Lets discuss… The Voice to Parliament.

This Saturday the 14th of October Australia will be heading to the polls to vote in the referendum to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Voters will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a single question. The question on the ballot paper will be:

“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”

What is The Voice?

The Voice is designed to:

  1. Give independent advice to parliament and government.
    The Voice would make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
    • The Voice would be able to make representations proactively.
    • The Voice would be able to respond to requests for representations from the Parliament and the Executive Government.
    • The Voice would have its own resources to allow it to research, develop and make representations.
    • The Parliament and Executive Government should seek representations in writing from the Voice early in the development of proposed laws and policies.
  2. be accountable and transparent.
    • The Voice would be subject to standard governance and reporting requirements to ensure transparency and accountability.
    • Voice members would fall within the scope of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
    • Voice members would be able to be sanctioned or removed for serious misconduct
  3. Work alongside existing organisations and traditional structures.
    • The Voice would respect the work of existing organisations.

How would it be set up?:

  1. The Voice will be chosen by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples based on the wishes of local communities.
    • Members of the Voice would be selected by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, not appointed by the Executive Government.
    • Members would serve on the Voice for a fixed period of time, to ensure regular accountability to their communities.
    • To ensure cultural legitimacy, the way that members of the Voice are chosen would suit the wishes of local communities and would be determined through the post-referendum process.
  2. The Voice will be representative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, gender balanced and include youth.Members of the Voice would be Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, according to the standard three part test.
    • Members would be chosen from each of the states, territories and the Torres Strait Islands.
    • The Voice would have specific remote representatives as well as representation for the mainland Torres Strait Islander population.
    • The Voice will have balanced gender representation at the national level.
  3. The Voice will be empowering, inclusive, community led, respectful and culturally informed.Members of the Voice would be expected to connect with – and reflect the wishes of – their communities.
    • The Voice would consult with grassroots communities and regional entities to ensure its representations are informed by their experience, including the experience of those who have been historically excluded from participation.

What do Terra Rosa staff think?

We asked our staff how they would be voting and what The Voice means to them:

Jasmine: I support the voice because the majority of indigenous Australians support it, and it’s my job to support what they want, not decide for the.

Jessica: The Voice is a direct product of the The Uluru Statement from the Heart, which was signed by over 200 First Nations Elders asking for an opportunity to heal. By voting yes, I’m listening to the Statement, and to all the incredible people with whom I’ve worked.

Angus: I’m voting yes because as it stands we live in no, and no is not good enough.

Asharlon: I support the voice because of course there should be First Nation representation to simply speak to Parliament. Non-Indigenous people should not continue to decide what is good for Indigenous communities without their consultation and enshrining a voice to Parliament will ensure future government will not simply abolish an advisory body.

Nell: I support the Voice because I believe it will show the eyes of the world that Australia has matured as a country, truly wishes to reconcile with its First Nations People and wants to listen and promote self determination.

Zoe: I will be voting yes. I want Australia to have the opportunity for change. To work towards reconciliation and closing the gap. The Voice was requested by over 200 First Nations leaders at the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017. It’s time to start listening.

Ben: I’m voting yes because I owe it to every one of the Aboriginal people, their families and communities that have welcomed me to their country; treated me with dignity, respect and patience; and trusted me to learn about their lives and their culture.

Dajana: I’m voting yes because it’s a positive step in building a more equitable future where we hear and value First Nations voices.



Voice referendum 2023 poll tracker: latest results of opinion polling on support for yes and no campaign | Australia news | The Guardian

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