In April 2023, AHPA provided a written response to the Inquiry into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum. AHPA supports the proposed wording of the question which will be asked of Australians at the referendum as well as the proposed words which will be included in the Constitution if the referendum is successful. Submissions closed 21 April 2023. Our response is provided in full below.
The Australian Health Promotion (AHPA) supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart including constitutional recognition through an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice.AHPA understands constitutional recognition through an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice is the form of recognition chosen by the Indigenous community and supports this self-determined position. We acknowledge that it is the result of over 12 years of work, 7 processes and 10 reports. AHPA supports the proposed amendment to the Constitution and believes that the wording delivers on the mandate of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The final amendment and referendum question are fit for purpose, are legally sound and should not be changed. The Voice needs to be able to speak to both the executive and parliament. Without being able to do so the Voice will not be able to deliver meaningful change. Good health is not evenly distributed across the population, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a disproportionate burden of disease leading to differences in health, wellbeing and longevity. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice is one way that the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be heard, and will help us to journey towards a better, healthier and more equitable Australia.