Victoria’s Treaty Assembly backs national Voice to Parliament 

Mar 17, 2023

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria supports all elements of the Uluru Statement from the Heart – Voice, Treaty, Truth – and has been working hard to advance all three in Victoria. 

The Assembly, as the democratic and collective Voice for our people in Victoria, has been able to establish a truth-telling process and now Treaty is firmly within our reach. 

We want all First Peoples around the country to also experience the benefits that come from pursuing Voice, Treaty, Truth. 

As such, Assembly Members have voted to support the proposal for an Aboriginal and Torres Stair Islander Voice to be enshrined in the Constitution of the Commonwealth. The Assembly will be sharing information and raising awareness and will encourage people to vote YES in the upcoming referendum.  

Any step forward that gives First Peoples a greater say in the decisions that affect our lives, is an important step worth taking to secure better outcomes for First Peoples. 

What this means in practice 

With its extensive community engagement program, the Assembly is well-placed to help First Peoples in Victoria better understand the proposal and make sure their views help inform the design and development of the Voice. Our Community is not a homogenous group and it is important various views are heard and can help shape the journey.

We’re also well-placed to help explain to the broader Victorian public the benefits that come from ensuring First Peoples have a say on the decisions that affect our communities, our culture and our Country. 

How we came to this decision 

Since our establishment in 2019, the Assembly has successfully been pursuing Voice, Treaty and Truth in Victoria. We recognise that we have a unique contribution to make to efforts to replicate our success on a national level. 

Voice gets us one step closer to Treaty – both nationally and here in Victoria. 

We have a positive and bold reform agenda for Treaty in Victoria that will put First Peoples in the driver’s seat. Helping to build public support for a YES vote for the referendum, will only continue to boost public support for Treaty in Victoria.  

Senator Pat Dodson, Chair of Joint Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, attended our Assembly Meeting last week and answered the remaining questions our elected Members had about the Voice. 

Importantly, he confirmed that all advice has clearly stated that the Voice would not impact sovereignty. This is Aboriginal land. 

The Senator also reassured Members that the Assembly would have a say in the design and creation of the Voice and have ample opportunity to ensure Community views are heard. Members expressed their desire to ensure the National Voice builds on the Assembly’s work and structure as the self-determined representative body for First Peoples in Victoria. 

Following the Q and A session with the Senator and a subsequent discussion, Assembly Members voted to formally endorse the YES vote in the upcoming referendum. 

Next steps 

Our current focus remains on the Assembly Elections to be held in May and June – to provide First Peoples in Victoria with the opportunity to choose the people who will negotiate the statewide Treaty. 

However, in the second half of the year, in conjunction with our work preparing for Treaty negotiations, the Assembly will become increasingly active in encouraging people to vote YES in the referendum. 

Walk with us

If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in or from Victoria, enrol with the Assembly to show your support and have your say in our Elections.

If you are an ally, register here.