National Reconciliation Week: Voice to Parliament will make real change

27th May 2022

The new Federal Government has a unique opportunity to significantly change the lives of First Nations people by moving quickly to hold a referendum to allow for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“Australians are ready for a referendum and, as this year’s Reconciliation Week theme reminds us, it is time for us to be brave and take action so that we can achieve positive change for First Nations people,” said Mr Graham Droppert SC, National President, ALA.

“Five years after the Uluru Statement from the Heart was presented, there is no reason for further delay.

“We are encouraged by the new Labor Government’s commitment to the Uluru Statement. The time is right and the support the electorate has recently given Mr Albanese means he is ideally placed to take this historic opportunity to make this important change.”

The ALA strongly supports the recommendation of the Referendum Council (2017) and the Uluru Statement from the Heart (2017) for a referendum to amend the Constitution, to provide for a representative body that gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations a Voice to the Commonwealth Parliament.

“This year marks 55 years since the landmark 1967 referendum and 30 years since the Mabo decision. These were incredibly important milestones in their time and likewise, a referendum now would be courageous and significant,” said Mr Droppert SC.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have a say in the laws and policies that affect their lives. Our legal system has often failed to adequately represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but we know that the law can be used effectively to create a more just and equitable society.”

Tags: Indigenous rights