Vote for Reconciliation not for more of the same

The goal of a just, equitable and reconciled country remains in our sights. Vote Yes for a better Australia.

Statement from Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine.

As we face the final few days before the national referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and enshrine a voice to Parliament in the Constitution, I urge all Australians to ignore the hate and misinformation and vote for a change.

Listen to what the vast majority of First Nations people are saying, read the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the proposed amendment, and think carefully about whether you are happy with the status quo.

Australia is at a fork in the road.

A No vote will leave things as they have always been; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families will continue to have laws and policies made for us by politicians and bureaucrats without our voices being heard.

Consider whether you are comfortable with this status quo which has yet to close the gap in child protection, employment, health outcomes, education, and other measurements of success.

A Yes vote and a Voice to Parliament will give my people a real chance to explain what we need and to advocate, directly to the Parliament and Government, for the laws and policies which will achieve real equity in life experiences and opportunities.

Whether in remote bush communities, country towns or big cities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what we need, and more importantly, we know what the solutions to our challenges are.

Spend the next few days talking with family, friends, neighbours, and work colleagues about why a Yes vote is for national unity and for moving forward as Australians to create a legacy of which our children will be proud.

Please respect the differing opinions you will inevitably encounter during these last few days.

For more than 20 years, Reconciliation Australia has been building relationships between Australia’s original peoples and all the newcomers; whether descended from convicts, free migrants, or refugees.

We are proud of the progress we have made. Our vision of a reconciled and just Australia inspires Australians from all backgrounds and all walks of life. Regardless of the referendum result, our work will continue beyond the referendum, but your vote will help determine which direction the country moves in.

Your vote will signpost the way forward.

The goal of a just, equitable and reconciled country remains in our sights.

Vote Yes for a better Australia.

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Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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