The Uluru Statement comes after decades of research, reports and calls for genuine action on the issue of constitutional reform that have often been overlooked and forgotten. As the gap of disadvantage widens for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the Statement cannot be ignored.
It was a monumental occasion fifty years ago, when Australia voted overwhelmingly in favour of counting our Indigenous peoples in the census. It is time to build on that.
Often we fail to take into account the views of our First peoples. Our political systems and institutions remain inadequate at providing them with a voice in the matters that affect their lives, futures and communities.
The Australian Government commissioned the Referendum Council to gather the views of our First peoples, which it has done, through a series of national dialogues with delegates from across the country. It is time for all our political leaders to listen with open ears, open minds and open hearts so that we can take this next step on our nation's reconciliation journey.
What the Uluru Statement from the Heart calls for is not a new idea, nor should it be contentious. Rather, a national Indigenous voice included in the Constitution would affirm the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Australia has endorsed.
The Australian Human Rights Commission and the Anti-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissions from across Australia encourage all of our political leaders to take heed of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, to work across party lines, and to implement real change, for the benefit of all Australians.
Providing our First peoples with a national voice that is enshrined in the Constitution is an opportunity – we must listen.
The Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities, including:
- Australian Human Rights Commission
- ACT Human Rights Commission
- Anti-Discrimination Board NSW
- NT Anti-Discrimination Commission
- Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland
- Equal Opportunity Commission SA
- Equal Opportunity Tasmania
- Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
- Equal Opportunity Commission WA