St Vincent’s endorses a ‘Yes’ vote in upcoming referendum on The Voice.
St Vincent’s strongly believes that practical measures designed to address disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians – in terms of health and wellbeing, justice, housing, education, and economic outcomes – will only achieve long-term success if they are matched with meaningful and genuine reconciliation and our nation reckoning with its past.
Addressing disparities in health and wellness outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and pursuing reconciliation should not be an ‘either/or’ proposition. In fact, St Vincent’s believes each are reliant on the other.
As a health care provider for more than 165 years, we continue to bear witness to the ongoing health and social implications of Australia’s failure to achieve both.
And there can be no true reconciliation in Australia if we don’t find a way to work together to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a meaningful, proper, and permanent voice on matters affecting them as individuals, along with their communities and lands.
Achieving this will benefit all Australians.
That’s why in 2020 St Vincent’s publicly expressed its support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
And it’s why in 2023 we are announcing our support for a ‘Yes’ vote in Australia’s upcoming national referendum to alter the Constitution to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice (The Voice).
We believe that an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution, and the establishment of a Makarrata Commission – a body to oversee a process of truth-telling, recognition, awareness of past injustices and their continued impact, and a framework for treaty-making – are the best ways to both make significant steps towards reconciliation while also delivering practical benefits to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
We take this position having consulted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in 2019-20 on the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and again in February 2023 in regards to The Voice, receiving strong endorsement for both.
We recognise there is a diversity of views on The Voice, including among St Vincent’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members. We equally recognise the right of individuals to respectfully exercise and express their views.
Just as our clinicians, support workers, and administrators are advocates for patients and residents every day, St Vincent's seeks to influence better health outcomes by advocating for reform of the structures which limit human flourishing.
We need to change the way we do things to ensure that the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are permanently included and respected. In turn, we believe The Voice will contribute to real changes on the ground in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and in people’s lives.
That’s why St Vincent’s took a public position in support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
It’s why St Vincent’s supports a ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum on The Voice.