The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), and Australia’s first Aboriginal ophthalmologist Associate, Professor Kris Rallah-Baker have joined forces to call for a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution.
The call supports From the Heart's Week of Action to promote the Uluru Statement from the Heart and advocate for a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Voice to Parliament.
“As a Nation, Australia is far behind other former British colonies in addressing issues that remain as a consequence of the dispossession and occupation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, which began on 26th January 1788 and has not yet ended,” Associate Professor Rallah-Baker says.
His sentiments are echoed by The Fred Hollows Foundation CEO, Ian Wishart: “Australia has seen a reckoning with racial injustice and it’s abundantly clear that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples still do not have ‘a fair go’. It's time First Nations Peoples had their say when the parliament makes laws that affect them.”
The Uluru Statement was delivered in 2017, following an unprecedented National Constitutional Convention held by, with, and for First Nations Peoples. It is an invitation to all Australians to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and support their calls for constitutional and structural reform.
Associate Professor Rallah-Baker goes on to say: “These issues affect us all today and are not a dark and distant memory – they affect the very fibre of who we are as a Nation. Without appropriate address we can never truly decolonise and heal the scars that haunt our collective psyche.
“The Uluru Statement from the Heart lays out a sensible and collaborative pathway required to move forwards and make Australia truly a place of the ‘fair go’.”
The leaders in collaborative eye care, RANZCO have also thrown their support behind this important call.
“RANZCO supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart as a key step towards reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,” says RANZCO President, Professor Nitin Verma.
In the true spirit of self-determination, reconciliation and to Close the Gap in health outcomes, The Fred Hollows Foundation supports the call for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
“Fred wasn’t just an ophthalmologist; he was a social justice activist who demanded that we do better,” Mr Wishart says.
“The Fred Hollows Foundation has always supported the calls of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”
The Week of Action is the first of many events over the next year designed to build and grow a movement of the Australian people in support of a referendum on a Voice to Parliament.
“We are asking the Australian Government to honour their commitment to a referendum. A constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament is a fair, practical and unifying reform,” Mr Wishart says.
Read and find out how to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart during the week of action.
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