At our Annual General Meeting this year we were honoured to hear from Teela Reid, a Wiradjuri and Wailwan lawyer, storyteller and essayist.
Teela spoke about the importance of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and the role we can all play in much-needed change.
With a referendum expected in 2023 on a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament, the next few months are a crucial time for meaningful conversations and action.
We support the Uluru Statement from the Heart
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a message that was issued to the people of Australia by over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates in 2017, inviting the nation to create a better future for all of Australia.
Bank Australia announced our support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2019, recognising the continued connection to Country and enduring cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
"We see reconciliation as a fundamental responsibility for Bank Australia. As a customer-owned, responsible bank, we are committed to advancing reconciliation and working with First Nations peoples."
– Bank Australia’s Managing Director, Damien Walsh
We support a First Nations Voice to Parliament
One of three pillars of the Uluru Statement from the Heart (alongside truth-telling and treaty processes) is the call for a First Nations Voice to Parliament, enshrined in Australia’s Constitution.
As the organisation ‘From the Heart’ outlines, the Voice to Parliament will be a representative body to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to provide advice to Parliament on policies and projects that impact their lives. It’s important that establishing an Indigenous Voice to Parliament be done through constitutional change, so that it’s a permanent strengthening of our democracy, and one that can’t be easily undone by future governments.
"We are on the cusp of transformative change. Before us there is an opportunity to change the trajectory of our nation when it comes to recognising the rightful place of First Nations people.”
– Teela Reid
Join the conversation, and the movement
A successful referendum will require all of us. In the coming months, we will be sharing additional tools and resources for those looking to learn more and become engaged with the referendum process. As a starting point, our team has found the following actions helpful in our own learning:
- Reading and reflecting upon the Uluru Statement from the Heart is the best place to start. The Uluru Statement website also includes helpful information about the journey to the Statement, frequently asked questions, and ways to take action.
- Via Reconciliation Australia: This interactive digital learning platform, produced in partnership by the Uluru Dialogue and From the Heart, provides an overview of the referendum on a First Nations Voice to Parliament, and takes around 15 minutes to move through.
- The books Finding the Heart of the Nation (Thomas Mayo) and Everything You Need to Know About the Uluru Statement from the Heart (Megan Davis and George Williams) provide both personal stories and important context around the Statement and its significance.
As we move towards a federal referendum on a First Nations Voice to Parliament, it is also important that we don’t lose sight of the broader issues and opportunities at the heart of the Uluru Statement - this important body is one step in a broader journey for First Nations justice and reconciliation.