The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council says a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament would “serve as the bedrock for the journey towards reconciliation”.
NATSICC expressed its support for the Voice to Parliament, which would provide permanent representation and recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution and will be put to a referendum this year.
In a statement, NATSICC said it acknowledged that the Voice “represents a significant stride towards empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in addressing the deep-seated inequities prevalent in numerous social, economic and health indicators”.
“By working in tandem with truth-telling, a robust First Nations Voice will serve as the bedrock for the journey towards reconciliation. This journey may encompass treaties, sovereignty, and various opportunities that the First Nations Voice can explore and advocate for.”
In 2017, the Council endorsed the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which has a Voice to Parliament as a fundamental tenet. The broader Church followed that lead by endorsing the Uluru Statement during the historic Fifth Plenary Council of Australia in 2022.
“As people of faith, we firmly believe in the inherent dignity and worth of every individual. A constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice supports and promotes this belief by providing a platform for consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on a local level,” the NATSICC statement said.
“The Indigenous Voice represents a powerful and necessary stride towards rectifying the systemic and historical injustices endured by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For far too long, our voices have been marginalised and our rights disregarded. Despite our ancestral connection to this land spanning over 60,000 years, our presence is not acknowledged in the Constitution.
“It is imperative that we are actively involved and consulted in the decision-making processes of this nation, particularly on matters that significantly impact our lives. Our inclusion and representation are essential for genuine progress and the pursuit of justice.”