The Fred Hollows Foundation, ANTaR National, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), the Diversity Council Australia (DCA) and Australia’s first Aboriginal ophthalmologist Associate Professor Kris Rallah-Baker are together calling for the government to commit to a referendum on a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament (the Voice) once the model for the Voice has been settled.
They are also urging other organisations to stand alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples by taking up this call, which was outlined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
"As almost four years have now passed since the historic Uluru Statement, it’s time to for the Government to commit to a referendum in the next term of Parliament."
- Lisa Annese, Diversity Council Australia CEO
The call comes after The Foundation, ANTaR, RANZCO and DCA made submissions to the Australian Government’s Indigenous Voice co-design process.
Their submissions contained insights from each organisation into how a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament should be progressed.
The Fred Hollows Foundation is calling for greater transparency in how decisions are made by the government on the design and implementation of the Voice to Parliament, and notes that a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament is the only form of constitutional change that has wide and broad support from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
"A Voice to Parliament designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is a vital step towards social justice reform. A constitutionally enshrined Voice would ensure First Nations Peoples will always be able to provide frank and fearless advice to the government."
- Ian Wishart, The Fred Hollows Foundation CEO
The call also recognises a Voice is critical for the implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, an invitation for Australians to walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in a movement for a better future.