Dear Editor,

The Salvation Army is one of the biggest providers of social services in Australia. We are a pragmatic movement, not really into empty gestures or performative virtue signalling. I don’t think in our 140-year history in Australia that we have ever been called “elites”.

But we do support the Voice.

We support the Voice, simply, because we believe it will make a difference.

For 140 years, the Salvos have rolled up their sleeves and helped where we can. We started small by assisting discharged prisoners at the prison gates in Melbourne and now we provide over 2,000 services across every state and territory in Australia. We support people experiencing homelessness, family and domestic violence, financial hardship, unemployment, substance use disorders, social isolation and loneliness, and help them recover from natural disasters.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented in almost every service we deliver – and that’s why we support a Voice.

There is no escaping the fact that what we are doing right now, as a nation, is not working.

The Salvos will always do what we can on the ground, but the issues we see are deeper; they are structural and systemic. We believe the only way to practically address the hardship experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is to change how the government makes and carries out policy. We believe the best way to do that is to actually listen to the people affected – to give them a voice.

Not everyone agrees with us on this and that’s okay. We just ask that people respectfully consider, before they decide on October 14: “Will the Voice make a difference for people who really need help?”

We think the answer is a resounding yes.

Captain Stuart Glover
The Salvation Army Australia