“We can become a fairer and more just society; a society where there is health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people... A society where Aboriginal children can get a healthy start in life and achieve their full health potential. Health could be a big winner if Australia votes ‘yes’. It means we will be able to get down and deal with the big health issues…” - Pat Anderson AO

“A voice and recognition of Indigenous Australians is critical if there is going to be long-term sustainable improvements to health outcomes for our peoples....” – Pat Turner, Chief Executive Officer, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

There is less than 5 days until the Referendum with early voting happening across the country. Many people will make their decisions in the final days or the day of voting. We have opportunities to have more conversations and highlight that 80% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people support a Voice; and that the impacts of the Voice may be greatest in health.

Information about voting is available from the Australian Electoral Commission, and you can find your nearest polling booth and further information about why the Voice is important here: voicereferendum.com.au/

A Voice to Parliament will improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Across the country, health and community and many other organisations are adding their name to support a constitutional Voice to Parliament.

You can read Hepatitis Australia’s statement of support and previous newsletters here.

In this newsletter, we have gathered collective statements to highlight the positive health and wellbeing impacts that a Voice to Parliament could have.

Coalition of Peaks

“Alongside the National Agreement and the partnership between governments and the Coalition of Peaks, the Voice, Truth Telling, and Treaty will provide our nation with the complete roadmap to improve the life outcomes of our people.”

The Coalition of Peaks is made up of more than 80 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled peak and member organisations across Australia, that represent some 800 organisations.

The Coalition of Peaks came together to change the way Australian governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations, and communities on Closing the Gap.

They have written a statement of support for the Voice to Parliament.

Community Sector Joint Statement of Support for the Voice

“Drawing from our collective experience working with communities across Australia, we know that our political leaders make better policies when they listen to the voices of people directly affected.”

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) led a joint statement of community sector support for the Voice to Parliament. Hepatitis Australia is proud to be a signatory to this statement.

An open letter to the Australian public from health and medical organisations

“We confidently believe that the proposed Voice will enhance government decision making about matters that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ultimately improving health outcomes.”

More than 120 health and medical organisations have signed an open letter of national support for the Voice to Parliament, arguing that it will improve health outcomes.

Signatories include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations, medical, nursing and allied health colleges and organisations, consumer health groups, research organisations, unions and public health organisations. Pharmaceutical companies and other private sector stakeholders are also represented.

In an accompanying statement, Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler said: “I am confident that a Voice would help me, and future Health Ministers find better, more effective, practical ways to close the gap and allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to live longer, healthier, happier lives.”

Find out more

Multicultural Australia for Voice

“Let us co-operate across differences of politics and diversities of culture and faith, to heal our country and unify the nation.”

Multicultural Australia for Voice is an alliance of multicultural community organisations that support the Voice referendum. Over 150 organisations have signed the resolution and organisations can still add their name.

In addition, the Multicultural Australia for Voice website has several useful resources in multiple languages.

150+ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Organisations Support a ‘Yes’ Vote

“Our organisations are stronger because we have listened to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

On 2 July 2023 More than 70 organisations with Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) signed on to a statement in support of a Voice to Parliament.

The statement was published in the Brisbane Sunday Mail and the Perth Sunday Times.

Since publication, more RAP network organisations continued to sign on in support. There are now more than 150 organisations from a diverse range of sectors showing their support for the statement led by Reconciliation Australia.

Victorian Health Sector for the Voice

“Across Victoria, we have long understood how health policy is improved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are around the table working with us. The Voice will connect the communities we serve with the national government making decisions.”

VACCHO and the ANMF with support of other organisations in health surveyed 1595 health workers from private, hospital throughout Victoria. 80% of health workers believed that the Voice will lead to better health and wellbeing among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This statement shows the Victorian health sector support for the Voice to Parliament.

Croakey Health Media Voice to Parliament Portal

“The referendum to constitutionally enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament is critically important for health and wellbeing.”

Croakey Health Media is a not-for-profit public interest journalism organisation. This page provides links to useful information about the Voice Referendum.

The Lancet: Enshrining a First Nations Voice to Australian Parliament will advance global health equity

“The Voice will mean greater progress in wellbeing and health. It is consistent with public health principles and backed by the evidence that policies and programmes that work for communities require listening to such communities, working with them, following their empowered leadership, and enabling their self-determined control. Part of truth telling and historical reckoning, particularly for non-Indigenous Australians, is to listen and respect the dignity of Indigenous people as knowers.”

This article published in the Lancet Global Health Journal was written by members of the Australian global health community.

In addition to this strong health and community sector support for a Voice, there is also strong support from other areas including the legal, education, housing and business sectors.

You can read more statements here.

Support resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during the Referendum

The Aboriginal Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) has compiled a list of resources for anyone needing extra support in the lead up to Voice to Parliament referendum vote. You can access these here.

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has also released a First Nations Mental Health and Wellbeing Services and Supports resource. You can download this here.

Authorised by C Fowlie, Hepatitis Australia, 4/6b Thesiger Ct, Deakin ACT 2600.