Statement on the Voice referendum

Oral History Australia wishes to publicly support voting ‘Yes’ in the forthcoming Australian Indigenous Voice referendum.

The first recommendation of the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ was the creation of a ‘Voice to Parliament’ enshrined in the Australian Constitution which requires a referendum.

As oral historians we know that Australia’s First Peoples sustain the oldest continuing human culture in the world, and that indigenous Australians have been sharing their oral histories for over 60,000 years.

As historians we are aware of the numerous times since the start of colonisation that Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples have called on government authorities and non-Indigenous Australians to respect their sovereign rights, and how they have been ignored. We are aware of our own profession’s history in silencing and ignoring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We believe we need to listen and pay true heed to the inherent rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including acknowledging their divergent views on this issue.

We know that the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ is not just about the Voice, but also about Treaty and Truth-telling. Beyond the referendum, much work will still be required to ensure the differing needs and requests of communities are met.

We encourage our members to add their name to the ‘History is Calling’ open letter, while acknowledging the right of members to have their own independent views on this matter.

Alistair Thomson
President, on behalf of Oral History Australia

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