Voice referendum reflection

Voice referendum reflection

For many, particularly First Nations people, the negative outcome of the referendum was very disappointing. In NSW, 59% of voters voted ‘no’ and 41% voted ‘yes’, reflecting a similar outcome nationally. And while this vote was about constitutional change to give First Nations people a greater say, it was not a vote about reconciliation or the need to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The referendum result brings us back to the drawing board of the journey towards reconciliation. With 26% of the people the Society assists identifying as First Nations people and one-fifth accessing our Housing and Homelessness services, it’s a large cohort and we have a strong imperative for action based on our mission for a just and compassionate society.

In the coming period there is a need for us all to reflect on and heal the division caused by the campaign. There is also need to listen to and work with First Nations people as they reconsider and recommit to what First Nations justice means to them. In the words of our National President, Mark Gaetani:

“The Society has long-standing connections with the First Peoples of Australia, and we are well acquainted with the disadvantage they continue to experience…There is little doubt that the [referendum] result has caused anguish and sorrow in indigenous communities. As a society, we can provide our indigenous companions with hope, material assistance, advice and concrete action to help Australia Close the Gap.”

  • For Society employee, member and volunteer First Nations counselling services support – see here.
  • For other First Nations counselling services – see 13 Yarn.

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