Australia Democracy, devolution and governance

Engaged communities for an informed referendum on the Voice to Parliament


Photo: PomInOz via Shutterstock

With just two weeks to go until the referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament, LGIU Australia have brought together previous briefings and useful links local government can use to share information and advocate to their communities.

LGIU Australia believes in the need for informed conversations and action, which is why we have created our Indigenous Voice to Parliament collection and made some of our related briefings free to members and followers. If you’re not already signed up, you’ll just need to register first.

Local governments have an important role in encouraging respectful and informed conversations. There are many great resources available, we’ve highlighted some key examples below.

The Australia Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) referendum resource kit encourages the Australian public to consider the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament through a human rights lens.

“Conversations about the referendum and proposed Voice to Parliament have the potential to be harmful for First Nations peoples. The Commission’s Voice referendum resources seek to minimise harm by encouraging cultural humility and focusing the conversation on human rights principles as they relate to the referendum and proposed Voice to Parliament.” The Australia Human Rights Commission

Pledge to Champion a Respectful Referendum from The Black Dog Institute, Indigenous Allied Health Australia, the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association and Guyaa Dhuwi (Proud Spririt) Australia, is a great resource for those wanting to foster respectful, empathetic dialogue, with seven clear steps to guide the discussion.

Live without Barriers has created translated social media toolkits, providing accurate and simple information on the Referendum and the Voice to Parliament. The relevant resources cover 45 languages and are disability friendly. To find out more, access the Resource Hub.

The Uluru Statement website is a reliable source of information about the Regional Dialogues and the National Indigenous Constitutional Convention that led to the Uluru Statement and the Voice proposal.

In Victoria, the Maggolee Website, developed by Reconciliation Victoria, notes that to date 18 of Victoria’s 79 councils publicly support “a First Nations constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament or the Uluru Statement from the Heart”. For example, Bass Coast Shire and Greater Shepparton’s statements can be found here and here respectively.

How to address common concerns and falsehoods

Our recent briefing Unpacking common concerns about the Voice, as the name suggests, outlines common concerns raised regarding the Voice proposal. If you’re sure about something you’ve heard or read, check to see if it’s already been ruled out by AAP Fact Check or RMIT Factlab.

How do other countries recognise their Indigenous people in their processes of government? Read our latest briefing, which provides an overview of arrangements for Indigenous Scandinavia, South Africa, Canada and New Zealand.

Understanding the Uluru Statement and the history behind the Quest for Indigenous History

For those interested in a deeper understanding of the Uluru Statement, why it matters and what it means for local government, our briefing The Uluru Statement from the Heart: Understanding Local Government’s role provides further context. While The Indigenous Voice co-design process report: What they recommended briefing shares an overview of the Co-design Process Final Report.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography’s ‘The Quest for Indigenous Recognition’ provides well-informed and reliable historical information that is easily accessible online and serves as an important educational tool to better inform all Australians who seek to understand the long struggle for Indigenous rights.

LGIU Australia has also published a number of briefings around Treaty and truth-telling:

We encourage local government to engage with their communities and to encourage an informed and respectful debate.

Related briefings


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