can empower Aboriginal Communities to create better health and wellbeing for our people.
The Voice will unite Australia as a nation. A Voice will tell the world that as a nation we are unique, we have the oldest culture in the world, we are proud of it, and all of Australia feel a part of who we are.
In the 1967 Referendum Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were counted – on October 14 a successful referendum will empower our Communities to be heard.
We vote ‘Yes’.