Refugee Legal Statement of Support for a Voice to Parliament

Refugee Legal supports the establishment of a First Nations Voice to Parliament, to be enshrined in the Australian Constitution.

We embrace the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk together in “a movement of the Australian people for a better future”.

This is rooted in our support of the three pillars of the Uluru Statement: Voice, Treaty and Truth.

The Voice referendum is a pivotal juncture in the country’s history. It presents an opportunity to take a crucial step forward. A step which enshrines Constitutional change empowering reform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take their rightful place – to be truly heard.

We recognise that this reform can create a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.

We further recognise the Voice as a fundamental next step towards removing structural barriers that have caused such deep powerlessness, injustice and harm to First Nations people.

Human dignity and human rights are at the heart of our support for the Voice. Justice and self-determination lie at the core of this. These are also fundamental rights under international law, which affirm the rights of First Nations people, including to self-determination, equality and non-discrimination.

We know from our longstanding experience working with refugees, people seeking asylum and migrants that when governments hear and act on the voices of people with direct experience, it can make a fundamental difference to policy-making which advances rights and lives.

We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities hold differing views about the Voice. In our support of the Voice, we respect these views and believe in a shared responsibility to listen to different perspectives.

We embrace the invitation to support the Voice as a critical step in a historic movement walking together into a better future for all.