House debates

Tuesday, 17 October 2023

Statements by Members

Australian Constitution: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice

1:36 pm

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

There was a clear 'yes' vote in Brisbane, and I want to pay tribute to all the elders, First Nations campaigners and allies who have worked so hard for a strong 'yes' vote in our community. The national referendum result was not the one we were hoping for, and I'd like to acknowledge that these results would have hurt and disappointed many. I encourage any First Nations people that need support to call 13YARN. This referendum campaign demonstrated the need for truth-telling. The harmful misinformation from, and politicisation by, conservative figures meant we could not have an honest conversation about First Nations justice. The Greens will continue to fight for truth and treaties, and I acknowledge that many state and territory jurisdictions are already making progress towards this. We can do it at the national level, too.

This nation needs to have an honest and informed conversation about our history so that we can heal and move forward together. The Greens are committed to ongoing transformative change, self-determination and sovereignty, through truth-telling and treaties. We must continue to be led by First Nations communities, to listen, to act and to back them in at every turn. We will continue to fight for First Nations people. The fight for equality and justice did not start with this referendum, and it is not going to end with this referendum.