A Message from the Mayor about the Voice to Parliament referendum

7 September 2023

On behalf of Waverley Council, I welcome the Prime Minister’s recent announcement that the date for the Voice to Parliament referendum has been set for Saturday 14 October 2023.

The referendum is an historic opportunity to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

The Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos (pictured in centre) hosts the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia, at Bondi Pavilion on 24 August 2023. Picture: Deborah Field/Waverley Council

In November last year, Waverley Council unanimously voted to support the Uluru Statement From the Heart which 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 voted to support the Yes campaign in the lead-up to the Voice to Parliament Referendum through an education campaign.

I reiterate Waverley Council’s commitment to support the ‘Yes’ vote in this referendum, and I’m proud to represent a community that is committed to reconciliation and supports an Aboriginal voice in the Constitution. The Voice has widespread support, including from other councils, such as neighbouring Woollahra.

When Council held a community forum on the upcoming referendum earlier this year, we had an outstanding turnout of hundreds of people. I was privileged to join respected First Nations advocates on the panel, and I know our community was grateful to hear more about what this opportunity will mean.

How you vote is up to you, so to find out more, visit voice.gov.au or refer to the Australian Electoral Commission’s official Yes/No referendum pamphlet being distributed to all households.

Voting is compulsory for all adults, so visit the AEC website to ensure your enrolment detail are up to date. If you are scheduled to attend your citizenship ceremony on or before Saturday 14 October 2023, then you can complete the provisional enrolment form to enrol as a new citizen ahead of the referendum. Your completed form must be received by 8pm local time on the close of roll for the 2023 referendum.

It’s really important to me that we make progress on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to determine their own future, and live according to their own values and customs. We are working towards a Waverley where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are honoured for their survival and resilience and supported to continue to overcome adversity.

I look forward to supporting a respectful and positive campaign to make progress on this hugely important and historic step.

Paula Masselos

Mayor of Waverley