Garma Speech: Statements on the Voice to Parliament

Position statements

Prime Minister Albanese’s speech in Garma has re-affirmed the Labor government’s commitment to implementing key reforms of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.  

The speech set out a clear path and intention to establish a Constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament through a referendum.  

Along with the Makarrata truth–telling commission, Voice to Parliament is a central recommendation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and of critical importance. 

DCA supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart. DCA also supports the proper recognition of the unique status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our country’s history and of ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are central in any discussions around recognition and reconciliation. 

Members of DCA’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander External Advisory Panel share their statements as Australia moves towards making this a reality.

Statement from Kate Russell 

Awabakal (NSW) 
DCA Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander External Advisory Panel Chair 
DCA Board Director 
Director Business Operations, Department of Regional NSW 

“Like many First Nations people I had a visceral reaction to the Prime Minister's speech at Garma. It stirred in me a feeling of hope, of progress, that we are being heard. His speech did more than just propose wording, it signaled that we are really being heard, and that this government might be different. 

“We've had empty words and broken promises. But we have now seen a clear path to establishing a Voice to Parliament. This means we are closer than we have ever been to achieving a change to the Constitution; a necessary and overdue change that will allow our communities to better inform the policy issues most important to us.” 

Statement from Thomas Mayor  

Zenadth Kes (TSI) 
Northern Territory Branch Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia 

 “The Prime Minister’s contribution at Garma was welcome. He has provided the opposition, public commentators and the Australian public with the shape and direction needed for the national conversation. 

“We should all start working for a “yes” vote now. We must reach out to those who are yet to learn about the nation-building opportunity ahead. In a representative democracy, we should understand the importance of having a Voice – as workers do through their unions; business and industry through associations; and the Australian people ourselves through the Australian parliament.” 

Statement from Dennis Batty  

Taungurung (VIC)
Gunai/Kurnai (VIC)
Executive Director, Indigenous Employment Partners Ltd 

 “Prime Minister Albanese’s words to those attending Garma felt powerful and affirming.  However, the red dust of Gulkula is far removed from the green hills of Ngambri and those attending Garma do not inhabit the halls and chambers of Australia’s Parliament.   

“As First Nations Australians we should celebrate the number of First Nations Australians in this current Parliament. These people represent their constituents and their political parties providing red voices, blue voices and green voices providing a diverse range of First Nations views and perspectives.  

“A voice to Parliament, whatever its final framework, provides a black voice increasing opportunities for greater diversity of viewpoints to assist parliament when it is crafting policies and legislations which directly impact the lives of First Nation Australians.” 

Read more: Constitutional Recognition and the Uluru Statement from the Heart 

Join the conversation

* Required information