First Nations Voice

JRS Australia supports a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice and the Uluru Statement from the Heart

Six years ago, the Uluru Statement of the Heart was issued by First Nations people, as an invitation to the Australian people at large, to walk together in a movement for a better future, including through implementation of its calls for Voice, Treaty and Truth.  

JRS Australia supports the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution, and embraces the generous invitation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, in all of its dimensions and history. 

Australia is home to the oldest living continuous culture in the world. We feel deeply privileged to live and work on Country cared for by First Nations peoples over countless millennia. We honour the riches that this uniquely deep history affords us all. We believe it is critical that this special status be recognised in the Australian Constitution. 

We also endorse, from experience, the well-established principle that, in order to be effective, policies, programs and key decisions must be informed by the voices and expertise of people with lived experience, who will be most affected by them. 

In fulfilling our mission, JRS Australia is privileged to accompany, serve and advocate for and with people seeking asylum, refugees and migrants in situations of vulnerability. Our team, and those whom we serve, derive from culturally and linguistically diverse communities affected by displacement, exclusion and trauma. Many have been welcomed to Australia by First Nations peoples through ceremonies and other acts of solidarity. And many have expressed ardent hopes that a Constitutionally-enshrined Voice be established, and that Australia build pathways towards reconciliation and justice, with accelerated urgency and purpose. Together, we stand in solidarity with First Nations people. Together we are stronger.

It is our earnest hope that the questions, conversations and sentiments that unfold as we proceed towards the referendum, and beyond, enrich us as a nation, guide us to a deeper understanding founded in truth-telling and truth-hearing, and contribute to building a future of right relationships and reconciliation.

As we engage with the matter of a Constitutionally-enshrined First Nations Voice, may we all heed and hold the broader invitation and calls of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

It is our earnest hope that the questions, conversations and sentiments that unfold as we proceed towards the referendum, and beyond, enrich us as a nation, guide us to a deeper understanding founded in truth-telling and truth-hearing, and contribute to building a future of right relationships and reconciliation.

The referendum will take place on 14 October 2023.

We urge any reader who feels uncertain about the referendum to access further information. You may find the following resources helpful, amongst others: