Why I’m Voting YES in the ‘Voice Referendum’

Why I’m Voting YES in the ‘Voice Referendum’

This coming Saturday, Australians will head to the polls to make a crucial decision about whether we should consider constitutional change to recognise First Nations people through a Voice to Parliament.

As an Aboriginal person, I’ve been immersed in conversations surrounding the referendum since its announcement a few months ago. I’ve found myself answering numerous queries from family, friends, and colleagues, each eager to hear my perspective on this matter. Interestingly, the way these conversations unfold often reveals the level of genuine interest in understanding my viewpoint versus those who might be more inclined towards wanting to engage in heated debates. This isn’t an uncommon phenomenon, particularly when it comes to cultural issues in the public domain.

My position on this issue is rather straightforward, I’m voting “Yes” in search of hope.

Hope for a brighter future, a more unified Australia, and a better life for my children. However, the reality is that this decision is underpinned by a myriad of complex reasons.

To begin with, the differences in societal structures, practices, and values between First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous Australians are stark. The preferred societal structures and practices often clash, creating a complex web of tension. It’s akin to trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. It requires careful consideration and a whole lot of effort!

For Australia to unite, we need to be able to meet in the middle and acknowledge the need for adjustments and amendments to our existing system. The ‘Voice’ provides me with hope that we can take a step in this direction.

When I look at the current design and delivery of strategies, legislation, policies and approaches aimed at reducing the disparity between First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous Australians. It is not working well enough and will take a very long time to achieve equality in life outcomes. It’s evident that the current system falls short, and progress toward equality in life outcomes will be a lengthy journey. While it’s true that the ‘Voice’ doesn’t address all these issues, it signifies a new beginning. Change must start somewhere, and perfection should not be the prerequisite for that first step.

I’m voting YES to have a go at trying to change the current structure.

On a global scale, Australia stands alone as the only Commonwealth nation yet to establish a Treaty with its First Nations peoples.

The call for Treaty is a burning desire, the recognition of Australia’s history, and the yearning for the acknowledgment of past injustices and the pain it has inflicted.

The Uluru Statement From the Heart has three core components: The Voice, Treaty, Truth. There is a lot of heated debate surrounding whether Treaty should come first. While there is a lot of positive movement at a state level. Currently there is no movement at a federal level and I don’t want to sit back and wait for this to occur.

I also strongly believe in the Uluru Statement from The Heart, and having a permanent platform for First Nations voices to be heard by parliament does not negate Treaty. This platform can pave the way for a Treaty by providing advice on matters such as justice. This is why I’m voting “YES” in the Voice Referendum.

Reflecting on my own privilege, I know I have benefited from standing on the shoulders of the greats. Older generations fought hard from the outskirts to push the government to make changes to legislation. Which has provided an improved life experience for me compared to generations before me.

I view the ‘Voice’ as an additional layer in this ongoing fight for a fairer and more united Australia. Transformative change requires alignment and cooperation from all areas, both within and beyond. All working together to advance a more united and equitable Australia.

For me, I’m voting YES for hope – hope for a brighter future, hope for enduring change, and hope for the well-being of my children.

Written by Kylie Penehoe – AFL SportsReady Executive Manager of First Nations Programs

The Voice to Parliament Statement

The Voice to Parliament Statement

With over 29 years of experience providing quality job opportunities and launching the careers of thousands of young Australians. AFL SportsReady offers diverse and thrilling opportunities that could take your career to the next level.

Whether you’re just starting out in your career or looking to take it in a new direction. AFL SportsReady has something to offer, with a commitment to quality training and support. You can be sure that you’ll have the tools you need to succeed.
So why wait? Kickstart your career today by exploring available Traineeships.