Acknowledgement of Country and recognition of Australian First Nations traditional owners and cultures
Charles Darwin University (CDU) is Australia’s first dual sector university and the only university based in the Northern Territory – a land mass that spans approximately one sixth of Australia, and yet is home to just one percent of the population, of whom 30% are First Nations people.
Charles Darwin University acknowledges and respects the many Australian First Nations traditional custodians of the lands upon which our campuses and centres are located including the Larrakia, Arrernte, Jawoyn, Wardaman, Dagoman, Kundjey’mi, Warumungu, Mirrarr, and the Kungarakan, Anindilyakwa, Tiwi and Yolŋu nations of the Northern Territory where our heart and home lies. We also acknowledge and pay our respects to the Gadigal, Turrbal, Yuggera, Woiworung, Kaurna and Whadjuk beyond the Northern Territory.
We acknowledge Australian First Nations peoples’ long tradition of sustaining their communities and environments over thousands of years. They are the first educators and first innovators. They are the holders of knowledge that makes an important contribution to the improvement of our local, national and global communities. We extend our respect to Elders - past, present and emerging - and to all First Nations people.
Charles Darwin University supports a Voice to Parliament
The 2023 national referendum into whether Australia should have a First Nations Voice to Parliament will become a key moment in our Nation’s history. It is a once in a generation opportunity to vote on having First Nations Australians recognised in the Australian Constitution. This important question will be answered by the Australian people.
Charles Darwin University will provide a platform for discussion and the exchange of well-informed ideas and points of view, that can be shared, debated and explored in a safe and respectful manner. We encourage everyone to listen, learn, and ask questions.
We understand and respect that not everyone will support the University’s stance.
We are deeply mindful of the cultural load that people may carry and acknowledge that for some this may be a difficult personal time. We ask that all conversations are mindful of the impact this topic may have on people around them.
We encourage everyone to undertake this conversation with courage, kindness, leadership and openness in mind.
CDU’s statement of support reinforces the significance of our strategic vision of being Australia’s most connected university by being courageous, and making a difference in the Northern Territory, Australia and beyond.
Our position in supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart aligns with our CDU values of leadership, courage, openness and kindness.
CDU’s Statement of Support
Charles Darwin University unequivocally supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We recognise that constitutional recognition of First Nations peoples is the decent thing to do and is a critical step in righting many of the past wrongs that are so deeply entrenched in our history.
We acknowledge the impact of colonisation on First Nations peoples' autonomy, agency, culture and identity, and advocate a Voice to Parliament as a critical first step to achieving reconciliation that reflects a truly Australian democracy, yet upholds First Nations self-determination.
A referendum is a once in a generation occurrence, and so we must realise that this historical moment has afforded us an opportunity to influence the very fabric of the national identity and what it truly means to be Australian; a national consciousness that respects, advocates and defends its interests, including those that are First Nations focussed.
We therefore stand together with First Nations communities and support their lead. We recognise that achieving a YES vote in the upcoming referendum is critical for First Nations advancement, for them to have direct input into decisions made about them and for the Nation to heal as one.
Whilst we understand that people hold different views, we encourage and welcome discussion and debate that is well-informed, honest and respectful.
Opportunities to learn and engage
CDU will host a program of events to facilitate discussion and the sharing of information, including a lecture, a student debate and a discussion panel amongst others.
Details and dates will be shared over the coming weeks.
CDU Voice to Parliament lecture
Join CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor of First Nations Leadership and Engagement, Professor Reuben Bolt and CDU Dean of Law Dr Alan Berman, as they co-present on the Voice to Parliament.
Dr Alan Berman, will address the process to enshrine a First Nations Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution, including what is the Constitution, what is a referendum, how does a referendum work, and how does a referendum succeed.
Professor Bolt will address what the First Nations Voice to Parliament means to many First Nations peoples and the importance of understanding the cultural load and impact it has on First Nations peoples.
Hear from our students as they hash out arguments for and against the Voice to Parliament.
Hear from local thinkers and academics about the current issues relating to the Voice and the forthcoming 2023 Referendum.
From the Heart – Indigenous Constitutional Recognition through a Voice
Free 15-minute module that educates and quizzes you on the Voice.
Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Voice – Australian Government
The official Australian Government site explaining what's been proposed, who is involved in the First Nations Referendum Working Group, the wording of the referendum question and constitutional amendment as well as news updates and resources.
2022 Reconciliation Australia Barometer – Reconciliation Australia
A national research survey—conducted every two years—that looks at the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians, and how perceptions affect progress towards reconciliation.
The Voice Design Principles – The Uluru Statement
The First Nations Voice is the first proposal within the landmark Uluru Statement from the Heart, which forms the basis for the upcoming referendum. This website provides a comprehensive overview of its development, design principles, the dialogues and other useful educational resources.
The official Yes campaign website of the Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition.
Together, Yes invites people from all walks of life to gather in small group discussions and engage in an honest reckoning of the harm and injustice of our colonial past; Australia’s history of constitutional indifference; and how a Voice to parliament can make a difference.
The official campaign website of the Voice No Case committee, offering an alternative proposal and led by former chairman of the Indigenous Advisory Council Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO.
Led by Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, Fair Australia is campaigning against the Voice believing it to be 'divisive, dangerous, expensive and not fair'.
Non-profit organisation promoting discussion of recognising Indigenous Australians through an extra-constitutional declaration. Prominent board members include former Minister for Indigenous Australians The Hon Ken Wyatt AM and constitutional lawyer Professor Greg Craven AO who co-authored a centre-right approach to hearing Indigenous voices.
First Nations Leadership
Indigenous Leadership and Regional Outreach, is an Aboriginal led Portfolio uniquely dedicated to Indigenous capacity building, including in Indigenous research and in our community engagement.Find out more