Council backs Indigenous Voice to Parliament

Published on 28 July 2023

This is photograph of the Australian and Aboriginal flags outside the Civic Centre in Greensborough.

Nillumbik Shire Council has shown its support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

At the 25 July Council Meeting, Council adopted a motion to support, in principle, both the Statement and the Voice.

The Federal Government will hold a referendum later this year to determine whether or not an Indigenous Voice to Parliament will be enshrined in the Australian Constitution.

Council acknowledged that it is a complex socio-political issue, with differences of opinion existing even among First Nations communities and individuals.

Council also recognised that the adopted organisational stance is a collective opinion of Councillors, and did not necessarily reflect the opinions of individual Councillors, Council officers, volunteers or affiliates.

Mayor Ben Ramcharan said supporting the Indigenous Voice to Parliament was a significant step for Council.

“This is important for us to do as an organisation in line with our commitment to Reconciliation with First Nations people,” Cr Ramcharan said.

“It’s important to recognise that not all First Nations people are in agreement on this. We must listen to all First Nations people as we consider how to vote. This referendum is about giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People a voice and if we don’t listen to them in the process, it defeats the point.

“Our role is also to ensure that objective information about the Voice and upcoming referendum is made available to community members so that they can make their own independent and informed decision.

“I encourage everyone to inform themselves and listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People when making their decision on this significant referendum.”

In partnership with Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries, Council will host three community ‘drop in’ information sessions. Nillumbik residents are invited to come along to collect educational resources and speak to a Council officer about any questions they may have about the referendum. The sessions will be held on:

  • Tuesday 8 August, 2pm-4pm, Eltham Library, Panther Place
  • Tuesday 22 August, 6pm-8pm, Eltham Library, Panther Place
  • Thursday 31 August, 9.30am-11.30am, Hurstbridge Community Hub, 50 Graysharps Road, Hurstbridge.

Information has also been made available on Council’s website including details of the drop-in sessions.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a national indigenous consensus position on First Nations constitutional recognition.

An Indigenous Voice to Parliament would be an Indigenous advisory body which would have input into laws and policies which impact upon First Nations people and indigenous affairs.

Enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian constitution would guarantee the input of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into indigenous affairs.

More information about the Voice and Referendum is available at the Australian Government website: Community toolkit | The Voice