ARC Justice supports the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart in full, in which First Nations peoples called for constitutional recognition and the establishment of a Voice to parliament, and Makarrata (or Treaty) as the ‘coming together after a struggle’. The Voice is the means chosen by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, after careful and longstanding deliberation of the options available. It would enable practical and informed representations to be made to government on matters relating to First Nations people. The Voice has no decision-making power but gives its views to ensure government makes more informed decisions on policies, programs and laws impacting the lives of First Nations people.

As a human rights organisation in central and northern Victoria we live and work on Aboriginal lands and we honour and respect all First Nations people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the First Peoples of Australia, with the oldest living culture in the world, who have acted as custodians of this land for more than 60,000 years. Postcolonial rule has wrought havoc on our First Peoples, with laws and policies leading to dispossession, families torn apart and the denial of cultural practices. Social and political disempowerment is a direct result of governance that historically sidelined First Nations voices in issues which directly affect their communities’ lives. This must change.

ARC Justice exists so that rights are known and acted up, and communities are fairer. Australians own the Constitution, and the referendum is an opportunity to have your views directly heard through a democratic process. Find out more about the process for a referendum here. As an advocacy and rights organisation, we see the impact of government policies on people’s lives on a daily basis. Better informed policies leads to better decisions and outcomes on the ground. To find out more about how policy impacts daily lives, read on here.

We ask that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are consulted and heard on issues which affect them, and that the various perspectives of our nation’s First Peoples be considered when making law and policies. We support the Voice, we support Treaty (Makarrata), and we support Truth. In this way we can accept the invitation by First Nations peoples to walk together to build a better future for us all.

About ARC Justice

ARC Justice provides legal, advocacy and support services to people in Central and Northern Victoria. Our vision is an inclusive society where individual agency and community wellbeing is enhanced through equal access to and understanding of the legal system. We work with our community in regional and rural Victoria who experience disadvantage relating to their housing, family, relationship, consumer, economic, social and civil rights.