The Voice is a once in a lifetime opportunity to unite all Australians. It is the first time in Australia’s history that we are on a collective path to recognising First Nations peoples’ deep connection to this continent, and our remarkable civilisation.
It is an opportunity to have a society of inclusion, unity and recognition.
The referendum is also an opportunity to overcome division, to step above and beyond political rhetoric, highly charged and accusatory debate, and the endless churn of ill-informed policy positions. This is our opportunity for positive change.
Over the course of the next four weeks, it is imperative that we care for one another, no matter our positions on the referendum. We must unite around our shared Australian values – of equality, respect, freedom, and fairness.
I am a firm believer that our nation is ready for transformational reform to ensure that the strength of First Nations knowledge and our holistic understandings of the world can rightfully be recognised and celebrated by all who call this continent home.
This will benefit all Australians. It will ensure that our Indigenous knowledges are integrated into the make-up of this nation, and considered by all future governments to come.
We must all engage with an open mind, and listen deeply to the informed voices of First Nations people as to the power of this reform, for a better future for us all.
June Oscar AO
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
The Australia Human Rights Commission has produced a referendum resource kit, which encourages the Australian public to consider the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament through a human rights lens.