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Indigenous, Medical Health Aged Care

Australian Public Health community backs “Yes” campaign

Public Health Association of Australia 2 mins read

Experts gathering at Australia’s peak public health conference in Hobart today are lending their support to the “Yes” campaign, saying that giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a Voice to Parliament is a unique opportunity to improve health outcomes. 

Over 450 public health practitioners, policymakers, researchers, academics and students are attending the conference, which includes a number of presentations related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Pat Anderson AO, an Alyawarre woman who is Co-Chair of the Uluru Dialogue, will give the opening keynote address, while Professor Ian Anderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Tasmania, will give the Welcome to Country. 

Aunty Pat will tell attendees that the Voice will have significant benefit on the health outcomes of First Peoples and will use her address to call on people to vote “Yes” at the referendum.

“At the end of the day it is First Peoples who know what will really make a difference for their communities. That’s why we are asking for a Voice,” Ms Anderson said. 

“The Voice is our opportunity to improve the health outcomes so many of our people struggle to with day in, day out by making sure First Peoples are heard and funding goes to the right places.”

“As someone who has fought for better health outcomes for First Peoples for decades, I am urging not only Tasmanians but all Australians to listen to the call from First Nations Peoples and vote Yes on October 14.”

Professor Ian Anderson, a Palawa man, says he has worked for much of his career in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and education.

“It has been my experience that engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices is a key to improving health care services and policies.

“An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament does not guarantee outcomes, but it does offer a better way for governments to work more effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at a regional and national level.”

The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), organisers of the conference and the peak member body for those working in preventive health in Australia, has officially declared its support for the “Yes” campaign, and the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

PHAA President and conference co-chair, Adj Prof Tarun Weeramanthri AM, says there is ample evidence to show that when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a leading voice in health programs and services that affect them, their health and wellbeing improves.  

“Those working in public health understand the value of the Voice and support it,” he says.

“That’s because we see first-hand the opportunities to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing and understand the importance of listening to First People’s voices on issues that affect them. 

“Health initiatives that are led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities get the best results.” 


Note to editors

For further information/comment:


Hollie Harwood (she/her) PHAA Strategic Communications Advisor, 0400 762 010


Paris Lord (he/him), PHAA Communications & Media Manager, 0478 587 917,  


The Australian Public Health Conference is being held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart 26 – 28 September 2023. Pat Anderson AO, Professor Ian Anderson and Adj Prof Tarun Weeramanthri AM will speak during the opening plenary session from 9 – 10.30am on 26th September. 

Journalists are welcome to request a media pass for the event. 

The program is available here:

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