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Why the Voice is doctors’ business

Why the Voice is doctors’ business

DEA supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a creation of First Nations Australians.  

The recognition and representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the Voice, enshrined in the Constitution, will enable the Australian government and people to hear more clearly the needs of First Nations peoples. 

The Voice will empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have a say on policies, laws and decisions that affect them, and this will contribute to better healthcare and better health outcomes.  

Australia’s First Nations peoples have seen the failures of Government to provide culturally safe healthcare. We as doctors are aware of the role of medical systems in perpetuating structural racism and acknowledge our responsibility in mitigating this harm. 

First Nations communities are on the frontline of climate change impacts, including water insecurity, heat, drought, desertification, bushfires, cyclones and storms, and rising sea levels. Additionally, the mining and production of fossil fuels close to Indigenous communities risks cultural, spiritual, physical and environmental health. For example, fracking pollutes water, air and land, and groundwater over-extraction leaves communities with reduced freshwater supplies. 

The inequity and injustice suffered by Indigenous Australians can only be addressed by a shared commitment to listen to their voices.  

The Uluru Statement was developed through 12 dialogues across Australia over two years, which culminated in the Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017, attended by over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

The Uluru Statement from the Heart invites all Australians to work together to create a better future, through constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Voice to Parliament. The Voice in essence is a powerful call to action- for all Australians to walk together and co-design a future in which all Australians can flourish. 

DEA urges members, supporters and other health professionals to vote Yes in the upcoming referendum on the Voice. We believe it will improve the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It will also help heal our nation.