The Fred Hollows Foundation Board is reaffirming its support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people following the referendum to enshrine a Voice to Parliament.
The Board issued the below statement at its meeting on 5 December 2023.
- Expresses its profound sadness that the generous invitation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to ‘walk with us’, was not agreed to.
- Recognises the deep hurt that this rejection has and will cause.
- Expresses our support and solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, communities and campaign leadership.
- Believes it is profoundly significant that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities whose lives would have been directly affected by the referendum overwhelmingly voted ‘Yes’.
- Recognises that over 6 million people walked together and voted Yes, demonstrating wide reaching support and commitment to justice and self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
- Expresses our sincere thanks to The Foundation’s team who led our efforts to support this change.
- Recognises that a new way forward will begin to emerge.
- Reaffirms The Foundation’s commitment to being an ally, through:
- Solidarity and action with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the ongoing campaign for justice and self-determination (including Voice, Treaty, and Truth-telling).
- Ensuring our own decision-making processes respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, leadership and right to self-determination.
- Notes that we will redouble our practical efforts to close the gap in eye health outcomes while also lending our support to the right to overall good health and self-determination.
Cover Photo Credit: Michael Amendolia
The Foundation’s role now, and as led by our founder Fred Hollows, is in deep listening, walking beside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and raising the level of eye health care to the same level as non-indigenous Australians.
Left to right: Board Directors Helen Evans (Deputy Chair), Dr Anthony Hall, Ruwan De Mel, Associate Professor Michael Johnson AM (Deputy Chair), Founding Director Gabi Hollows AO, Christine Hawkins AM, Jane Madden (Chair), Tina Wyer.