The St Vincent de Paul Society encourages Australians to take time during NAIDOC Week (2-9 July) to learn about the Voice to Parliament in order to make an informed decision at this year’s referendum.
‘NAIDOC Week is a time to learn about and celebrate the continued history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia,’ National President Mark Gaetani said.
‘This year’s NAIDOC Week theme For Our Elders provides an opportunity to reflect on the contribution of First Nations Elders—and their generations of advocacy and activism—that has culminated in this year’s historic referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament,’ said Mr Gaetani.
The Society urges all Australians to vote ‘yes’ on referendum day.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are overrepresented in almost all support services provided by the Society, reflecting the challenges they experience from historic and contemporary injustices.
‘Government interventions have repeatedly failed because they have been developed without respectful and informative listening to First Nations people’s advice on how issues should be tackled in community,’ Mr Gaetani said.
‘We believe a Voice to Parliament will give Indigenous communities a means to inform policy and legal decisions that impact their lives,’ Mr Gaetani said.
‘It will recognise and value the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s history,’ Mr Gaetani said.
The Society’s support for the Voice is informed by Catholic Social Teaching and our Catholic faith. This is captured by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council, the peak advisory body to the Australian Catholic Bishops, in its statement that ‘Catholics have a responsibility to listen to the voices of First Australians and to work towards a more just and equitable society’.
‘We encourage our members to come together as a community and to draw upon our faith and moral foundation to make an informed decision in support the Voice and a fairer Australia,’ Mr Gaetani said.
‘It is time to listen and to put Indigenous voices at the heart of the Australian Government’s policies and programs that impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
‘Enshrining the Voice in the Constitution is so important because it will mean that we, the Australian people, have accepted the generous invitation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk with First Nations people to work towards recognition, reconciliation and justice,’ Mr Gaetani said.
The St Vincent de Paul Society is proud to support the Allies for Uluru and has been a long-standing supporter of enshrining a Voice in the Constitution.
This media release is authorised by St Vincent de Paul Society National President, Mr Mark Gaetani, 25 Geils Court Deakin, Canberra ACT 2600.
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