Informed, engaged communities for health

Search
Generic filters
Filter by Categories
Aged care
Budgets
Federal Budget 2023-2024
Federal Budget October 2022
Federal Budget 2022-23
Federal Budget 2021-22
Budget2020Health
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2019-20
Climate and health
Climate emergency
Heatwaves
#CoveringClimateNow
#HealthyCOP27
#HealthyCOP26
COVID collection
Long COVID
COVID-19
COVIDwrap
COVID SNAPS
#JusticeCOVID
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey Conference News Service
#16nrhc
#GreenHealthForum22
#Heal2022
#ICEM22
#NAISA22
#NNF2022
#RANZCP2022
#RethinkAddiction
#RTP22
Choosing Wisely National Meeting 2022
Equally Well 2022 Symposium
GiantSteps22
Croakey Professional Services
NHLF series
#KidneyCareTogether
ACSQHC series
ACSQHC series 2022
ACSQHC series 2021
ACSQHC series 2020
ACSQHC series 2019
CATSINaM 25 Years
Croakey projects
The Health Wrap
ICYMI
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2023
#CroakeyVOICES
#SpeakingOurMinds
Croakey longreads
#CroakeyREAD
CroakeyEXPLORE
#PHAAThinkTank 2022
Summer reading 2022-2023
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
Determinants of health
Environmental determinants of health
Social determinants of health
Discrimination
Racism
Justice and policing
Poverty
Newstart/JobSeeker
Education
Housing
Internet access
Justice Reinvestment
Social policy
Commercial determinants of health
Alcohol
Digital platforms
Food and beverages
Sugar tax
Tobacco
Vaping
Plain packaging
Gambling
Pharmaceutical industry
Arms industry
Disasters and extreme weather events
Disasters
Extreme weather events
Bushfires
Bushfire-emergency 2019-2020
Floods 2023
Floods 2022
Floods 2021
Floods 2011
Donor-funded journalism
Donor-funded journalism – 2023
Donor-funded journalism – 2022
Donor-funded journalism – 2021
Donor-funded journalism – 2020
Elections
#NSWvotesHealth2023
Victorian election 2022
Federal Election 2022
The Election Wrap 2022
#QldVotesHealth
SA election 2022
WA election 2021
Tasmanian election 2021
First Nations
Indigenous health
Uluru Statement
The Voice
Community controlled sector
Cultural determinants of health
Cultural safety
Social and emotional wellbeing
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
WA community closures
Acknowledgement
#CTG10
#NTRC
#RCIADIC30Years
General health matters
Consumer health matters
Cancer
Cardiovascular disease
Chronic conditions
Non communicable diseases
Diabetes
Oral health
Disabilities
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
Genetics
Medical marijuana
Mental health
Suicide
Trauma
LGBTQIA+
HIV/AIDS
Women's health
HRT
Abortion
Men's health
Youth health
Child health
Pregnancy and childbirth
Organ transplants
Pain
Sexual health
Infectious diseases
Influenza
Mpox
Swine flu
Death and dying
Euthanasia
Global health matters
Global health
WHO
Conflict and war
Asylum seeker and refugee health
#WorldInTurmoil
Ebola
NHS
Health policy and systems
Health reform
Workforce matters
Health financing and costs
Health regulation
Strengthening Medicare Taskforce 2022
Co-design
TGA
Royal Commissions
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
Private health insurance
Healthcare
Primary healthcare
Social prescribing
Rural and remote health
General practice
International medical graduates
Primary Health Networks
NDIS
Nursing and midwifery
Australian Medical Association
Allied healthcare
Pharmacy
Paramedics
Pathology
Naturopathy
Hospitals
Emergency departments and care
Palliative care
Safety and quality of healthcare
Adverse events
Choosing Wisely
Co-payments
Out of pocket costs
Complementary medicines
Conflicts of interest
Health ethics
Digital technology
Telehealth
E-health
Equally Well
Health Care Homes
Medicare Locals
MyHospitals website
Screening
Surgery
Tests
Media and health
Media-related issues
Public interest journalism
Misinformation and disinformation
Social media and healthcare
Health & medical marketing
The Conversation
Media Doctor Australia
News about Croakey
Public health and population health
Australian Centre for Disease Control
Public health
Prevention
Health inequalities
Health literacy
Health communications
Health in All Policies
Health impact assessment
Human rights
Vaccination
Air pollution
Physical activity
Sport
Obesity
Road safety
Transport
Gun control
Illicit drugs
Injuries
Legal issues
Marriage equality
Occupational health
Violence
Weight loss products
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
Government 2.0
Web 2.0
Nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
Research matters
Health and medical research
#MRFFtransparency
Evidence-based issues
Cochrane Collaboration
Health and medical education
NHMRC
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2021
2021 conferences
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#FoodGovernance2021
#GiantSteps21
#GreenHealthForum21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#NNF2021
#RANZCP2021
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
2020 conferences
#2020ResearchExcellence
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#SAHeapsUnfair
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
Croakey Professional Services archive
#CommunityControl
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
#COVIDthinktank21
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects archive
#CommunityMatters
#CroakeyFundingDrive 2022
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyLIVE Federal election 2022
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HousingJusticeAus
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
#LookingLocal
#OutOfPocket
#OutOfTheBox
#RuralHealthJustice
#TalkingTeeth
@WePublicHealth2022
@WePublicHealth2021
@WePublicHealth2020
AroundTheTraps
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer reading 2021-2022
Summer reading 2020-2021
Summer Reading 2019-2020
Summer Reading 2017-2018
Summer Reading 2016-2017
The Koori Woman
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2019
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2019
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Budget 2017/18
NZ Election 2017
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Election 2016
#HealthElection16
NT Election 2016
Federal Budget 2015-16
Qld Election 2015
NSW Election 2015
Federal Budget 2014-15
Victorian Election 2014
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Election 2013
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Election 2010
Federal Budget 2009-2010
