From the desk of Luke, Chief Executive Officer.
Australia stands at a pivotal juncture in its history, where the voices of its First Nations peoples are calling for recognition, representation, and reconciliation. The proposal for an Indigenous Voice in the Australian Parliament represents a historic opportunity to rectify past injustices and build a more inclusive and equitable nation.
At the heart of the “Yes” vote for an Indigenous Voice lies the acknowledgment of Australia’s First Peoples as the custodians of this land for tens of thousands of years. Voting “Yes” sends a powerful message that the contributions, wisdom, and cultural richness of Indigenous Australians are valued and integral to the nation’s identity. An Indigenous Voice in the Parliament provides a formal avenue for their voices to be heard, fostering a sense of respect and recognition that has been long overdue.
As an organisation, South Coast NRM deeply values the relationships held with the Aboriginal community, organisations, and Native Title bodies who are guiding us to care for Country and people. On October 14th, South Coast NRM will be supporting a “Yes” vote, to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution and to listen to their voices about matters affecting their communities.
As the current CEO of South Coast NRM and having worked across regional and remote Australia for over 20 years with Aboriginal people and farmers, this is an important time. I applaud the efforts of the Noongar/ Nyungar Aboriginal communities that work tirelessly to make Australia a better place and am positive about what a “yes” vote will bring to our region and the nation.
In the words of Robbie Miniter – Chair of the Gnowangerup Aboriginal Corporation, “When it comes to constitutional recognition the way forward is friendly and collaborative working relationships no matter what race. This is about bringing us to be recognised as an Australian and not as plants and animals. We are standing by a voice that has been a whisper in the wind for decades telling us all that Australia needs to add us so we can be formally counted. This isn’t just a voice to parliament it’s a voice to each other, that calling ourselves Australian is ok no matter what colour, race or creed. If we all stand strongly together, we can accomplish anything. Human rights and equality are one thing, this is about opportunity – an opportunity to be called Australian.”
Why Australia needs an Indigenous Voice in its Constitution.
Throughout history, Indigenous Australians have suffered systemic injustices, dispossession, and discrimination. Voting “Yes” to an Indigenous Voice represents a commitment to rectifying these wrongs by ensuring that policies and decisions are made with the direct input of those who have been most affected. This proactive step can help address the deep-rooted disparities in areas such as healthcare, education, and employment, ultimately leading to a fairer and more inclusive society.
An Indigenous Voice in the Parliament has the potential to revolutionise policy development and implementation on matters affecting Indigenous Australians. By incorporating Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, and experiences into the decision-making process, policies can be more holistic and effective. This collaboration can lead to innovative solutions that consider the unique needs of Indigenous communities, which often differ from those of the broader population. Such an approach can pave the way for sustainable development and the preservation of cultural heritage.
Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is an ongoing journey that requires sincere efforts from all segments of society. Voting “Yes” to an Indigenous Voice signifies a commitment to this process. It acknowledges the importance of understanding, empathy, and shared responsibility in building a harmonious and united Australia. By empowering Indigenous Australians to have a direct say in matters that affect their lives, we can bridge gaps and build relationships that are founded on respect and cooperation.
Australia’s stance on Indigenous rights and representation carries significance on the global stage. By establishing an Indigenous Voice in the Parliament, Australia can showcase its commitment to social justice, human rights, and reconciliation. This sends a strong message to the international community about the nation’s dedication to rectifying historical wrongs and building a more inclusive society that values and empowers all its citizens.
Voting “Yes” to an Indigenous Voice in the Australian Parliament is not just a matter of policy; it’s a demonstration of national character and values. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge the past and create a more inclusive future. By embracing an Indigenous Voice, Australia has the chance to lead by example, fostering unity, respect, and shared prosperity for generations to come.
The time is now.
With the official announcement of a referendum date for October 14th, now is the time to have important conversations with family and friends. If you’d like more information on how you can support the Yes23 campaign, head to https://yes23.com.au/
If you live in Albany and surrounds and want to show your support for the Voice, you can join a get together at the Town Square/ Alison Hartman Gardens on Sunday 17th September at 11.00 am. In Perth, you can join Western Australia’s agriculture industry on Saturday 16th September from 2 – 4 pm, head to the yes23 website for more details or click on the image below to view.