Yes, but we demand more and better.

VAHPA stands with First Nations communities in their ongoing struggle for self-determination.

We acknowledge the proposed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament is an advisory body only, and that Government is not bound to implement or action its advice.

We acknowledge that advisory bodies, such as the now defunct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Royal Commissions, inquiries, and equivalent processes have come and gone with little change to the policies that continue to reinforce structural racism and produce adverse outcomes for Indigenous individuals and communities.

That key recommendations from the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody are still to be implemented. There have been at least 555 Aboriginal deaths in custody since the findings of the Royal Commission were handed down.

That there is nothing preventing Government from taking decisive action now to implement the recommendations, in genuine consultation with communities, to prevent further deaths.

But we also acknowledge that unlike other bodies, the Voice to Parliament has been called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Referendum has given some groups the opportunity to engage in a harmful debate regarding the position of First Nations people in this country.

We ask members to offer support and solidarity to their First Nations peers and to examine the systemic impoverishment and inequity that continues to pervade the social and economic structures that form the bedrock of our society.

Regardless of the outcome of the Referendum, VAHPA is committed to supporting our First Nations communities by fighting and advocating for the change we need to see to provide for their autonomy, wellbeing and self-determination in all aspects of life.

We will start with examining our own work and how we can improve industrial outcomes for First Nations Allied Health Professionals, and in turn, health outcomes for their communities. We have so much further to go to achieve meaningful change.

A “Yes” vote will not mean that our work is done, but we cannot afford the setback a “No” vote would bring.

A “No” vote will provide an excuse for people to do nothing.

Vote “Yes” to send the message that you’re on board with the change our First Nations people and communities urgently need and must see.

Branch Committee of Management, Elected Officers & Staff of VAHPA