For months now, we’ve been really wrapped up in the ‘Voice to Parliament’ Referendum discussion. There’s a lot out there about it—some good, some not so good. The last thing we wanted was to just add more noise. But we wanted to make something that helped.
After some soul-searching, deep listening, and many a discussion, we realised that our concern had more to do with how the discussion has been happening and what happens after the referendum has come and gone.
In terms of the referendum itself, our stance is clear to us: Yes. It’s about fairness and listening to those who’ve been here long before the rest of us. It’s about acknowledging the status that all First Peoples deserve. It’s about changing a system that should have had something like this, to begin with – at the very least.
But while we wholeheartedly support the Voice, we too are not without our own questions. And even doubts. We are also acutely aware that the Voice is not an all-encompassing solution that fixes everything. It will not change or replace the fact that communities and grassroots organisations themselves have a strong tradition of advocacy already. Not even close.
Ultimately, though – for us at least – it comes down to seizing an opportunity to change a system that is asking us whether we want it to or not, and it has only done this 44 other times. So while we can criticise how we got here, and the fact that we’re here at all, we’re still here now – and we’re saying “Yes” to the opportunity in front of us.
But regardless of what happens at the polls, what comes next is much harder to guarantee, and ultimately our position is more than “Yes”; it is “Yes And…”.
While the “Yes” is clear, the “And” is our acknowledgment that this is just a step, not the finish line. Our commitment shouldn’t end at the ballot. Voting “Yes” is also a pledge to engage deeper, to be more present, and to stand with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, no matter the outcome.
We’ll keep talking, keep learning, and most importantly, keep supporting our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We can’t let ourselves drift apart or feel lost in all this. If we stop talking to each other, especially about the big stuff, our communities will suffer. Talking helps; it’s how we solve problems, together. It’s how we understand each other.
So, as we navigate these conversations, we encourage you to think in terms of “Yes, And…”.
We’ve created this resource, the “Yes And…” Guide, with the hopes that it aids in sparking such thoughtful dialogues. It’s our way of saying: “Here are some ways to talk about this ‘Voice To Parliament’ Referendum, but with the right issues at the centre.” At least that is the high ideal anyway. This Guide can also help you decide whether a conversation about the Voice is the right one at that moment in time.
We have made this freely available because we believe in the importance of accessible information and tools.
If you’d like access or need advice on leveraging it effectively in your context, please connect with us. Our aspiration is not just to inform but to drive meaningful, lasting connections with one another.
Access the “Yes, And…” Guide