Follow Your Heart
I’m not usually one to get political, however, the upcoming The Voice referendum here in Australia is about so much more than politics. The sh*tshow it’s becoming in the media and over social media is more than frustrating so I feel called to share my thoughts and help call out some of the blatant misinformation I've seen out there.
The Voice is a proposed national advisory body that would give Indigenous Australians a formal platform to provide advice and input to the Australian Parliament on matters that directly affect their communities and well-being. Similar advisory bodies have been tried before, but with no constitutional backing, they fall short or are shunned by changing governments.
On Saturday 14th October, Australian voters will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on one single question:
“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”
I recently had an engaging and educational discussion with a local indigenous community member and the conversation naturally turned to The Voice. I told him I’m embarrassed that my country is one of a few that doesn’t recognise its first people in its constitution. It blows my mind that we are even voting on whether fellow human beings should be recognised in it (because what makes me any better or different than them that I'm included but they are not?!) and it saddens me about the huge divide that this is all causing. He nodded in reply and simply said “When you vote, follow your heart".
With all the misinformation out there, I’ve been doing my research and I’m voting 'YES' because I believe The Voice, and the formal recognition of Indigenous Australians in our constitution, will:
Support the reconciliation process in Australia and build unity within our communities by closing gaps and eliminating the hardships First Nations people have historically faced under our laws.
Provide justice and equality by giving indigenous communities a stronger opportunity to voice concerns and provide recommendations on policies and legislation that directly affect their lives, such as those around health, education, and social services.
Help to preserve the beautiful indigenous culture, languages, and traditions that are integral to Australia’s national identity.
Despite the mixed messaging out there, The Voice:
Is not a third chamber of government.
It cannot make laws.
It cannot override government decisions.
It does not create special rights and cannot remove the rights of non-indigenous citizens (e.g. it’s not a ‘land grab’ and you won’t be kicked out of your home!)
I could keep writing for days, but I’m going to stop here and say that, after doing my research and listening to my heart, I’m voting YES.
I hope you do too.
For more information, visit:
The Voice - https://voice.gov.au
Uluru Statement from the Heart - https://ulurustatement.org
Reconciliation Australia - https://www.reconciliation.org.au