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A Voice to Parliament Explained in Plain English

By Steve Trotter

Posted on 15th August 2023

What is the Voice to Parliament?

When you go to the polls this year to vote for or against a Voice to Parliament, you are going to vote whether you believe that Aboriginal Australians should have a say in policies that white politicians have been making for them, since Parliament was formed in Australia.

Why does it need to happen?

In the past, white politicians created some really bad policies that did a lot of damage to Aboriginal Australians, policies involving the removal of their children for one.

The Voice in Parliament bill will give Aboriginal people a voice in these decisions so that these types of bad decisions aren’t repeated.

How does it affect me?

If you’re an Aboriginal Australian it will mean that any decision concerning Aboriginal people considered in Parliament must get the approval from the people representing the Aboriginal communities from across Australia before it can pass through Parliament. If you’re not an Aboriginal person, it won’t affect you at all.

Why would I vote yes?

The idea of the Voice to Parliament comes from a meeting of Aboriginal people who represented communities from across Australia held in Uluru called the Statement from the Heart. The people at the meeting agreed that for conditions to improve for Aboriginal people in Australia they needed to have a say in the decisions that affected them. If you respect Aboriginal Australians and trust that they can make good decisions for themselves, vote Yes. When you consider that Aboriginal people managed their own affairs for 65,000+ years without violence, prisons, grog and drugs, and homelessness then I’d say you could trust them to do a better job than white politicians have in the last 250 years. Violence, prisons, grog, drugs, and homelessness are things that were introduced to Aboriginal people when the First Fleet arrived.

Why are people against it?

The No vote supporters fear a Constitutional change that might relinquish some of the power held by them in Parliament. Constitutional change though is not something new. Parliament has been changing the constitution since it was established. The supporters of the No vote are generally land holders from conservative parties, like the Liberal party and One Nation party. They fear that a Yes vote might lead to the land they’re occupying being taken from them. They fear that if the Australian public gave Aboriginal people a voice in Parliament, it might lead to a Treaty with Aboriginal people. If, down the track, a Treaty was agreed upon, it would not result in anyone being evicted from Australia. Every other country in the WORLD (America, Canada, New Zealand, etc) ALL have treaties with their Indigenous peoples, and they are still living in their homes in those countries.

So, there it is in a nutshell.

If you would like to read more about the Voice to Parliament, check out the government fact sheet, or the pamphlet.

Want to Know More About Aboriginal Culture?

If you or your children would like to know more about Aboriginal history and culture, check out Magpie Publishers’ bookstore. There you will find stories that celebrate our First Nations’ People and detail the impact of colonization on Aboriginal people, the environment, and their culture. 

 

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Australia and honour the Elders past and present

© Steve Trotter 2022

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