Why the ANMF supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has declared its national support for the historic Uluru Statement from the Heart calling for a ‘First Nations Voice’ enshrined in the Constitution.

The ANMF officially pledged its support at a Federal Executive meeting in November last year.

The decision to publicly back the Uluru Statement from the Heart was driven by the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA), who resolved to join other organisations in endorsing the constitutional reform at a branch council meeting last year.

The NSW Branch determined that as a health union it holds a responsibility to support initiatives aiming to address the determinants of poor health outcomes experienced by Indigenous Australians and suggested all health organisations should view the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a key challenge.

More than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders gathered at the foot of Uluru in May 2017 to deliver the landmark Uluru Statement from the Heart that focuses on two key objectives – the establishment of a ‘First Nations Voice’ in the Australian Constitution and a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of ‘agreement-making’ and ‘truth-telling’ between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Uluru Statement states substantive constitutional change and structural reform is required so ‘ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood’.

“Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are alienated from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future,” the Uluru Statement reads.

“We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.”

After the Uluru Statement from the Heart was adopted in 2017, and despite support from many sectors, the Coalition Government rejected the key recommendations because it would create “a third chamber of Parliament”.

The Federal Labor Party has promised to hold a referendum on the Uluru Statement if it wins Government in May and the push by Indigenous leaders to enshrine the historic document remains as strong as ever.

Read the full Uluru Statement from the Heart.

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