August 11, 2017
As previously stated (media release, 21 July 2017), Reconciliation Australia welcomes the Referendum Council’s report, 30 June 2017, and acknowledges the months of listening, consultation and consideration that have resulted in its singular recommendation for referendum – a First Nations Voice to our country’s parliament.
It is understood by all involved in the reconciliation process, including the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, that the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are critical to genuine reform and reconciliation. The people participating in the consultation process have strongly favoured a “voice to parliament” as a form of recognition that they consider to be genuinely empowering.
This call cannot be ignored.
We know from the strong public support for the Recognise campaign that our nation is ready for change. Australians want a more just and unified nation. Our deep sense of what is fair demands that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a voice in the policies and laws that affect their lives.
There is more work to be done to support the council’s recommendations and build on the strong public engagement achieved through the Recognise campaign. As the national conversation unfolds – and as and we enter the next phase of the reconciliation journey – the Recognise campaign will transition into Reconciliation Australia so that this important work can continue as part of the broader reconciliation agenda.
Reconciliation Australia will work closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, the Uluru Working Group and parliamentarians to ensure that the aspirations detailed in the Statement From the Heart are realised.
There is a great opportunity before us, so let’s not lose momentum.
Let’s take this next step towards a truly reconciled nation.
Professor Tom Calma AO, Co-Chair Reconciliation Australia
Ms Melinda Cilento, Co-Chair Reconciliation Australia
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