Sustainable Communities SA Inc. supports the proposed amendment to the Constitution of Australia to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
In the coming month, Australians will be asked to vote on whether to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution and establish a Voice to Parliament.
The Sustainable Communities SA Committee determined that a Yes vote is best aligned with our organisational goals, policies, and values.
Australia is home to the oldest continuous living culture on Earth, and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are strong, proud and resilient. They have been caring for this land for millennia. Before colonisation, these First Australians flourished sustainably on this land and surrounding seas for generations. All Australians would do well to heed their wisdom and guidance, especially in matters that impact the lives of Indigenous Australians, such as climate change. In their long care for this country, they have deep knowledge of how we can do better action to reduce global warming. Let’s hear what they have to say.
We also recognise that individuals within the Sustainable Communities SA organisation and groups may have different views, which we respect. Allowing diversity of opinion and the opportunity to participate in conversations concerning your livelihoods and outcomes are essential elements of a positive culture. In Australia, it is further essential that we maintain knowledge of this country’s past and a desire to live in a just and fair society. We believe that the Voice supports those crucial goals.
Most Australians believe that our constitution should reflect our nation’s deep attitudes and values and provide a legal device to ensure that future generations do not repeat past failures.
Australia has been considering constitutional recognition of our First peoples for many years. Through the Uluru Statement from the Heart – the largest consensus of First Nations people on a proposal for substantive recognition – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples asked that this recognition comes through a Voice to Parliament, which will advise on laws and policies that affect their communities. We follow the leadership Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have shown with their invitation to us with the Uluṟu statement from the heart.
The proposed amendment to our Constitution signals a true strengthening of mutual trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It represents an agreement to finally start closing the gap. Voting Yes in this referendum is a vote for compassion and mutual understanding, and it has our full support.
We hope that all Australians will join us in voting Yes in this referendum, but regardless of your decision, we hope that you make it wisely and with the benefit of complete and truthful information.
For more information about the Voice, please refer to the Yes23 website: https://www.yes23.com.au/
Sustainable Communities SA Inc.
Monica O’Wheel, Chair