Why the Voice is a matter of social justice not politics
It’s official – on Saturday 14 October all Australians will vote to recognise First Nations people in our Constitution and enshrine the Voice to Parliament. It’s now time to find out more and understand why we have an important opportunity to shape a more just and compassionate Australia.
The Society’s support for the Voice to Parliament is a matter of social justice, not politics. First Nations people comprise about one-fifth of the people the Society works with and assists. Their disadvantage is a result of years of injustice suffered from the beginning of British colonisation. The Society’s support for a First Nation’s Voice enshrined in the Constitution derives and is informed by our Good Works of charity and justice. As The Rule states, the Society helps the poor and disadvantaged speak for themselves. When they cannot, the Society must speak on behalf of those who are ignored.
The joint National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Commission (NATSICC) and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 2023 social justice statement also highlights the many injustices suffered by First Nations people and practically what we can do. Listen Learn Love A new engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people tells the life story of Uncle Bevan Costello and the forcible removal of First Nations people from their tribal lands. Sadly, this story is not an uncommon experience. NATSICC and the Bishops encourage a new engagement with First Nations people, to listen and learn and to support change for healing and justice. This video clip provides a short overview of the statement.
Establishing a Voice to Parliament in the Constitution will give First Nations peoples a permanent and direct say to government on laws and policies affecting them. This will produce better outcomes in areas like health, education and employment – outcomes currently falling well short. 1 In the words of Senator Patrick Dodson “The track behind us is littered with the relics of policies, programs and projects that failed … mainly because they did not include Indigenous people in making decisions.”2 Importantly, most First Nations people support the Voice to Parliament but we acknowledge everyone is entitled to their vote. It’s not too late to get more informed. Our resources provide information on what the Voice is and why it is so important to First Nations people.