Australia’s major Church providers (Anglicare Australia, Catholic Social Services Australia, St Vincent de Paul Society, The Salvation Army, and UnitingCare Australia) are unanimous in our support for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
As some of Australia’s major providers of social services, we know that working with the community, benefiting from the insights and cultural understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, leads to better services and better outcomes. The Voice will bring these same benefits to the Commonwealth government.
The upcoming referendum is an opportunity for Australians to say YES to recognition, YES to representation, YES to listening. We want all Australians to seize this opportunity with both hands.
At the same time, we are already seeing how the public debate is affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our community.
We urge all Australians to be kind to one another over the referendum campaign, and in the aftermath. All Australians will be touched by this debate, but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will experience it on a very personal level. We must all be compassionate to one another.
On 15 October, we will see ourselves reflected back. We hope that the face we show to the world, and to our children, is one of inclusion, recognition, healing and hope.