ANMF supports the yes vote in the upcoming referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
ANMF believes that all people deserve to be consulted about changes that affect us, whether at work or in society – and that by speaking up collectively we can make change that benefits us all.
But right now, politicians too often make policies about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples without hearing from or adequately consulting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As a result, the policies frequently do not work as intended, and the consequences can be devastating. For example, the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are overwhelmingly, and consistently, worse than for non-Indigenous Australians.
In May 2022, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made a commitment to establish an Indigenous Voice to Parliament that is guaranteed by the Australian Constitution.
The Voice to Parliament is a natural reflection of union principles of consultation and collective voice. Enshrining a Voice to Parliament will enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide advice to the Government on policies and projects that impact their lives. Enshrining it in the Constitution will ensure it is permanent and cannot be undone by future governments.
ANMF, as an affiliate of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and Victorian Trades Hall Council, is proud to stand in solidarity with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters in demanding this change.
As the union for nurses, midwives and personal care workers, ANMF believes this change will enable our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters to work with government to better address systemic issues – including those that lead to poorer health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
‘The stakes are very high,’ says the ACTU’s Indigenous Officer Lara Watson, a Birri Gubba woman from Central West Queensland. ‘After 15 years of Closing the Gap reports, we still haven’t managed to lower that percentage. Our child mortality rates are double the national rate, but we’re only three per cent of the population. Our elders are dying before 60. We’ve got kids as young as eight committing suicide. This is the cost: if we don’t get the yes vote up, these issues will continue to get worse.’
Authorised L. Fitzpatrick, Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation, 535 Elizabeth St, Melbourne VIC 3000