Nursing Peaks Coalition support a Yes Vote on the Voice to Parliament Referendum

A First Nations Voice to Parliament protected by the Constitution is a key element of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Respectful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and accepting the invitation extended in the Uluru Statement from the Heart is consistent with implementing the call for a Voice in Parliament, will strengthen Australian systems of Government and governance and mark a practical step towards meaningful reconciliation.

Embedding a Voice in the Constitution would recognise and rightfully acknowledge the special place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s history.

Nurses across the country understand that many well intentioned attempts to Close the Gap have not succeeded because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have not been centrally involved in decisions about their own health and wellbeing.

A Voice to Parliament will give Indigenous communities a route to convey their concerns affecting their communities and provide key messaging to help inform policy and legal decisions that impact their lives. Giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the ability to advise in a formal and enshrined capacity will lead to a more culturally informed and effective approach to policy.

The Nursing Peaks Coalition supports a Yes vote for the upcoming referendum. We acknowledge the current state of health and health inequity in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the potential for the power of the Voice to address these issues.

Supporting the Yes vote aligns with our values as nursing organisations to support human rights and our long-standing commitment to advocating for social justice and positive change in our communities. Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will play an important role to address racism and influence the efforts of Closing the Gap to improved health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

Signatories:

Annie Butler – Federal Secretary – Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation

Karen Booth – President – Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association

Prof. Karen Strickland – Chair – Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery

Adj. Prof. Kylie Ward – CEO – Australian College of Nursing

Adrian Armitage – CEO – Australian College of Mental Health Nurses

Adam Searby – President – Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia

Prof. Emeritus Mary Chiarella – The University of Sydney

Melanie Dunstan – President – Australian College of Nurse Practitioners

Amanda Butt – Vice President – Australian College of Nurse Practitioners

Leanne Boase – CEO – Australian College of Nurse Practitioners

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