Voice to Parliament

Our position

Community Legal Centres Australia supports the Voice to Parliament and the Yes23 referendum campaign.

Our support is grounded in the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in the community legal sector who participated in our national consultation process over recent months.

It is also grounded in our strong support for the three pillars of the Uluru Statement from the Heart: Voice, Treaty, Truth. We support the Uluru Statement’s call for constitutional reforms to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take their rightful place in their own country. We accept the Uluru Statement’s invitation to walk in ‘a movement of the Australian people for a better future.’

We recognise that the Voice is just one part of our collective journey to a just future and reconciliation within our nation. It is a complement to Treaty and Truth, and to the many other efforts already underway to advance the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We acknowledge the many generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activists who have worked to achieve justice for their peoples and that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

Community Legal Centres Australia recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across this country, and the community legal sector, hold diverse views about the Voice to Parliament and the referendum.

We acknowledge that people, not organisations, will decide the outcome of the referendum. We respect every person’s right to make a self-determined decision about whether to support or oppose the constitutional reform being proposed.
We continue to support all organisations within our membership networks equally and diligently whatever their position on the Voice.

Similarly, community legal services across the continent will continue to provide legal advice and support to people and communities who need it, regardless of their views on the Voice, and however they plan to vote on October 14.

Community Legal Centres Australia knows that the road to the referendum has been long, and challenging. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have borne the heaviest burdens and will continue to do so long after the polling booths have closed.

Whatever the outcome on October 14, we encourage everyone working in or connected to the community legal sector to prioritise care, compassion, and support, for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, friends, and community members.

Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers

We encourage all community legal services in our membership network to consider offering additional supports to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers over the coming months. This could include:

  • Additional paid cultural leave.
  • External culturally appropriate supervision.
  • Safe/autonomous spaces for debriefing and discussion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers.


Referendum information and resources

Australian Electoral Commission resources

Uluru Statement from the Heart

The Uluru Statement

Cultural safety and wellbeing resources and services

13YARN for Indigenous Australians — crisis support line for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people going through a tough time.

Healing Foundation community self-care resources

NSW anti-discrimination board ‘referendum resilience’ resources

Australian Human Rights Commissions, Minimising harm in conversations about the referendum

Connection. Strength. Resilience.

Pause. Breathe. Connect.

Constitutional law resources

Indigenous Constitutional Law blog National Native Title Council preliminary advice regarding any affect of the proposed Voice to Parliament on First Nations sovereignty

Some First Nations perspectives on the referendum

A heart-felt plea for Australians to support the Indigenous Voice to parliament referendum — Thomas Mayo

Will the Indigenous Voice to Parliament have enough power to effect change? — Teela Reed, Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts and Taylah Gray

I remain undecided on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. And I’m exhausted — Celeste Liddle

If the choice is between Treaty or Voice, I say Treaty — Michael Mansell

Your Constitution was designed to erase us. Your token Voice does not empower us — Lidia Thorpe

Descendants of Pinjarra massacre survivors hope Voice to Parliament brings healing, truth-telling — Cheryl Martin, Clarry Walley and John Michael