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Byron Shire
June 2, 2023

Referendum Yarn Up

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Was disappointed when I heard the Prime Minister’s Garma speech on the Voice referendum. 

I was concerned that the Voice committee facilitation will be embedded with the elected parliament, rather than constitutionally enshrined under the Voice committee’s management. But considering the contention on even just putting this federal Aboriginal representative committee in place, this pragmatic referendum proposal is a worthy first step, that does honour the Uluru Statement’s three elements of Voice, Treaty, Truth. 

Not sure why some propose rejecting the Voice to instead move straight to a Treaty. The Voice committee, drawing representatives from the various Aboriginal mobs, would seem the best way to progress the naysayers’ Treaty negotiations. And with most of the Close The Gap proposals failing, the Voice committee will immediately have the ear of government to initiate proposals, and to advise on what is working and what isn’t. 

The Uluru Statement is an outstretched hand for Australians of immigrant backgrounds to take, to walk together with Aboriginal people in respectfully integrating the fairly new 235 years bit into this country’s 60,000-year history. The Byron Shire’s reconciliation groups are holding a Referendum Yarn Up on Sunday, 28 May, from 11am to 3pm in Railway Park, Byron Bay. There will be current referendum information sheets, a banner painting (put your handprint on this Shire’s referendum support!), and we will kick off with The Big Voice Choir singing up reconciliation, including ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’. Let’s grow Australia’s reconciliation BIG, with this little referendum thing! 

John Lazarus, Byron Bay 

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