A statement on the Referendum

GML Heritage is troubled and perplexed by the deeply uncomfortable result of the Voice to Parliament referendum. The nation’s fault lines have opened to expose deep fissures in what we as a nation believe and hope for.

The honest reckoning with our past has been overwhelming rejected, as has the gracious and eloquent request for a First Nations voice enshrined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The majority of Australians have said no to a modest change that would have enabled First Nations peoples to advise Parliament on matters of direct concern to them.

In the words of Dean Parkin, the director of the Yes23 campaign, ‘All we have wanted is to join with you, our Indigenous story, our Indigenous culture, not to take away or diminish what it is that you have, but to add to it, to strengthen it, to enrich it.”

Our hearts are with the First Nations peoples who are mourning the referendum outcome.

We acknowledge that this result will be felt by First Nations Australians for generations to come and offer our support to First Nations colleagues and friends, organisations we work with, and their communities.

The result has demonstrated that there is much work to be done and that the road up ahead will be just as hard as it has been to here.

With First Nations peoples, GML will strengthen its efforts to gather, support and participate in truth-telling so that we can demonstrate our continuing commitment to recognition and respect.

We will continue to elevate and listen to the perspectives and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, to promote reconciliation and the self-determination rights of First Nations peoples.

We hope that once again we can be on the path to a better future for Australia.


Image: AAP/National Gallery of Australia.

Unlike the 1967 referendum when over 90% of people voted ‘yes’, the 14 October 2023 Voice referendum was a resounding ‘no’ to a request for improved recognition and a constitutional right to speak directly to Parliament.  The 1967 referendum result was momentous, counting Australians together to change the nation for the better. More than 50 years on it seems we chose to go backwards with our eyes wide shut.