Charles Sturt University supports Indigenous Voice to Parliament

21 AUGUST 2023

Charles Sturt University supports Indigenous Voice to Parliament

"We know that we do best on First Nations matters when we genuinely listen to First Nations voices. We believe the same is true for the nation."

The referendum to be held this year is a historic opportunity for Australia to recognise the First Nations people of this continent we now share, home to the world’s oldest continuing civilisation. 

The referendum will ask Australians whether they support a change to the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia and to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. The Voice would be a permanent body of First Nations representatives to give advice to the government and the parliament on laws and policies that affect First Nations peoples.

Charles Sturt University has a proud commitment to respecting First Nations culture and Country. We respectfully acknowledge Country and custodians of the lands where our campuses sit - the Wiradjuri, Ngunawal, Birpai and Gundungurra peoples. We are equally proud of our long history of working and learning with Indigenous people from many Nations beyond our campus footprint, and value the diverse cultural and lived experience of students, staff and community stakeholders. We have built strong relationships through celebrating and embedding Indigenous knowledge and cultures in our teaching, research, and practices.

Through our First Nations Strategy, we are forging a path which commits to genuine and meaningful opportunity for First Nations students, staff, and communities. This same strategy states our determination “to create a culture that delivers a genuine voice for First Nations peoples at Charles Sturt”.

Consistent with our commitment to honouring First Nations ways of knowing, being and doing, Charles Sturt University supports the Voice to Parliament. We know that we do best on First Nations matters when we genuinely listen to First Nations voices. We believe the same is true for the nation.

The Voice is a crucial step towards agency for First Nations Australians. For the first 123 years of our democracy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been largely unheard. This has been both a cause of suffering and inequality, and a stumbling block on the nation’s path to genuine reconciliation. 

Existing policies and programs have not adequately addressed the issues affecting Indigenous Australians. The Productivity Commission recently reported that the nation’s governments are not delivering on promises to “close the gap” of Indigenous disadvantage so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have opportunities and outcomes equal to those of all Australians.

Failure to adequately consult Indigenous Australians on relevant policies and programs has led to government expenditures and actions that have been ineffective or have made the situation worse. A permanent commitment to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice is our nation’s opportunity to change this for the better.

Consistent with Charles Sturt University’s ethos, the Wiradjuri phrase Yindyamarra Winhanganha, the University asks that people engage in discussions about the Voice respectfully and slowly, anchoring their opinions in facts and empathy.

We know there is a diversity of views about the proposed Voice. We respect that people in our university and in our communities will all be seeking to understand the meaning of the referendum and to come to their own view on the proposal. 

We know that First Nations people do not all have a shared view about the Voice, just as other groups or sectors of our society do not always have a single view on issues affecting them. We have sought the views of First Nations staff and of many Indigenous Elders in our footprint. We have listened respectfully, and we continue to listen to their views. 

We have also heard the views of First Nations communities across the nation expressed through the decade-long consultation that led to the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart which advocated for a Constitutionally embedded Voice to Parliament.

If you are uncertain about the origins or the meaning of the Voice referendum, you can find credible information, starting here.

The Voice cannot veto government decisions. It cannot act as a chamber of Parliament. It cannot pass or block laws. Its operations will be governed by laws enacted by the Parliament, in the same way as all other laws under the Constitution.

The Voice is not the only answer to the situation of First Nations peoples, but it is an important step in our national journey towards reconciliation and equality.

We now commit our support to the Voice to Parliament. We believe that the Voice offers a historic opportunity for Australia to heal the wounds of its past and move towards a reconciled, unified future, one in which Indigenous Australians can have a say about their own futures.

Media Note:

For more information please contact Charles Sturt Media Manager David Neil at

Share this article

Share on Facebook Share
Share on Twitter Tweet
Share by Email Email
Share on LinkedIn Share
Print this page Print

All Local News Charles Sturt University