- The Guardian
- Issue #2060
The CPSU has joined the union-wide “Unions for Yes” campaign with the support of the CPSU’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Caucus and our Governing Council, the 48 nationally elected leaders from our workplaces.
The origins of this referendum are in the decades-long push for genuine constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Research shows most Australians support constitutional recognition through a Voice to Parliament, and more than 80 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also support it. Among that 80 per cent are a majority of CPSU members who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are asking us to support a modest change that will make a practical difference so we can move forward together.
Constitutional recognition in the form of a Voice will mean fewer wasted resources, less party politics and real results. This is an opportunity for all Australians to come together and contribute to building a stronger, fairer nation.
In 2015, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten, appointed a Referendum Council to advise on progress toward a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the constitution. Between December 2016 and May 2017 there were 13 regional dialogues (or meetings) with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to discuss, understand and prioritise options for recognition – including on how to formally “recognise” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution.
After those meetings, in May 2017, there was a conference from all around Australia at Uluru, that’s when the The Statement from the Heart was signed. The Voice to Parliament is the first action from that Statement.
Our National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Caucus previously endorsed the Uluru Statement from the Heart and this year reinforced their commitment to the first practical step in that by supporting a Voice to Parliament for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.