Australian Red Cross has again expressed support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, adding its voice to a joint communique of 25 Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and organisations advocating for a referendum to enshrine a First Nations Voice to Parliament in the constitution.
The communique was issued following an Activate Uluru workshop in Sydney attended by a coalition of allies in solidarity with First Nations peoples.
Red Cross Deputy Chief Executive Cindy Batchelor and Head of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs Jenny Brown, who both attended the workshop, said it came on top of Red Cross’ submission last year to the Australian Government’s Indigenous Voice Co-design Process.
“We support a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Australian Constitution, a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement making, and a national process of truth telling,” Ms Brown said.
“Our submission said that for genuine systemic change to occur, the National Voice must be permanent and irrevocable. And it must be listened to and heard. For this reason, we note the calls for the National Voice to be enshrined in the Constitution as nothing less is adequate to the task of redressing the harms caused by policies and practices of the past.
“This would guarantee the perpetual continuity of the Voice and protect it from fluctuations in partisan policy while guaranteeing a firm foundation from which First Nations peoples will advise the Commonwealth Parliament and shape decisions that impact them.”
Ms Batchelor said Australian Red Cross supports the redress of systemic discrimination and disadvantage that has affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for generations.
“To achieve this, our 107-year experience tells us that it is critical to put affected communities at the centre of their recoveries. Whether in the delivery of humanitarian aid overseas, responding to crises, emergencies or natural disasters, Australian Red Cross’s experience has shown that optimal, sustainable results are achieved when those made vulnerable by circumstances are empowered to lead their own recovery. This is why strength-based, localised, place-based approaches are at the heart of our work.”
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