In line with our declared policy position, the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia is putting its heart, soul and prayers into supporting the "Yes" case for enshrining a First Peoples voice in the Australian Constitution.
‘A Voice to Parliament will give First Nations communities a means to inform policy and legal decisions that impact their lives, wherever they live,’ said National President Mark Gaetani.
‘It will also recognise and value the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s history,’ he added.
Mr Gaetani said the Society urges Australian voters to find time in the coming weeks to acquaint themselves with the truth behind the core question to be asked at the referendum. He also urged caution in not being distracted by misleading or politically motivated commentary.
‘We are hearing suggestions that this is a complex matter and that if people do not fully understand it then they should not vote for it.
‘But the proposition is simple, we are being asked to consider “A proposed law: To alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.”
‘The Society has a long history of supporting constitutional recognition and is in favour of endorsing this proposal. If endorsed by the Australian people, this proposal would make an important contribution to helping create a fairer Australia, which lies at the heart of our advocacy platform.’
Mr Gaetani said the Society strongly supports the material developed by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council, the peak advisory body to the Australian Catholic Bishops.
‘Their website, One Journey Together, explains how supporting The Voice aligns with Catholic Social Teaching principles.
‘It is time to listen respectfully and to put Indigenous voices at the heart of all Australian Government’s policies and programs that impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,’ Mr Gaetani said.
The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia has more than 45,000 members and volunteers, who work hard to assist people in need and combat social injustice across Australia. Internationally, the Society operates in 153 countries and has over 800,000 members.