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22 August 2023

The Uluru Youth Dialogue – the only youth and First Nations-led Voice referendum campaign – will welcome 100 delegates from across Australia to its Hands on Heart Youth Voice National Conference, which starts tomorrow (Thursday 24 August).

Hands on Heart Youth Voice National Conference

The three-day conference in Sydney is a partnership between the Uluru Youth Dialogue and UNICEF Australia, the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition.

Education, activation, connection

A leadership and learning experience that will unite young people aged 18-30 years from diverse backgrounds who represent every Australian state and territory, the gathering will support the First Nations Voice with three key objectives: education, activation, connection.

Key leaders and architects

Participants will hear from key leaders of the movement, including Uluru Dialogue Co-Chairs and architects of the Uluru Statement Professor Megan Davis and Aunty Pat Anderson AO.  

Mobilising young Australians

Wiradjuri woman and Uluru Youth Dialogue Co-Chair Bridget Cama said the conference will be an opportunity to mobilise young Australians in support of the First Nations Voice as referendum day nears.

“The Uluru Statement from the Heart was issued in 2017 after 12 regional dialogues with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around the country. It is an invitation to all Australians to walk with us towards a better, more hopeful future,” Ms Cama said.

“The young people joining us this weekend are from different cultures, faiths, genders, and locations around Australia. They have heard the call and we’re excited by what we can achieve together now to make a better Australia for future generations.”

Potential to change the future

“We want to show young people how this movement has the potential to change the future of our country for the better and give them the skills they need to drive support as we approach the referendum.”

“We’ve got a really energised group of young Australians ready to walk with us for a better future. They’re at the heart of a successful referendum and we’re excited to give them the information and the skills to educate and advocate for the Voice amongst their families, friends, colleagues, and communities.”

Young people are crucial to the referendum's success

Cobble Cobble woman and Uluru Youth Dialogue Co-Chair Allira Davis said young people will be crucial to the success of the referendum for a First Nations Voice as well as being the first generation to inherit the outcome of this referendum.

“We want to harness the enthusiasm of young Australians and show them how a successful referendum will shape the future of our country.”

A chance to stand side by side

“This conference gives young people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies, a chance to stand side by side and lend their voice to the cause. It continues our story since the Uluru Youth Dialogue Declaration was released in July.”

Active support can make the difference

“We want young people to be confident in advocating for the Voice and know their active support could well make the difference in ensuring a successful referendum result.

Young people should make an informed decision

Head of Policy and Advocacy at UNICEF Australia, Katie Maskiell said young people are encouraged to seek information on the Indigenous Voice referendum and make an informed decision.

“In working with our partners around the country, we hear from young people who tell us the importance and pride it brings to their communities to contribute their experience to decision making.

"This event is going to be an opportunity for people from around Australia to learn more about the Voice to Parliament and provide them with ways to share the information in their communities to other young people wanting to learn more."

Katie Maskiell
Head of Policy and Advocacy at UNICEF Australia

The Hands on Heart Youth Voice National Conference will take place from Thursday 24 to Sunday 27 August at the International Towers in Barangaroo Sydney, Gadigal Land.