Our University supports a Yes vote in the Voice to Parliament referendum

Friday, 15 September 2023

The University of Newcastle supports an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

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We are proud to be shaped and guided by the knowledge, stories, and principles of the oldest continuing culture in the world.

We recognise that the views of First Nations people and the broader community are not uniform, and that there are a diversity of opinions.

Universities have a long history of leadership in reform. History has taught us that public institutions can only be bettered by listening to, and working with, the communities we represent.

We have listened to voices of students, staff and alumni, with our position being reinforced by the strong support of the Chair of the University’s Board of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Research (BATSIER) and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network.

As a learning institution, we encourage healthy debate on political matters and feel we have a role to provide information that supports our community to make informed decisions.

As a research institution, we must always be led by the evidence. Following consultation over a number of months, including surveys, information sessions and community reference groups, we now have this evidence to hand. Our University community has spoken, and shown majority support for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

The upcoming referendum is about the future.

The outcome of this referendum will impact every Australian, and importantly generations to come. Its ramifications will be studied within and outside the walls of our university. It will be dissected on screens and debated across dinner tables and pub benches.

The weight of this lays heavily on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who we recognise and acknowledge can at times become ‘subject matter’ amidst their lifetimes of fighting for equality.

The Australian people will vote in a yes/no referendum on 14 October. Whatever the result, the University of Newcastle will continue to advocate for accountability, transparency, and above all meaningful recognition and representation for First Nations people.

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