Nursing Peaks Coalition backs “Yes” vote in landmark Voice to Parliament Referendum

Unions for YES

Nursing Peaks Coalition has thrown its support behind the “Yes” vote for the upcoming Referendum on the Voice to Parliament.

The nursing coalition’s decision comes as a unified stance to advocate for a crucial element of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

In a joint statement released today, 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.

They emphasised that engaging respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, as outlined in the Uluru Statement, was not only a matter of principle but a vital step toward enhancing Australia’s systems of Government and governance and promoting meaningful reconciliation.

Further, embedding the Voice within the Constitution is seen as a gesture of recognition and acknowledgment of the unique role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have played throughout Australia’s history.

The Nursing Peaks Coalition’s support for a “Yes” vote stems from a deep understanding that prior efforts to “Close the Gap” have fallen short due to the lack of central involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in decisions related to their own health and wellbeing.

A First Nations Voice to Parliament would empower Indigenous communities to communicate their concerns directly, providing invaluable input for shaping policies and legal decisions that directly affect their lives. This formalised capacity for advice and advocacy is expected to lead to a more culturally informed and effective approach to policy-making.

The Nursing Peaks Coalition emphasised the urgency of the matter, acknowledging the stark disparities in health and health inequity faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. They highlighted the transformative potential of the Voice to address these deeply rooted issues.

In their statement, the Nursing Peaks Coalition aligned their support for the “Yes” vote with their fundamental values as nursing organisations – namely, advocating for human rights, social justice, and positive change in communities. They firmly believe that constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be a pivotal step in combating racism and bolstering efforts to “Close the Gap”, ultimately resulting in improved health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

The signatories included:
Annie Butler – Federal Secretary – Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation
Karen Booth – President – Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association
Prof Karen Strickland – Chair – Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery
Adj Prof Kylie Ward – CEO – Australian College of Nursing
Adrian Armitage – CEO – Australian College of Mental Health Nurses
Adam Searby – President – Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia
Prof Emeritus Mary Chiarella – The University of Sydney
Melanie Dunstan – President – Australian College of Nurse Practitioners
Amanda Butt – Vice President – Australian College of Nurse Practitioners
Leanne Boase – CEO – Australian College of Nurse Practitioners

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