Catherine King

This weekend, in a voting booth, by ourselves, all Australians have a choice to make.

Like you, I will have one vote and one voice. I will be saying yes.

I will be saying yes because I know that when we listen to people we make better decisions.

The simple fact is that we can’t make good decisions about Indigenous Australians without listening to Indigenous Australians. Just like we can’t make good decisions about your regional community without listening to you.

A Voice to Parliament will simply ensure that Indigenous people affected by decisions made about them can tell us what really works in their communities. It will mean more practical solutions that lead to better, more targeted spending and outcomes which often cost less and deliver more.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a beautiful, generous document.

In it, Indigenous Australians make a simple ask of all Australians. They ask for a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution and, through it, they want a better future for their children.

I know that some people are confused about how they should vote, but in making a decision, I ask you to listen to Indigenous Australians in our own community.

If we listen to them, the choice is clear. The Dja Dja Wurrung and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, along with the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative, are united and speak with once voice on this issue. They all say yes. And they ask us to vote yes as well.

This weekend, Australians will either say yes to that better future, or we can say no, locking in more wasted years of the same failed policies and priorities that have burdened too many Indigenous Australians with earlier deaths, lower education and fewer opportunities than other Australians.

In 1967, Australians were presented with a similar choice – and back then we chose to fully include Indigenous Australians within our national community.

In 1967 Indigenous Australians were counted, now they seek to be heard.

It is for the rest of us to take their generous offer, and walk hand in hand towards a better future.

Catherine King is the Federal Member for Ballarat.


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