Today marks the start of Reconciliation Week, when we commemorate significant milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey and consider the next steps we can take together.
On this day in 1967, Australians voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to ensure that First Nations people would be counted as part of the population in the census and to give the Australian Government the power to make laws for First Nations people.
The 1967 referendum was a proud and unifying moment for our nation. It reflected the best of our country, our sense of fairness and equality and what we can achieve when we stand alongside each other.
We are now being asked to take the next step. Five years ago, the Uluru Statement from the Heart invited all Australians to walk together towards a better future.
The aspirations of the Uluru Statement are generous and reasonable. It’s a matter of common decency that First Nations people have a say on the laws and policies that impact their lives.
Our next referendum will ask the Australian people to support a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament for First Nations people.
Just as in 1967, a successful outcome will require collaboration, hard work and courage.
The theme this Reconciliation Week is “Be Brave. Make Change.”
With a referendum on a Voice to Parliament, we have a historic opportunity to move from the safety of words to the bravery of actions.
We believe the Australian people are ready.