Support non-profit public interest journalism
Search
Generic filters
Filter by Categories
Aged care
Budgets
Federal Budget 2023-2024
Federal Budget October 2022
Federal Budget 2022-23
Federal Budget 2021-22
Budget2020Health
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2019-20
Climate and health
Climate emergency
Heatwaves
#CoveringClimateNow
#HealthyCOP27
#HealthyCOP26
COVID collection
Long COVID
COVID-19
COVIDwrap
COVID SNAPS
#JusticeCOVID
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey Conference News Service
#16nrhc
#GreenHealthForum22
#Heal2022
#ICEM22
#NAISA22
#NNF2022
#RANZCP2022
#RethinkAddiction
#RTP22
Choosing Wisely National Meeting 2022
Equally Well 2022 Symposium
GiantSteps22
Croakey Professional Services
NHLF series
#KidneyCareTogether
ACSQHC series
ACSQHC series 2022
ACSQHC series 2021
ACSQHC series 2020
ACSQHC series 2019
CATSINaM 25 Years
Croakey projects
The Health Wrap
ICYMI
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2023
#CroakeyVOICES
#SpeakingOurMinds
Croakey longreads
#CroakeyREAD
CroakeyEXPLORE
#PHAAThinkTank 2022
Summer reading 2022-2023
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
Determinants of health
Environmental determinants of health
Social determinants of health
Discrimination
Racism
Justice and policing
Poverty
Newstart/JobSeeker
Education
Housing
Internet access
Justice Reinvestment
Social policy
Commercial determinants of health
Alcohol
Digital platforms
Food and beverages
Sugar tax
Tobacco
Vaping
Plain packaging
Gambling
Pharmaceutical industry
Arms industry
Disasters and extreme weather events
Disasters
Extreme weather events
Bushfires
Bushfire-emergency 2019-2020
Floods 2023
Floods 2022
Floods 2021
Floods 2011
Donor-funded journalism
Donor-funded journalism – 2023
Donor-funded journalism – 2022
Donor-funded journalism – 2021
Donor-funded journalism – 2020
Elections
#NSWvotesHealth2023
Victorian election 2022
Federal Election 2022
The Election Wrap 2022
#QldVotesHealth
SA election 2022
WA election 2021
Tasmanian election 2021
First Nations
Indigenous health
Uluru Statement
The Voice
Community controlled sector
Cultural determinants of health
Cultural safety
Social and emotional wellbeing
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
WA community closures
Acknowledgement
#CTG10
#NTRC
#RCIADIC30Years
General health matters
Consumer health matters
Cancer
Cardiovascular disease
Chronic conditions
Non communicable diseases
Diabetes
Oral health
Disabilities
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
Genetics
Medical marijuana
Mental health
Suicide
Trauma
LGBTQIA+
HIV/AIDS
Women's health
HRT
Abortion
Men's health
Youth health
Child health
Pregnancy and childbirth
Organ transplants
Pain
Sexual health
Infectious diseases
Influenza
Mpox
Swine flu
Death and dying
Euthanasia
Global health matters
Global health
WHO
Conflict and war
Asylum seeker and refugee health
#WorldInTurmoil
Ebola
NHS
Health policy and systems
Health reform
Workforce matters
Health financing and costs
Health regulation
Strengthening Medicare Taskforce 2022
Co-design
TGA
Royal Commissions
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
Private health insurance
Healthcare
Primary healthcare
Social prescribing
Rural and remote health
General practice
International medical graduates
Primary Health Networks
NDIS
Nursing and midwifery
Australian Medical Association
Allied healthcare
Pharmacy
Paramedics
Pathology
Naturopathy
Hospitals
Emergency departments and care
Palliative care
Safety and quality of healthcare
Adverse events
Choosing Wisely
Co-payments
Out of pocket costs
Complementary medicines
Conflicts of interest
Health ethics
Digital technology
Telehealth
E-health
Equally Well
Health Care Homes
Medicare Locals
MyHospitals website
Screening
Surgery
Tests
Media and health
Media-related issues
Public interest journalism
Misinformation and disinformation
Social media and healthcare
Health & medical marketing
The Conversation
Media Doctor Australia
News about Croakey
Public health and population health
Australian Centre for Disease Control
Public health
Prevention
Health inequalities
Health literacy
Health communications
Health in All Policies
Health impact assessment
Human rights
Vaccination
Air pollution
Physical activity
Sport
Obesity
Road safety
Transport
Gun control
Illicit drugs
Injuries
Legal issues
Marriage equality
Occupational health
Violence
Weight loss products
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
Government 2.0
Web 2.0
Nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
Research matters
Health and medical research
#MRFFtransparency
Evidence-based issues
Cochrane Collaboration
Health and medical education
NHMRC
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2021
2021 conferences
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#FoodGovernance2021
#GiantSteps21
#GreenHealthForum21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#NNF2021
#RANZCP2021
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
2020 conferences
#2020ResearchExcellence
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#SAHeapsUnfair
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
Croakey Professional Services archive
#CommunityControl
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
#COVIDthinktank21
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects archive
#CommunityMatters
#CroakeyFundingDrive 2022
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyLIVE Federal election 2022
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HousingJusticeAus
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
#LookingLocal
#OutOfPocket
#OutOfTheBox
#RuralHealthJustice
#TalkingTeeth
@WePublicHealth2022
@WePublicHealth2021
@WePublicHealth2020
AroundTheTraps
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer reading 2021-2022
Summer reading 2020-2021
Summer Reading 2019-2020
Summer Reading 2017-2018
Summer Reading 2016-2017
The Koori Woman
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2019
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2019
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Budget 2017/18
NZ Election 2017
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Election 2016
#HealthElection16
NT Election 2016
Federal Budget 2015-16
Qld Election 2015
NSW Election 2015
Federal Budget 2014-15
Victorian Election 2014
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Election 2013
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Election 2010
Federal Budget 2009-2010

