Ipswich City Council has voted to formally support the proposed Constitutional amendment to recognise the Voice of our First Nations peoples and extensively promote and support the constitutional referendum this year.
The Australian Government is moving to recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament by a constitutional amendment.
That proposal will be put to the Australian people through a referendum later this year.
A Notice of Motion was put forward by Division 2 Councillor Paul Tully, and seconded by Division 3 Councillor Andrew Fechner, at council’s ordinary meeting of 22 June that:
“Ipswich City Council formally support the proposed Constitutional amendment to recognise ‘The Voice’ of our First Nations peoples following ‘The Uluru Statement from the Heart’ of 2017 and extensively promote and support the Constitutional Referendum, across the City of Ipswich as determined in the 2023-2024 Budget.”
The motion was voted in the affirmative by Councillors Madsen, Tully, Doyle, Fechner, Kunzelmann, Milligan and Jonic, and voted in the negative by Mayor Harding and Cr Ireland.
Council has taken significant steps to ensure local Traditional Owners and the Indigenous community have a “voice” to council on its policies, processes and decision-making, through the establishment of an Indigenous Accord and Indigenous Accord Working Group.
“Few would dispute the need for much better outcomes for First Nations people in our country.” Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said.
“It is my personal view that council’s Indigenous Accord Working Group should have been consulted before council formed a position. I also don’t think it is the role of councils to pre-empt or influence the outcome of a referendum, nor should councils spend ratepayer funds on an Australian Government referendum.
“While Ipswich City Council will formally support the Voice, it is not a directive on how to vote, it will be a position to assist with informing residents on the issue.”
Prior to the vote, councillors had a briefing from the Uluru Dialogue, a group of First Nations people from across Australia who have the mandate of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The Australian Government’s Voice website is here.