AbSec statement of support for the Voice
On the 14th of October, Australians will be asked to enshrine a Voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our Constitution.
It is a request made by First Nations communities through the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It is a request that AbSec – the NSW Child, Family and Community Peak Aboriginal Corporation – supports without any reservation.
The Voice recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of this country. Acknowledging our existence as the oldest living culture on earth can provide a powerful sense of identity, pride and belonging.
The Voice is also a promise and guarantee that there will always be a seat at the table for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to advise the Australian Parliament and the Government on matters that affect our lives.
Aboriginal peoples have been raising happy, healthy, resilient children for over 65,000 years. We know that our children are made stronger when they remain connected to, and nurtured by, their culture. Yet today there are over 6,600 Aboriginal children in NSW who are in out-of-home care (OOHC). That’s 44 per cent of all children in OOHC in NSW.
For AbSec and our members, the Voice is an anchor for true self-determination as we continue our quest to design, develop and deliver the services that children and families in our communities need. The Voice is a foundation stone for truth-telling about our history and a platform to slowly build or rebuild more open policy dialogues where we can offer solutions.
Transforming the child protection and care system rests on community providing the holistic support that strengthens our families, enables them to stay together and brings our children home. As the Voice is established and starts to bring ideas grounded in Aboriginal ways of being, knowing and doing to policy and implementation tables, we will see a growing pool of ‘things that work’.
There is power in demonstrating that we are the experts in our own communities and lives. There is power in having Voice and as government learns to listen and to genuinely hear, there is a path to a reconciled future.
For AbSec, the case for the Voice is given its most eloquent and compelling expression by our colleagues at SNAICC:
We need to fire the ambitions of all governments, services and leaders to work with us toward a better future fit our children and our nation. A Voice will light that fire, fuelling the work we do, driving the change that has to happen.
AbSec agrees. Our children deserve no less than YES.