The Voice to Parliament is a beginning, not an end

In considering the forthcoming referendum on a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament, it is important to understand the rationale, history, and what opportunities it will create for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, writes Dr Summer May Finlay, a Yorta Yorta woman and Senior Lecturer (Indigenous Health) at the University of Wollongong.

This article was originally published on the University of Wollongong’s online magazine ‘The Stand’.


Summer May Finlay writes:

The Uluru Statement from the Heart, particularly the Voice to Parliament element, has recently received much attention in the media and on social media.

This is no surprise, given the Labor Government has announced that a referendum on the Voice will be held this year. Also fuelling the debate was Victorian Senator Lidia Thorpe’s resignation from The Greens to sit as an independent. Her resignation was prompted, at least in part, by an inability to speak against the Voice as a member of the Greens and First Nations Spokeswoman.

With so much media attention and conversation on social media about the Uluru Statement and the Voice, many people are seeking to understand what it means now and in the future.

To understand the Uluru Statement, including the Voice, you need to be clear on what the Statement says and be aware of the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in this country.

What is the Uluru Statement, and how was it developed?

The Statement was created in 2017 by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who attended through 13 Dialogues. The Dialogues culminated in a National Constitutional Convention at Uluru and involved other dialogues’ representatives. A consensus approach was used to develop what is now known as the Uluru Statement.

The Statement has three main parts, Voice and Treaty and Truth. Voice is about enshrining a First Nations Voice in the Australian Constitution. Treaty and Truth, under the banner of Makarrata, are about a coming together after a struggle. The Treaty aspect of Makarrata seeks to progress agreement-making between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Truth telling element Makarrata is an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s histories to be told.

The Voice is the most polarising element of the Uluru Statement. News and social media are awash with divergent opinions on the usefulness of the Voice to progressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s prosperity.

There are many myths about the Voice. The most prominent one is that if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are recognised in the Constitution, our sovereignty will be ceded. While including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution has been disproven to mean we have ceded sovereignty, some people still believe it. It is myths such as these which are making the discussions on the Voice even more complicated.

