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Unprecedented unity: Diverse groups forge alliance for First Nations Voice referendum

Health Industry Hub | June 1, 2023 |

In a historic display of solidarity, Australia witnessed an extraordinary gathering as diverse peak organisations came together to demand bipartisan action on a referendum for a First Nations Voice. The event, held at the Cutaway at Barangaroo in Sydney, was a captivating celebration broadcasted live, featuring prominent Australian filmmaker Rachel Perkins of the Arrernte and Kalkadoon Nations and representatives from major religious groups across the country.

The gathering marked an unprecedented milestone, as various faith communities set aside their differences to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and advocate for a constitutionally guaranteed First Nations voice.

Fifty-five years have passed since Australians overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’ in the 1967 referendum, which recognised Indigenous Australians as part of the voting population. Now, in the present day, representatives from various religious backgrounds have come together to emphasise the urgency of a First Nations Voice. The Joint Resolution, declared during the gathering, highlighted the necessity of this proposal, urging immediate bipartisan action.

A Voice for health equity: Organon and J&J leaders champion the Voice to Parliament as a catalyst for change

In her keynote address, Rachel Perkins, daughter of renowned Aboriginal activist Charlie Perkins, applauded the unity displayed by religious organisations, stating that they had come together despite their varying beliefs, cultures, and traditions to advocate for the constitutional voice. She praised their moral conviction, empathy, and generosity of spirit, acknowledging the power of the Uluru Statement in uniting Australians.

Ms Perkins further encouraged the public to follow the lead set by these religious organisations and put aside their differences, stressing that this issue transcends predictable divides and deserves bipartisan support. She urged the religious groups to deliver this crucial message to politicians and to pray for their bipartisan cooperation on the First Nations voice referendum.

She also highlighted the practical benefits of a constitutionally guaranteed First Nations voice, emphasising that it would deliver tangible results to improve outcomes for Indigenous communities. The proposed reform would ensure that Indigenous people’s voices are heard and considered in the creation of laws and policies concerning Indigenous affairs. It would provide a lasting commitment that Indigenous perspectives will always have a place at the table in their own country.

Drawing attention to the longstanding aspirations of Indigenous Australians, Ms Perkins notedthat the need for these reforms is not new. Generations of Indigenous individuals, including her late father, have fought tirelessly for the changes embodied in the Uluru Statement. She passionately asked, “Must we, like him, wait until death before our country reconciles with its ancient past and paves the way for a more harmonious future?”

The historic celebration was organized by the Radical Centre Reform Lab at Macquarie Law School, directed by constitutional lawyer Dr Shireen Morris. The Reform Lab, established with the generous support of Foundation Donors Henry and Marcia Pinskier, partnered with the Cape York Institute and Uphold & Recognise to make this momentous event possible.

As the event came to a close, the atmosphere was filled with hope and determination. The resounding call for a referendum on a First Nations Voice echoed through the hearts and minds of all those in attendance. It is a call that cannot be ignored, a call that demands a response from every Australian.

The question now remains: Will the nation rise to the occasion and embrace this opportunity for change? Will it honour the voices and aspirations of its First Nations people? The answer lies in the hands and hearts of every Australian, as they join together in pursuit of a more inclusive and just society for all.

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