House debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Constituency Statements

Australian Constitution: Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Voice

4:04 pm

Photo of Stephen BatesStephen Bates (Brisbane, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

r BATES () (): The date for the referendum for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament has been announced for 14 October of this year. I'll be voting 'yes' and here's why. First Nations people are the experts on First Nations policy. When they give advice governments must, and should, listen and act. There is significant work yet to be done in our country to repair the historical and ongoing harms of colonisation which First Nations people experience to this day.

First Nations people continue to see disproportionally higher rates of incarceration, deaths in custody and the removal of children from their homes, while their communities face significantly poorer health and education outcomes. Multiple First Nations advisory bodies have been defunded or closed in the past. We need a consistent advisory body so that First Nations people can contribute to the matters that directly affect them. This is a chance to advance justice and equality, truth and treaty and voice, to step towards a future where First Nations people are respected, listened to and have the power to make decisions about their own lives.

Each of us can have an impact on the outcome of the Voice to Parliament referendum in our local community. I've already signed up to volunteer with the Yes23 campaign and will continue to be out in Brisbane speaking with residents and campaigning in the lead-up to the vote. I encourage everyone who wants to see positive change in our community to sign up and get involved as well.


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