What does Labor’s commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart mean?

By Rise
23 May 2022
Source: The Guardian

The first thing Anthony Albanese said in his victory speech on Saturday night, after acknowledging the traditional owners of the land where he stood, was to promise that Labor will commit “in full” to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

What is the statement?

The Uluru Statement from the Heart was issued to the Australian people in May 2017, developed after two years of deliberative “dialogues” around the country. Broadly, it calls for constitutional change and meaningful, structural reforms based on justice and self-determination for Indigenous peoples.

It calls for a First Nations voice to parliament enshrined in the constitution, and a Makarrata commission to supervise a process of agreement-making and truth-telling.

The statement says these reforms are necessarily sequential: a Voice first, then Treaty and Truth.

What is the voice? And why is a referendum necessary?

The Uluru Statement calls for a permanent forum of representation from which First Nations can advocate for their peoples to the parliament and government. This voice should be enshrined in the constitution, so it cannot be removed by any government of the day. To enshrine the voice, the constitution must be amended, and that can only be done by referendum.
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