In the lead up to The Voice Referendum arguments are intensifying on both sides but it’s important to remember that this is a respectful debate, not a fight.
Passionate advocates, ambivalent perspectives and political motives are all pushing agendas in the lead up to 14 October. Where we end up as a nation after the referendum is clearly up in the air.
The Voice to Parliament will create an advisory committee that aims to better represent the interests of around 983,700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which is equal to 3.8% of the total Australian population. Currently, 80% of First Nations people are in support of The Voice to Parliament being established.
Quite simply, The Voice proposes a direct line of communication into the parliament that is consistent and will outlive the elected governments and political discourse of the day.
To ‘Yes’ advocates, The Voice is a respectful recognition of the traditional and first owners of the land all Australians live on today. It is a step towards full reconciliation and will help to improve the lives of First Nations peoples, who still experience significant gaps in terms of health outcomes, life expectancy, and education and career pathways for youth people.
While ‘No’ advocates say that The Voice will be divisive and there’s not enough information about the implications of such a significant constitutional change.
In order to help provide further education and information to the debate the ARA invited three key speakers to discuss what The Voice means to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We invite you to listen to the voices of three First Nations Australians in conversation with ARA CEO Paul Zahra – Professor Peter Yu from the Australian National University, Bayley Mifsud a young First Nations woman and Joe Hedger from Deloitte.
We also encourage you to continue to do your own research, and to ensure you are well equipped with the knowledge you need to make an informed vote in the coming weeks.
As a RAP organisation, the ARA is committed to promoting reconciliation within our sphere of influence. You can find out more here by downloading ARA’s Position Statement and Reconciliation Action Plan.
This event is proudly co-hosted with Deloitte and is an initiative from the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Advisory Committee, guided by members of the ARA.