A Voice to Parliament: Responding to the Uluru Statement From the Heart
Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) supports constitutional recognition of First Nations Peoples through a Voice To Parliament as articulated by the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The invitation of this Statement, and the upcoming constitutional referendum, is to embrace the calls of our First Nations Peoples for a just future, a means of recognition and a way forward for healing and learning together. CSSV also recognises a Voice to Parliament as a step – with truth telling and treaty also being vitally important in the broader work of reconciliation. We have an opportunity to make meaningful reparation for the past and to build a better future – in this moment, it is the offer of a constitutional referendum to decide upon a Voice to the Australian Parliament. In 1986 Pope John Paul ll addressed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples pronouncing “Certainly, what has been done cannot be undone. But what can now be done to remedy the deeds of yesterday must not be put off till tomorrow.” Let’s not wait another moment. See below for more information about the Voice and how to be involved.
CSSV has released a statement on it’s position on the Voice to Parliament – Relentlessly Pursuing Reconciliation. This statement can be downloaded below.
‘A Letter to My Grandchildren’ – Vicki Clark, OAM
Vicki Clark OAM is a CSSV Life Member. She shared a letter to her grandchildren at a joint Garratt Publishing and Opening The Doors Foundation event on the upcoming referendum. Vicki’s letter is addressed to her grandchildren to be read in 2040 reflecting on the significance of the referendum’s outcomes and her hopes for the future.
Voice to Parliament Resources
The following are some useful resources in learning more about a Voice to Parliament:
- Read the Uluru Statement from the Heart
- Common Grace – Listen to the Heart: Christians for Voice and Justice
- From the Heart – campaign for a Voice to Parliament
- Reconciliation Australia – Support a Voice to Parliament
- Australian and Torres Strait Islander Voice
- ABC News Video Lab – Everything you need to know about the Voice (13 minute video explaining what the 2023 Referendum involves)
- Garratt Publishing and Opening the Doors Foundation Webinar: An Indigenous Voice to Parliament (video) featuring Fr Frank Brennan SJ and Vicki Clark OAM, founder of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Victoria and CSSV Life Member
Catholic perspectives on reconciliation and a Voice to Parliament:
- Address of John Paul ll to the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in Blatherskite Park, November 1986
- Br Brian Price, Walking with Australia’s Indigenous requires listening with the heart, November 2019
- Catholic Religious Australia – submission to the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart’s request for an Indigenous Voice that is protected in the Constitution, April 2021
- Australian Catholic Bishops Conference endorsement of the Uluru Statement – Bishops endorse Uluru Statement from the Heart, November 2021
- Archbishop Peter Comensoli on the Uluru Statement – Uluru statement offers gift of grace to our nation, June 2022
- Plenary Council – Reconciliation: Healing Wounds, Receiving Gifts, July 2022
CSSV’s Reconciliation Vision
The Council and Members of Catholic Social Services Victoria acknowledge and celebrate that our engagement throughout Victoria takes place on the sacred land and waterways of the many cultural groups of the Aboriginal Peoples of Victoria. For tens of thousands of years these lands and waterways have been cared for under cultural lore and customs.
Australia’s First Peoples have never ceded sovereignty and are the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent. We acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People have suffered personal harm, cultural dislocation and dispossession since colonisation.
This past has resulted in First Nations Peoples becoming one of the most disadvantaged peoples within our society and we are committed to action to close this gap.
Righting the wrongs of dispossession requires a commitment to truth telling about the past so justice, equity and reconciliation can be experienced by all peoples of Victoria.
We commit ourselves to listen and walk with the First Peoples in the true spirit of Makarrata: coming together after this long painful struggle for recognition, true justice and full flourishing for all Australians.
…the Church herself in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others. Pope St John Paul II, Alice Springs 29 November 1986 Adopted by Council at Catholic Social Services Victoria, October 2018Pope St John Paul II, Alice Springs 29 November 1986
Adopted by Council at Catholic Social Services, October 2018