We recognise that this continent, and its surrounding islands, belong to hundreds of First Nations who embody the wisdom, strength and power of the oldest continuing living culture on Earth.
We honour their stewardship, their guardianship and their sovereignty over land, water and sky country, which was never ceded. We recognise the power of their language, law, science and culture seen everywhere in the resilient, beautiful landscapes that have thrived for thousands of years.
We support self-determination for First Nations peoples across the continent and its islands and stand in solidarity with their fight for justice.
We acknowledge that the modern-day Australian state is founded on the invasion and occupation of First Nations lands. Many of the injustices that First Nations peoples face today stem from this one great injustice, and the process of decolonisation remains a challenge for all Australians.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart, a historic statement from 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, calls for a Voice to Parliament as a step towards Makarrata: a treaty and truth telling process that is “the coming together after a struggle.”
In this context, Jubilee Australia supports the movement to say ‘Yes’ in the upcoming referendum on the Voice on 14 October.
We are heartened by the many people supporting First Nations rights in Australia and across the world. There is a growing recognition from non-indigenous people that acknowledging and facing our past and our future is not a threat but an opportunity. We believe that the referendum itself is symbolic of a broader desire of many Australians to better understand, confront and shift the continuing realities of colonisation.
We also share the concerns of many in our sector that a ‘no’ result in this referendum could embolden the far-right, enable more racism, and erode political will for upholding the rights of First Nations peoples in Australia.
At the heart of our organisation, we believe in the importance of free, prior and informed consent for indigenous peoples – as part of their right to self-determination outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
While we support the Voice, we also emphasise that this is just one of many steps that must happen, including treaty. We also believe it is important to recognise that while this historic discussion is taking place, governments across the continent are failing to uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples or act on rights violations. The Voice is just one step, it is not the only step.
Building trust in this process also requires acting on corporate accountability, transparency in government, legislative amendments, resource management, incarceration rates, World Heritage and intergenerational equity. We would like to acknowledge that even during this national conversation there are Traditional Owners across the continent and its surrounding islands who are fighting to have their voices heard in opposition to extractive industries. We stand in solidarity with these communities.
We recognise that First Nations peoples do not have one sole view on the Voice. While Jubilee Australia wants to share its view and urge all our supporters and partners to vote ‘Yes’, we also encourage you to seek out a wide range of First Nations perspectives on the Voice:
If, like us, you support a ‘Yes’ vote in this referendum, we also encourage you to volunteer for the Yes campaigns in your community. You can sign up as an individual here: Yes23 and #WriteYes. Or encourage your organisation to participate: Civil Society Guide. We also encourage you to continue to take action to support First Nations sovereignty and rights beyond the 14th of October, as the fight for justice will not end there.