The Voice Referendum and The Uluru Statement From the Heart
As part of Waverley Council’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation, Waverley Council unanimously voted to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The statement calls for two substantive changes: the Voice to Parliament and a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement making and truth-telling about our First Nations history. In February this year, Council also voted to support the ‘Yes’ case for the voice referendum via a community education strategy including workshops and community events. We are extremely saddened by the outcome of the vote on 14 October 2023.
As a Council committed to social justice, we feel deep disappointment that so many Australians have turned down the opportunity to walk together to recognise, empower and listen to Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander people by enshrining a voice to Parliament within the constitution. We also want to thank everyone who has been participating in the many conversations and discussions that helped to strengthen the ongoing dialogue about truth and justice. 62% of voters in the Wentworth electorate supported the Voice and that is a great reflection of all the work that’s been done to share information and promote understanding of the issues at stake.
We will continue to respect, acknowledge and protect the continuous living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the implementation of our Reconciliation Action Plan, working with our Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Committee, and maintaining strong relationships with the traditional custodians of the Waverley are
THE REFERENDUM QUESTION
A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?
Voters were asked whether they supported the alteration of the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Voters were asked either select 'yes' or 'no' in response to the question. To pass, a national majority of more than 50% of all voters must choose 'Yes'. Currently, 60% of Australians have voted 'no' and 40% have voted 'yes'.
Waverley Voice to Parliament Community Forum
On May 10, Council hosted a forum with panel members Craig Foster, Ruby Langton-Batty, Michael Ingrey, and Mayor of Waverley, Councillor Paula Masselos to provide information to the community about the upcoming referendum. The recording can be viewed below.
Walking Together Training
Waverley Council held three Walking Together workshops and a train the trainer session delivered by Nicole Laupepa and Jacqui Parker, so the community could learn more about the Uluru Statement From the Heart and the Voice to Parliament referendum.
The Walking Together workshops immersed participants in what it takes to walk together using the Uluru Statement from the Heart as an educational framework. The workshop facilitated knowledge, understanding, and a sense of purpose for non-Indigenous Australia to walk together with First Nations people.
The Train the Trainer workshop was aimed at participants who had completed the Walking Together workshop, and provided participants with resources and knowledge to facilitate educational sessions within their own communities.
If you are interested in attending a Walking Together workshop, click here for the facebook page and more information. https://www.facebook.com/groups/walkingtogetherproject/
To register your interest in any other upcoming Council events in relation to the Uluru Statement From the Heart and Voice to Parliament, click here.
Waverley's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)
The RAP outlines the Council’s vision for Waverley to be a vibrant, resilient, caring and inclusive community where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:
- Practice and celebrate their culture and heritage proudly
- Are honoured for their survival and resilience, and supported to continue to overcome adversity
- Are respected and acknowledged as First Nations peoples with the right to determine their own futures
Waverley Mayor, Paula Masselos, said Council supports the entire community in working together for reconciliation and that the Uluru Statement is a key movement in achieving that goal.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is as follows. Listen to an audio of the statement here.
Uluru Statement From the Heart
We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?
With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.
These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future
Explore these useful websites to broaden your knowledge about the Uluru Statement from the Heart and what enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution would mean for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Uluru Dialogue
The Uluru Dialogue organisation represents the cultural authority of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and leads community education on the Uluru Statement’s reforms of Voice, Treaty and Truth. The Uluru Dialogue is based at the Indigenous Law Centre, UNSW Sydney. Their website has a multitude of resources such as the history of the Statement, methods for taking action and showing support, webinars and a library of helpful FAQ’s.
From the Heart
From the Heart is a campaign for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament that is enshrined in the Constitution. From the Heart advocates for the Australian people to come together through a referendum to make this change. Explore their website to learn about the Voice, why it matters, methods for taking action and a library of helpful FAQ’s. The website also offers a short 15-20 minute course where you'll discover what is meant by Indigenous Constitutional Recognition through a Voice – and what a Voice to Parliament is, and is not.
Watch these informative videos to further your knowledge about the Uluru Statement and what enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution would mean for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Uluru Dialogue Wrap-Up Webinar
Featuring Co-Chair of the Uluru Dialogue, Professor Megan Davis along with Associate Professor Hannah McGlade, Associate Professor Sana Nakata and Dr Dani Larkin, this webinar provides participants with a range of examples of how a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament could work in practice. These include Indigenous expertise on issues that have been at the forefront of Australian politics throughout 2021.
TEDxCanberra: The Uluru Statement From The Heart - an idea whose time has come
Listen to Dean Parkin, campaign director of From the Heart, present to a local audience at TEDxCanberra about the Statement. Having been closely involved in the process that resulted in the historic Uluru Statement From The Heart, Dean continues to advocate for constitutional and structural reform.