National Reconciliation Week’s call for all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in their everyday lives is a timely reminder that we all have a role to play in creating a stronger, more equitable country. Supporting a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament will also support shaping a society in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians can join together, acknowledging the past and looking to the future, says Jesuit Social Services.

“The theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week is Be a Voice for Generations, which invites us all to reflect on the work we can do now to strengthen reconciliation to benefit current and future generations,” says Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards.

“At Jesuit Social Services, we have a vision for reconciliation where we walk alongside each other with mutual respect and shared learning, and where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enjoy the same health and social outcomes as the rest of society. National Reconciliation Week is a reminder that we can all use our power, words and actions to create a better, more just Australia for all of us.”

Jesuit Social Services recently released a position statement in support of a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.

“Jesuit Social Services has endorsed the supported the Uluru Statement from the Heart, including its calls for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament, since it was presented to the Australian people in 2017. Our position statement reiterates our belief that the establishment of the Voice would be a welcome step towards justice and reconciliation,” says Ms Edwards.

“We believe that voting ‘yes’ in the Referendum later this year will enable all Australians to commit ourselves to shape a nation that makes reparations for past and present wrongs, works towards closing the gap, and makes a lasting difference in the lives of its people.”

Ms Edwards says a critical factor in working towards reconciliation is acknowledging and resourcing the empowerment and self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to support improved outcomes for their peoples.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community-controlled organisations should be adequately supported to identify and implement what is needed to give their people every chance to flourish. Our position statement acknowledges that continuing investment to implement the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap is critical, and that Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations must be resourced to meet the needs of their communities.

“All Australians can play a role in working towards a society where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities can flourish. We believe the establishment of a Voice to Parliament will make a difference in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to determine their own lives, and working towards the type of society we want to be part of.”

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