Another complicating issue is some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s scepticism of the utility of the Voice, which is why they call for a Treaty. The core aspect of Treating is our self-determination on matters which impact us.

While I support the Voice and believe it should be the first element of the Statement enacted, I understand some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s scepticism. Since invasion, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced numerous broken promises and tokenism engagement on issues impacting us.

The University of Wollongong formally pledged its support for the Uluru Statement in 2022

The 1836 Letters Patent establishing the Province of South Australia is an example of a promise unfulfilled. The Letters Patent included recognising Aboriginal people’s rights in South Australia, including their rights to Country. These rights were ignored as land was granted to colonists, dispossessing the traditional custodians.

In more recent times, the disbandment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), a national legislated body, is another example of governments contradicting the wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Formed in 1990, ATSIC was tasked with delivering programs and representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s interests. ATSIC, while overseen by the Commonwealth Government, was run and managed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. That is until 2004, when the Liberal Government, led by John Howard, abolished it against the wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

After abolishing ATSIC in 2010, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people established the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress). Congress, funded by the Labor government for five years, was set up as a member-based organisation allowing it to be the Voice for Aboriginal and  Torres Strait Islander people. Congress was established as an independent company to reduce the government’s ability to decide its fate. In 2013, the incoming Liberal government withdrew its support and funding. The organisation continued for several years after the funding cut; however, without government support, it was forced to close in 2019.

These are just three of the many broken promises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced post-1788. The impact of the broken promises is disillusionment with anything governments touch that relates to our People, which is why some mob call for Treaty first. While I appreciate this sentiment, Treaties with each Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 250 nations will take longer than the Voice. We should progress Treaty. However, we should also have a Voice to Parliament to ensure our views on legislation impacting us now are heard.

So why do I support the Uluru Statement’s Voice to Parliament? The Voice is our best option for negotiating a Treaty and Truth-telling process. It will be parliament which will progress a Treaty and Truth-telling processes. The Voice is one of the mechanisms that can be used to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a say in managing the Treaty and Truth-telling processes.

If the Referendum is successful, the details of what the Voice looks like will be fleshed out in legislation and is likely to change over time. Referendums are always simple questions. Firstly, the Constitution includes high-level guidance with the details legislated. The people who created the Constitution had the foresight to recognise that as society changes, so will the nuances of how the government would need to enact each part and clause. Secondly, there needs to be extensive engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on exactly what the Voice should look like. This will take time and money. It is reasonable to expect that this process occurs after the Referendum.

What is the benefit of the Voice?

There are many decisions, including legislation and policy, made by parliament. Currently, there is no systematic way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can provide their views on decisions impacting us.

The Voice will be one way of ensuring our voices are heard. Consider how the 2007 Northern Territory National Emergency Response, otherwise known as the Northern Territory Intervention, would have looked if we had been able to provide advice on its development and implementation. Or would this damaging legislation never have gone ahead? The 2008 Closing the Gap targets, first developed in 2008 without the input of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, wouldn’t have needed to be revised 12 years later in 2020 through a co-design process with the Coalition of Peaks.

The Voice should, however, never undermine the capacity for each Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nation and community to have a say in what happens in their region. Local input is just as crucial as a coordinated national approach.

Ultimately, there is much to consider when considering how you will vote in the Referendum.

And for me, the most critical consideration is whether it will benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I believe it will. It’s the first of many steps required. It’s a beginning.

How every person votes on the day will be up to them. All I ask is for people to understand what they are voting for, how our history has played a role in the push for the Voice and what opportunities the Voice will create for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Author details

Dr Summer May Finlay is a Yorta Yorta woman and Senior Lecturer (Indigenous Health) at the University of Wollongong. She is Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW Ethics Committee and Co-Chair of the World Federation of Public Health Associations Indigenous Working Group which she helped establish in 2017. She is a contributing editor and member of Croakey Health Media. Follow her on Twitter: @SummerMayFinlay. 


More from Twitter

See more on the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2022 here.

Read the University of Melbourne statement (7 March), in which “the Council and the Executive of the University of Melbourne affirm their support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the ‘yes’ position in the referendum, and look forward to the parliamentary process that would follow such an outcome”.

The statement also says: “Freedom of enquiry and the free expression of ideas are fundamental to the mission of the University of Melbourne. All members of our community are entitled to engage in robust, evidence-based and respectful expression of their views and the University provides a safe place for expressing differing opinions. The University will continue to contribute to the referendum process by actively facilitating informed public debate. Not everyone will vote ‘yes’ and we fully respect that.”


Read Croakey’s archive of articles on the Uluru Statement from the Heart

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search by: Categories or tags

Search