Statement on Voice

St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia

The St Vincent de Paul Society welcomes today’s Newspoll showing that the majority of Australians support an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and urges the 47th Parliament to support this critical reform.

The Society has a long history of supporting constitutional recognition of Australia’s First Nations Peoples.

The Society prepared public submissions back 2013 and 2015 in support of the 2012 Constitutional Recognition Bill and the 2014 Senate Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

In May 2021, the Society prepared a submission on the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Report, in support of constitutional recognition, followed by the passage of enabling legislation for the Voice through Parliament.

Since 2007, successive Prime Ministers promised to significantly advance reconciliation and recognition. Too much time has passed. Too little progress has been made.

The Society welcomes the Fifth Catholic Church Plenary Council of Australia’s First Decree, Reconciliation: Healing Wounds, Receiving Gifts, which endorses the Uluru Statement and commits to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in working towards recognition, reconciliation and justice.

The Society welcomes The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference endorsement of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Society welcomes the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council standing in solidarity with the Uluru Statement and echoing calls for substantial Constitutional reform based on a foundation of spirituality and subsidiarity.

The Society respects the generous and powerful 439 words contained in the Uluru Statement.

A First Nations Voice will not have a veto right and will not be a third chamber. It will allow Aboriginal voices to be heard on matters that affect them.

The Society listens to advocacy groups such as the From the Heart campaign who state that “Constitutional Recognition through a Voice to Parliament will empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, allowing them to take ownership and responsibility for the challenges that they face, and work constructively with governments from any political party to develop the laws and policies needed to Close the Gap”.

The Society is a proud signatory of the From the Heart campaign and a member of the Coalition of Allies for the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

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