Charles Darwin University supports YES vote for First Nations Voice to Parliament
Charles Darwin University (CDU) will endorse the YES vote in the national referendum into whether Australia should have a First Nations Voice to Parliament.
The decision to endorse the YES campaign was made recently by the University Council and makes a strong statement as to how CDU values First Nations peoples.
CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor First Nations Leadership and Engagement, Professor Reuben Bolt, welcomed the decision and said it was a great move by Council.
“It is imperative that the university ‘of’ and ‘for’ the Northern Territory, publicly endorses and supports First Nations advancement in Australia,” Professor Bolt said.
“It is critical, because the Territory has a strong history of advocacy for First Nations advancement, including the Larrakia petitions, the Barunga Statement, the Yirrkala Bark Petition, and the Walk off at Wave Hill.”
“The Uluru Statement will be written into history as a significant moment leading up to the historic 2023 referendum.”
Advocate for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and author Thomas Mayo signed the statement on Monday.
“The decision for CDU to unequivocally support the Yes campaign is very welcome, especially with its expertise, knowledge and connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their understanding of the challenges we face here in the Northern Territory,” Mr Mayo said.
“Support for the Yes vote is an acknowledgement that the best outcomes for First Nations Australians is when they are involved in the design and implementation of policy and legislation that affects them.”
Mr Mayo has worked on this campaign right across the nation for over six years and congratulates CDU Council, CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman and Professor Bolt for their leadership and vision.
Professor Bowman said the vote aligns with the University’s goals of more First Nation leadership in decision making, and the university had a long history of engagement and respect for First Nations peoples.
“Supporting the YES vote aligns directly with the CDU goal of being recognised as the university for First Nations training, education and research,” Professor Bowman said.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to affect real change for more First Nations peoples in Australian society. CDU has always been a strong advocate for respecting First Nations leadership.”
Professor Bowman invited CDU staff and students to sign the artefact at a ceremony today.
“I invite anyone from the CDU community to sign the statement in support of the YES vote,” he said.
“Whilst we understand that not everyone will be in support of the Yes vote, we do encourage debate that is well informed and respectful.”
CDU is offering a micro-credential course on the Voice which will explain how Australia reached the point of a referendum on the Voice to Parliament, and the function of referendums.