The Voice Referendum – EcoNetwork update
Join the YES23 Port Stephens Campaign
In the last EcoUpdate, EcoNetwork declared its support of the YES vote in this year’s Indigenous Voice to Parliament Referendum, likely to take place sometime between September and November.
This first week of July is NAIDOC Week. The name stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee and it dates back to the 1920s and the fight for better living conditions and rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
EcoNetwork members joined the NAIDOC march down Stockton St yesterday. Along with many Worimi, attending the event was Professor Kelvin Kong, a local Worimi man who became Australia’s first Indigenous surgeon and amongst his many achievements, he has just won NAIDOC person of the year.
Come to another special NAIDOC event at the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens this Sunday 9 July from 10am – 2.30pm.
Now is a great opportunity to start up conversations in your community about the Referendum on constitutional recognition and the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Whether the polls are right or not and the NO vote is ahead, what is important is that the focus is shifting from the opinions of federal politicians to those of us in local communities. The YES campaign isn’t focused on polling, but on the people in the community who haven’t turned their minds to the up-coming referendum.
Saying YES in this Referendum may only be a small step towards reconciliation but it is a big step compared to any other mechanisms to date. It is at least a move in the right direction. Significantly, Liberal MP Julian Leeser, quit his position as Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians to campaign in support of the Referendum. He said that supporting the Yes campaign was a practical way that could help close the gap in life outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
“We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”Uluru statement of the heart 2017
Noel Pearson, Indigenous lawyer and land rights activist, said that Australia’s story will come together through:
‘The ancient indigenous heritage which is its foundation, the British institutions built upon it, and the adorning gift of multicultural migration’. three strands, one people’.‘Declaration of Australia and the Australian People’, Cape York Institute, 2 June 2018.
Port Stephens Council commits to distributing accurate information about the upcoming federal referendum on ‘Voice to Parliament’.
Port Stephens Council will do what it can to distribute accurate information about the upcoming Voice to Parliament Referendum.
Mayor Ryan Palmer spoke to a motion before Council at its most recent session, saying, “I don’t know whether the Voice to Parliament is the answer … but I’m willing to give something a go because I know there is a massive issue out there.”
While making clear his own position on the issue, Mayor Palmer was clear that Council was not about to instruct or influence votes, but simply stated there was an imperative to ensure accurate information was available about the proposed changes to the constitution.
“What we are proposing here tonight is that we get more information out there so that people can make an informed decision,” he said.
While not presuming to have answers to many of the difficult questions voters may have, Port Stephens Council voted to make information regarding the Referendum readily available through its website and social media accounts, and also to support the Worimi Land Council by allowing ready use of Council facilities for information sessions any time from now until the Referendum.
More information and resources now available
- Join the YES23 Port Stephens Campaign
- Let’s bring the country together – Pledge to vote YES
- Yes23 – Frequently asked questions
- Let’s initiate a respectful conversation showing compassion, care and knowledge. Keep the message simple – the change we will say YES to is safe, yet crucial, to improving the lives of indigenous peoples, a basic human right. Here is your guide to talking about the Voice to Parliament with others.
- Together, Yes invites people from all walks of life to gather in small groups and engage in an honest discussion on how a Voice to Parliament can make a difference. Join our nationwide movement.
- What is NAIDOC Week – The Conversation 5 July 2023
- More information about the YES campaign
- In July’s EcoUpdate, there is a review of The Voice To Parliament Handbook which may help guide you and others on the process and help with making the right decision.
- EcoNetwork says YES to The Voice Referendum 2023 – EcoUpdate May 2023
In the Media
- Indigenous Voice to Parliament Yes camp intensify campaign as referendum draws closer – ABC News
- Yes advocates rally support for Voice to Parliament at events around the country – ABC News
- Kerry O’Brien and Thomas Mayo join forces on ‘truth-telling and myth-busting’ voice guide | Indigenous voice to parliament | The Guardian
- The Senate passes legislation to hold a referendum with 52 votes in support and 19 votes against.
- Indigenous voice referendum bill introduced to standing ovation but Peter Dutton fails to show. -The Guardian 30 March 2023
- Constitution alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 – Speech by the The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP, 30 March 2023.
- “The parliament and the executive government will retain final decision-making power over all laws and policies . . . The parliament of the day would have power to make laws on how voice members are selected, its powers and procedures such as how the parliament and government receive its advice.”
- It’s official — the Voice referendum is happening. Here’s what comes next. A written pamphlet will be issued by the electoral commission with a summary of the yes and no cases. In the meantime, Watch out for unsubstantiated claims in relation to the electoral process circulating online – ABC 20 June 2023.