Lutheran Care acknowledges the importance of the upcoming referendum proposing to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an enshrined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
As an organisation, Lutheran Care wholeheartedly supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the guiding principles: Truth, Treaty and Voice. As an organisation, we wholeheartedly support the formal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of Australia with an ongoing connection to the land and waterways. We also acknowledge that as Sovereignty of this country has never been ceded, this history impacts the lives of people in our society today.
Lutheran Care continues to take steps to ensure First Nations voices and practices are included and empowered in our service delivery models, team culture and partnerships. Our service provision addresses the Closing the Gap framework including the persistent inequalities in health, life expectancy and other life outcomes faced by First Nations peoples in Australia. We still have a long way to go, highlighting this is a priority for our organisation and our accountability actions through our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) journey.
With the referendum coming up on October 14, Lutheran Care believes that, as an organisation, our role is to create safe spaces, empowering people to hold conversations that are respectful and free from prejudice and discrimination. Lutheran Care’s Board members, staff, volunteers and clients come from many different cultures, differing perspectives, lived experiences and identities.
Our position is about transparency; we believe it is not our place as an organisation to make any declaration on behalf of individuals. This aligns with and reflects how we demonstrate our inclusive culture as an organisation: regardless of differing views, it is important that we each separate our own opinions and singular viewpoint on the matter, to listen, learn and engage in respectful conversations.
Many of our staff stand alongside First Nations people who advocate strongly (and respectfully) either side of this vote, in alignment with their beliefs, and also provide support to those who are undecided. Here are a list of credible educational tools and other resources we believe can help to inform your personal view in line with your own values, should you remain undecided, uncertain or wishing to re-affirm your position on this important decision:
- AEC Referendum Pamphlet – Your Official Yes or No https://www.aec.gov.au/referendums/files/pamphlet/your-official-yes-no-referendum-pamphlet.pdf?=v1.0
- AEC link Disinformation register – Referendum process –https://www.aec.gov.au/media/disinformation-register-ref.htm
- ABC News: YES or NO? Everything you need to know about the Indigenous Voice Referendum – https://youtu.be/RCnv3G0rDLo
- SBS News: Voice to Parliament AEC pamphlets fact checked –
- The Voice website – https://voice.gov.au/
- The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) – https://www.niaa.gov.au/
- Uluru Statement from the Heart- a course exploring the first of these proposed reforms: enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution –https://ulurustatement.org/training/#/
- Australian Human Rights Commission – Voice Referendum: Understanding the referendum from a human rights perspective https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-social-justice/voice-referendum-understanding
Earlier in the year, we applauded South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas and his government’s commitment to the first state-based implementation the Uluru Statement from the Heart via the elected six person Local First Nations Voices and a State First Nations Voice. This is different to the Federal Voice and only relates to South Australia.
We continue to lend our support to this state based initiative to forge better collaborations and stronger connections between First Nations and non Aboriginal people to improve health and life outcomes, opportunities and wellbeing for all South Australians. We encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in South Australia to nominate as a candidate for your Local Voice between 22 January 2024 and 12 February 2024, with elections for First Nations people to take place on March 16, 2024. More information can be found here: https://www.agd.sa.gov.au/first-nations-voice
Regardless of the referendum outcome later this year, Lutheran Care continues to stand alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and honour their spiritual connection to ancestral Countries on which we are privileged to work and live. We also value the intrinsic and significant impact First Nations people, leaders, and organisations contribute to advancing Australia today and working together toward a nation free from oppression, disadvantage and exclusion.
Please take the time to seek out information, be informed and please be respectful of one another.
Chief Executive Officer