More than 100 of Australia’s leading health organisations have signed an open letter in support of the Voice to Parliament, saying that they confidently believe the proposed advisory body, which will require a ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming October 14 referendum to amend the Constitution, will enhance government decision-making about matters that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and, ultimately, improve health outcomes.
Health organisations who are backing the Voice include the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM).
“As health professionals, we witness firsthand the disparity in health outcomes between non-Indigenous Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” the open letter states.
“Despite the best efforts of successive governments at all levels, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to have an average life expectancy gap of 8.2 years compared to other Australians. The Voice is an opportunity for us to make a practical difference, to ensure the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians does not continue to widen.”
Australians should actively consider the potential health and wellbeing benefits that the Voice to Parliament would bring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the leading health organisations conclude.
“Just as good clinicians listen to their patient, a Voice to Parliament is about listening to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”