Taungurung Statement on A Voice to Parliament
In 2023, Australians will be asked to vote yes or no on the following question: ‘Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?’.
The Taungurung Land and Waters Council (TLaWC), empowered by the Taungurung people, supports A Voice to Parliament. The only way to change the Australian Constitution is by holding a referendum. This means that the Constitution cannot be altered without ‘the approval of the people’ – an approval we support at full voice.
Having a group of Traditional Owners advising the Government and Parliament on how matters such as policies and laws affect Indigenous peoples is the next step in creating a stronger future not just for the Taungurung Nation, but all Nations.
The social, cultural and economic wellbeing of our people are matters that require consultation with Aboriginal people, for the betterment of Aboriginal people.
The importance of such change cannot be understated, for anything written into the Constitution means protection from changes of Government. Previous Indigenous bodies have not had such protection.
It has taken 96 years of calling for constitutional recognition to reach this referendum, which does not include the many years of injustice prior. This is a rare opportunity to have a say in affecting the changes our people need through Government policy and legislation. Such opportunities must be taken, for we never know when they will arise again.
When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who know and understand the best way to deliver real and practical change in their communities have a say through a Voice, we will finally be able to close the gap that still exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The hopes of our Ancestors will echo through Parliament.
The Voice will be empowering, community-led, inclusive, respectful and culturally informed. It will prioritise youth and represent the needs of local communities. It will be accountable and transparent. It will see a line drawn in 2023, driving positive change into the future.
The Taungurung people and TLaWC advocate for this change, now and forever.