The Uluru Statement from the Heart is an offering of Peace
On 14 October 2023 Australians will be asked to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice in the Constitution. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a generous invitation to all Australians to walk together for a more just and peaceful country.
The Sydney Peace Foundation stands in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to support their aspirations and the Yes vote in the upcoming Referendum. This is a historic and unprecedented moment in the ongoing struggle of Indigenous peoples for substantive constitutional recognition and empowerment. It provides all Australians with an opportunity to begin to address the unfinished business of the past and start to heal from the wounds of the past in order to move forward to a better future, for everyone.
In 2022, the Uluru Statement from the Heart was awarded the Sydney Peace Foundation’s Peace Prize:
“For bringing together Australia’s First Nations Peoples around a clear and comprehensive agenda; for facilitating healing and peace within our Nation; and for delivering self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, enabling Australia to move into the future with unity and confidence.”
Constitutional recognition through establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice is not only a legitimate and pragmatic aspiration, but a modest one. Australia is the only nation with a comparable colonial history that does not recognise First Nations people in its Constitution or have a mechanism that gives them a say on matters that affect them in place.
The Voice brings Australia into line with international human rights law which recognises the right of Indigenous people to participate in decision-making processes on issues that affect them. This is a fundamental right for Indigenous people across the globe who have suffered displacement and discrimination.
People and nations have gone to war over these needs. The Voice allows Australia to move forward with a modest, humble offering of Peace.
To quote from the powerful Uluru Statement of the Heart:
“We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.”
The full implementation of the Uluru Statement will bring significant benefits to Australia and greatly enhance Australia’s international standing as an inclusive and respectful society where everyone can flourish.
We urge every Australian to reach out and accept this olive branch by writing Yes on 14 October.
The Sydney Peace Foundation acknowledges that we sit on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people, and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters, and community that is deeply embedded in the spaces on which we work.