At school or home, you may have heard people talking about the Voice to Parliament and the upcoming referendum and have wondered, what does it all mean?
For over 60,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have lived here in Australia, and we celebrate their culture and deep connection to the land in many different ways. But, when the Australian Government makes decisions about issues that affect Aboriginal people, on things like education, health and justice, their voices haven’t always been heard.
Uluru Statement of the Heart
To be a country that is fair for everyone, we need to change that. And the only way to ensure Aboriginal people have a permanent Voice is by adding to the Australian Constitution – the rule book on which our country is governed. To change the Constitution, we need to have a referendum where every person over 18 in Australia will vote on the change.
What is the Uluru Statement from the Heart?
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is an invitation to all Australian people for a better future.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all over the country came together to create the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which is a call for truth about our country’s history, treaty and meaningful and practical change by having a Voice to Parliament.
What is the Voice to Parliament referendum?
The referendum is a vote on whether the Voice to Parliament should happen or not.
The Government is asking Australian people, who are over 18 years old, to decide if we should recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution with a Voice.
The Voice to Parliament would be a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, chosen by Aboriginal peoples from around the country, to offer advice to the Government on laws and policies that directly affect them.
After the referendum, Aboriginal people and the Government will work together to decide on the structure of The Voice.
Why does the Voice to Parliament matter?
The Voice to Parliament matters because it gives Aboriginal people a say on the laws and policies that affect them.
Having the Voice to Parliament become part of the Constitution is a big step towards uniting Australia. It recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were the first people here, and it also gives them a say over the laws and policies that affect them, like education and health care. When Aboriginal people have a say about the issues that affect them, we see better outcomes.
What will change if the Voice to Parliament is successful?
Aboriginal people will be able to offer advice to politicians in Parliament on issues that directly affect them.
The Voice to Parliament will unite all Australians and recognise Aboriginal people which is a positive change for the country. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it ensures their voices will be heard on decisions which impact on them. They will be able to offer advice and practical solutions to politicians in Parliament on the unique challenges their people and communities face with jobs, health, education and justice.
How can I be an ally for the Voice to Parliament?
You can be an ally by learning about the Voice to Parliament and speaking to family and friends.
Talk to your family and friends and encourage them to learn about what The Voice to Parliament actually means. There are so many great resources to learn from, such as Yes23.com.au or ulurustatement.org etc.
Great resources to help you advocate for the Voice to Parliament.
Life Without Barriers translated social media toolkits for the Voice to Parliament.Social media toolkit
Life Without Barriers series of translated videos to understanding the referendum in your language.Translated videos
The Rights of the Child and the Voice to Parliament.
Here are just some of the Rights of the Child that can impact you when it comes to the Voice to Parliament.
No. 7 You have the right to have a name, to belong to a country and know your family.
No. 8 You have the right to have your own identity.
No. 12 You have the right to share your ideas and be listened to on things that impact you.
No. 30 You have the right to share your culture, language and religion.
Your voice matters
27 April 2023
Voice to Parliament: three allies tell us why they’re voting yes
UNICEF Australia Young Ambassadors, Emily, Kbora and Harrison are passionate about advocating for children's rights and promoting social justice. Find out why our Young Ambassadors support the Voice to Parliament and why they believe it is important to recognise the rights of First Nations peoples in Australia.
5 April 2023
UNICEF Australia supports Indigenous Voice to Parliament
UNICEF Australia supports the constitutional recognition of a Voice to Parliament for First Nations peoples as aspired to in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.