COTA Australia Statement on Constitutional Recognition and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament
After over 65,000 years of continuous living culture, it’s time to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s 122-year-old Constitution.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want recognition and a practical say on the issues and policies that affect their lives.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is an invitation to the Australian people from First Nations Australians. It asks Australians to walk together to build a better future by establishing a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution and can be read here.
For too long Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been denied a seat at the table in decisions that affect their own lives. Ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can meaningfully participate in decision-making that affects them is the key to better outcomes for all, including Elders. The Voice will provide advice only to the Federal Parliament and Government.
Consistent with fundamental democratic principles, Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia puts older people at the centre of its advocacy and that is why COTA Australia supports a Yes vote.
It aligns with our reason for existing. It aligns with our values of caring about people, equality and fairness. The Voice will ensure the Parliament and governments of the day hear from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a way that has eluded successive governments. The quality of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait people can, and should be better.
We recognise and respect that our supporters, Australians over 50 years old, will have a range of views on how they will vote in the referendum. We encourage all older people to inform themselves about the referendum to make sure their vote counts.
COTA Australia will seek to inform our supporters about why more than 80% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are asking all Australians to vote Yes. COTA Australia will do this by promoting information sources in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and other groups.
Authorised by Patricia Sparrow, COTA Australia, 17b/16 National Circuit Canberra.
Read our Media Release about the Voice Referendum here.