Uluru Statement From The Heart

YES to a First Nations Voice to Parliament


As part of the Allies for Uluru Coalition – consisting of more than 200 civil society organisations across the country – IWDA proudly supports a constitutionally-enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament. 

A Voice to Parliament will be a permanent body to make representations to the Australian Parliament on issues and policies that matter to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

We believe this move holds powerful potential to advance the self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by giving them a greater say on matters that affect their communities. 

“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.”  

Uluru Statement from the Heart, 2017 

At the core of IWDA’s support for the Voice is a belief in the fundamental principle that laws and policies are more effective when those who are affected by them have a say. We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are not treated fairly within our current system, with decisions often being made without considering their ideas and perspective. For us, the Voice is a way of addressing this and making our system fairer so that everyone has a chance to be properly heard.

IWDA deeply respects the diversity of views within the movement for First Nations justice and stands in solidarity with all First Nations activists and campaigners seeking a path towards justice, healing and self-determination. Within this journey, we see establishing a Voice as an important step towards building support for transformative change beyond it – including supporting solutions like treaties, truth-telling, land rights and representation.

The upcoming referendum offers us a unique opportunity to build public momentum and show governments that now is the time to listen to the solutions First Nations communities and experts have put forward for many decades – that now is the time for bold policy changes.

Here are some of the reasons why our staff will be voting yes on October 14th:

“I’m voting Yes because it’s an opportunity to finally provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a much-needed platform where their voices can be heard and listened to.  A yes vote to me is the first step towards a more equitable future for First Nations people and I want to be a part of this change for the better.”

“As someone who genuinely loves voting, I see participating in a referendum as an exciting opportunity to think about the kind of country we want to live in. Our constitution as it stands is relatively young, and ignores the cultures and laws of the people who have called this land home for over 60,00 years. We have an opportunity to correct this by listening to the First Nations people of Australia, giving them a voice in decisions that impact their lives and accepting the offer to walk with them into a better future.”

“As a migrant, I understand the privilege I have of living on the lands of the world’s oldest continuous culture – of living on Country that has been cared for by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for millennia. It’s time for this history to be acknowledged in our constitution. I’ll be voting yes because I believe in a future free from discrimination. One where First Nations people are respected, their knowledge and culture valued and their solutions listened to. For me, voting yes is an important step towards achieving First Nations justice now and into the future.”

“I’m voting ‘yes’ because I am sad to say that in my life time, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people weren’t even actually recognised as part of the Australian population in our Constitution. That only happened at the 1967 referendum, yet in that vote, nearly 91% of the population voted ‘yes’. How can we not take this very minor step to elevate the voices of those same people so we can hear what they have to say about issues which affect their lives, including health, education and housing?”

IWDA calls on our staff and supporters to inform themselves and their communities ahead of this historic referendum on a First Nations Voice to Parliament. Here are a few ways you can learn more about the Voice and engage others in this important conversation over the coming weeks:

  1. Read the full Uluru Statement from the Heart
  2. Take the Voice to Parliament online course to discover what is meant by Indigenous Constitutional Recognition through a Voice – and what a Voice to Parliament is, and is not
  3. Check out this guide to talking about the Voice to Parliament to learn how to engage others in this conversation
  4. Watch Mary Crook’s address dismantling the ‘No’ case and sign the Women for Yes letter
  5. Sign up to host a kitchen table conversation as part of Together, Yes
  6. Volunteer with Yes 23.