2023 Voice to Parliament Referendum

DCA supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and, along with so many of our member organisations, we worked tirelessly to support the Yes! Campaign for the Voice to Parliament referendum which took place on 14 October 2023. We acknowledge the outcome of the referendum with enormous disappointment and express our ongoing solidarity with First Nations Australians. DCA’s commitment to reconciliation remains strong as we continue to work towards increased unity and understanding to achieve real, tangible outcomes for First Nations peoples. 

Here are the key statements DCA shared post-referendum, informed by our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander External Advisory panel: 

16 October 2023: Statement on the Voice Referendum: A time to pause and reflect 

3 November 2023: Post-referendum, what do we do moving forward?

During the lead-up to the referendum, DCA provided members with tips and resources to learn more about the campaign, how to support it, and how to ensure an inclusive work environment. Many of the resources below remain equally relevant moving forward.

Tips for inclusivity

1. Offer support

  • Offer time and space for people to talk about what they are experiencing, should they choose to, making sure this is optional 
  • Be mindful and sensitive to each individual’s needs: take the time to listen to and support your colleagues, but also respect their choices if they prefer not to discuss, or need space 
  • Ensure your workplace is culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and take action to address workplace racism.
  • Along with your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, please also remember to consider your efforts can extend further to suppliers, customers and the broader networks you interact with. 

2. Recognise and minimise cultural load

  • Recognise identity strain and educate non-First Nations staff about how to interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues in ways that reduce this 
  • Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to engage in self-care, including the freedom to ‘opt out’ of conversations, meetings, and processes 
  • Remember that cultural leave is an important way for organisations to respect and support the cultural needs and responsibilities of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members.   

3. Provide access to resources

  • Provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees with access to Elders, EAPs and counselling services who can create safe spaces 
  • See a comprehensive list of resources below, which you can draw on to inform your work
  • These resources may also help support your external communication, in line with your commitment to diversity and inclusion.

DCA Resources to draw on in your work

Guide for inclusive workplaces

Addressing racism 

Using respectful language 

DCA’s guide #WordsAtWork – Building inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the power of language

Inclusion and flexibility 

Past events to help inform your thinking 

Learn more

All DCA resources on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 

External Resources 

How did people get involved?

Revisit DCA’s past materials on backing the Voice referendum, offering some valuable insights that remain relevant today. We highlighted the following actions that individuals could take.  

We encouraged individuals to have conversations within their community about the Voice. This booklet prepared by From The Heart, as well as FAQs and other educational resources provided support in guiding conversations around the Voice to Parliament.

People were encouraged to attend a Voice event in their area to hear more about why the Voice was so important for First Nations people.

You could sign up as a volunteer or supporter and encourage others to sign up too with Yes23! or become a host for the Together, Yes movement to support campaigning efforts.

Local Yes! Groups saw many people banding together to campaign in their local area.

You could Pledge your Support by signing the ‘I’m Voting Yes’ pledge.

People shared their support on social media, highlighting support for the principle of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people having a say on the laws and policies that affect them. Assets from From The Heart and the Uluru Dialogue were available to help make support visible.

Actions taken by organisations

Councils, organisations and individuals around the country held events for supporters and those who want to learn more about Voice to come together, learn more and get more involved with the campaign.

They were encouraged to roll out training and educational resources. The Uluru Dialogue and From The Heart developed a wonderful online training resource on the Voice to Parliament here and many other educational resources and tools were available for distribution on the Uluru Dialogue, the Reconciliation Australia website and Yes23! website.

To help debunk common myths and misbeliefs about the Voice, this video was made available from Reconciliation Australia for organisations to share with employees. 

Other actions and resources 

Debunking common myths and misconceptions

Video by Reconciliation Australia featuring Shelley Reyes about the Voice to Parliament referendum.