voice to parliament
What is the Voice to Parliament?
In late 2023, all eligible Australian citizens aged 18 years and over will vote on whether Australia should change its Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Why is it happening now?
In 2017, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across the country came together and considered all the options for recognition. They wrote the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which called for a Voice for First Nations peoples to be added to the Constitution.
In 2022, the Australian Government agreed to have a referendum to let Australians decide whether to establish the Voice in the Constitution. This is why Australians are now being asked to vote on it.
“The “Statement from the Heart“ emerged from The First Nations National Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017. It was the coming together of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to articulate the nature of reforms desired by First Nations, and advise parliament on a pathway toward a successful referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.
The Statement from the Heart called for two reforms:
- The establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution
- The establishment of a Makarrata Commission to;
- Supervise a process of agreement-making, or treaty, between governments and First Nations, and
- Provide a means for truth-telling about the history of Australia’s First Peoples.