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ASHM statement supporting the Voice to Parliament

May 30, 2023

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Later this year a referendum on a Voice for First Nations People will be put to the Australian people. The referendum will ask Australians if they support a change to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament

ASHM supports the ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience a greater burden of disease than non-Indigenous individuals. These health inequities stem from social, cultural, environmental and historic determinants and lead to lower life expectancy among these communities.

In healthcare, as well as other areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have better outcomes when they are able to participate actively in decision making. The work of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation is testament to this. When these services had a seat at the table during the COVID-19 pandemic, the rates of infection were 5.9 times lower among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous people.

In 2017 the Uluru statement from the heart was created as an invitation by First Nations people of Australia to be heard. The Uluru Statement called for an advisory body, called “the Voice”, to advise parliament and the federal government on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy and programming matters, including health inequities, education disparities, economic disadvantage, and other social matters. It calls for a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

ASHM believes and firmly supports the view that the Voice to Parliament will give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities a means to help inform policy and legislation that impact their lives.

ASHM recognises that it is essential for First Nations people to have a say in matters that involve First Nations people. 

We encourage all Australians to vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum, for a stronger future for our First Nations people, a stronger government, and a stronger nation.

Uluru Statement from the Heart have put together an educational FAQ here about the referendum

Statement authorised by Alexis Apostolellis, ASHM CEO.

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