Nurses, midwives and personal care workers joined tens of thousands of Australians to Walk for Yes on Sunday in support for constitutional change for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
The Yes campaign walks were held in all state and territories to garner support for a “Yes” vote in the upcoming referendum on 14 October. A “Yes” vote asks people to listen to Indigenous Australians, recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture, and protect their voices in Australia’s 122 year old constitution.
“The result from the 14 October referendum will reveal much about our country. I really hope that Australians take this opportunity to vote “Yes” and finally recognise the oldest surviving culture in our Constitution,” said ANMF Federal Assistant Secretary Lori-Anne Sharp, who attended the Melbourne Walk for Yes.
“A “Yes” vote provides hope and a pathway for First Nations peoples to make decisions on matters affecting their lives. As nurses and midwives we always subscribe to do no harm, a no vote will leave us nowhere, a yes vote provides opportunity for a different path, a positive, practical step forward,” Ms Sharp said.
“Advice, experience and wisdom from Aboriginal communities leads to better policy outcomes. People on the ground know their issues best and having a Voice will deliver practical change,” said NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) General Secretary Shaye Candish.
Yes23 Campaign Director Dean Parkin said the people-powered campaign involved thousands of volunteers out every weekend to help get a successful Yes vote over the line.
“We know that many Australians are yet to make their mind up on how they will vote in this referendum, which is why face-to-face conversations are so important.
“We are buoyed by the positivity that we receive from Australians when we explain that this referendum is simply about recognition, about listening to Indigenous people and getting better outcomes on the ground.”
Alyawarre woman Pat Anderson, Co-Chair of the Uluru Dialogue, the architects of the Uluru Statement said the Voice was overwhelmingly supported by First Nations peoples, with more than 80% supporting the reform.
“This has come from the grassroots; from mob who told us that if we have a say, we will get better outcomes.
“This referendum is our nation’s opportunity to improve lives for generations. We are urging the Australian people to hear our voices from the heart.”
In a joint statement released last week, the Nursing Peaks highlighted the importance of constitutionally protecting the First Nations Voice to Parliament, emphasising that this pivotal measure aligns with the objectives of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Authorised by Annie Butler, Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation, Melbourne