The ANMF, along with over 40 Victorian and national health organisations – including the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and several Aboriginal health organisations – has signed a statement of support for the Voice to Parliament. You can read the full statement below.
On Sunday 24 September, Branch Assistant Secretary Madeleine Harradence joined several ANMF members, as well as representatives from numerous other health organisations, at Cohealth in Collingwood to release the results of a survey of healthcare workers about the Voice.
The survey revealed that the vast majority – 80 per cent – of health workers think the Voice will make a positive difference to the health of Aboriginal peoples; that greater involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in developing health policy will improve health outcomes.
The survey was completed by nurses and midwives as well as GPs, surgeons, psychologists, dentists, Aboriginal health workers and allied health professionals, who work at over 75 different organisations including a mix of public, private and community-based health organisations.
Following the survey, ANMF joined numerous leading health organisations in Victoria in signing a Statement of Support that outlines the health benefits we believe will come from having an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
‘80 per cent of Aboriginal people want the Voice; 80 per cent of health workers want the Voice. We hope that come referendum day, 80 per cent of all Australia supports the Voice.’ – Jill Gallagher, CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
Other organisations signing the Statement include the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, First Peoples Health and Wellbeing, Western District ACCO Collective (eight Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisations) and multiple community health organisations, primary health networks and other public health organisations. See the full list of signatories below.
‘Every day, nurses and midwives see the benefits of involving Aboriginal people in decisions about their health,’ Ms Harradence said at the event. ‘I know from my own experiences as a nurse, giving Aboriginal patients and colleagues respect and autonomy around health decisions leads to better health outcomes. A Voice is a simple but effective measure to combating the disparity we know exists in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.’
Jill Gallagher AO, the chief executive of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, said ‘Government works best when it is listening. The Voice will connect the communities we serve with the national government making decisions.’
She concluded by reiterating that ‘80 per cent of Aboriginal people want the Voice; 80 per cent of health workers want the Voice. We hope that come referendum day, 80 per cent of all Australia supports the Voice.’
Health Statement for the Voice
As leaders in health throughout Victoria, we declare our support for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
On a daily basis, we see the outcomes achieved when we involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in making decisions about their health. In our regions, we know the benefits of involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when designing new health services. Across Victoria, we have long understood how health policy is improved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are around the table working with us. The Voice will connect the communities we serve with the national government making decisions.
Health professionals feel the impact that policies about children and families, about education and housing, about jobs and transport, have on the wellbeing of people. The Voice will be able to represent the distinct experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to inform policy in all of these areas, leading to significant improvements to health and wellbeing.
The Voice is an opportunity to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia. The Voice is an opportunity to respect the role that they have had in living on and caring for this country. The Voice is an opportunity to bring forth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture to become a visible part of Australia.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout Australia will feel the health and wellbeing benefits of being recognised, respected and valued.
The Voice is a chance to gain 60,000 plus years of wisdom that will enhance our understanding of health and wellbeing, and advance how we care for all people in Australia.
As leaders in health, we believe the Voice will make a difference and hope Australia votes yes.
Organisations signing the Statement of Support for the Voice are:
- Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
- Access Health and Community
- Australian Nursing Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch)
- Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer
- Australian Health Promotion Association- Vic Tas Branch
- Banyule Community Health Service
- Better Health Network
- Cancer Council Victoria
- Diabetes Victoria
- DPV Health
- Eastern Melbourne PHN
- First Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing
- Food for Health Alliance
- Gateway Health
- Gippsland Lakes Complete Health
- Gippsland PHN
- GLOBE (Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition)
- Grampians Community Health
- Health & Community Services Union
- Institute for Health Transformation
- IPC Health
- Latrobe Health Advocate
- McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer
- Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
- Murray PHN
- National Ageing Research Institute
- North West Melbourne PHN
- Public Health Association of Australia- Victoria
- South East Melbourne PHN
- Sunbury and Cobaw Community Health
- Translational Research Institute
- Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) Alliance
- Victorian Healthcare Association
- Western District ACCO Collective (8 Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisations)
- Western Victoria PHN
- Women’s Health East
- Women’s Health Goulburn North East
- Your Community Health
Note: Public health services, such as major hospitals, participated in the survey but are unable to publicly declare support for the Voice due to Victorian Public Sector Commission guidance regarding neutrality.