On Saturday, 14 October, Australians will have their say in ‘the Voice’ referendum about whether to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
We, as an organisation, support ‘the Voice’ as it is in line with our organisational values, including supporting human rights, fairness and equity, inclusion and collaboration. We are committed to deep listening, supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart, walking together in truth and story-telling, and supporting self-determination to achieve a better future.
However, we also recognise that everyone is coming from different places and has different experiences. We respect everyone’s individual opinions, and we support the right of every person to make their own decision.
In the lead up to this important date, we are all seeing more and more coverage and commentary, from a range of sources. With so much information, it’s normal to be confused about what to think and feel about ‘the Voice’. It’s challenging to know what sources are giving you reliable information.
The best place to get impartial, trustworthy information on ‘the Voice’ is at the Australian Government’s official website. It has all the up-to-date information on both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ sides of the debate. You’ll also find some historical background information, and links to fact sheets and tools.
Tips for having respectful conversations about ‘the Voice’:
- Be mindful that many First Nations people have experienced trauma, so this issue brings up many difficult feelings and emotions. You might not know it or see it, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
- Be prepared to disagree. It’s okay to have your own opinions, as long as they are expressed respectfully.
- Avoid personal attacks. Focus on the issue, not the person.
- Be a good listener. When it comes to having respectful conversations, good listening, body language and other non-verbal cues are just as important as what you’re saying.
How we can help?
We know that some people in our community may need extra support at this time. We can help.
Our Dhunlung Yarra service is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, supporting community members to open up and ‘Tell, Talk’. Our experienced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff provide a cultural approach to service delivery. This includes outreach options to meet you at a location where you are most comfortable.