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The Voice Referendum – EcoNetwork update

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.
EcoNetwork members joined the NAIDOC march down Stockton St in Nelson Bay.

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.

With permission of Cathy Wilcox

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.

Source: Port Stephens News of the Area 5 July 2023.

More information and resources now available

In the Media

Published: 6 Jul 2023