The Voice Referendum
The referendum that will be held in the later half of 2023 seeks to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament, following the Labor Government in 2022 announcing their commitment to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full.
A Voice to Parliament will only be an advisory body to the parliament without any power to veto legislation, enshrining this body in the constitution removes the risk of successive governments abolishing a First Nations advisory body with relative ease through the passing of legislation, as had previously been done with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) in 2005.
Historically, First Nation’s people have been excluded from the decision-making processes related to the policies and legislation which impacts their communities. A Voice to Parliament will acknowledge First Nations people’s authority to advise on how best to address challenges within their communities and consult with the Government at the early stages of policy and legislation development.
The National Native Title Council (NNTC) supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the commitment by the Australian Labor Government to implement the Uluru Statement in full. The NNTC remain committed to processes which lead to genuine reform through consultation with First Nations people and communities on matters which affect them.