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Statement of support for the Voice to Parliament

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

A statement from our CEO and Founder, Melodie Potts Rosevear:

Yes. The time is now to create a more equitable Australia.

In 2023, there is a momentous opportunity for Reconciliation in Australia. A referendum later this year will ask the nation to vote on altering the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Teach For Australia (TFA) supports this proposed alteration. We hope the nation will overwhelmingly vote “Yes” and help write an empowering and proud new chapter in Australia’s story.

Why TFA says yes

Teach For Australia’s vision is for an Australia where education gives every child greater choice for their future. We work with schools and teachers serving First Nations students and their families, and have a close perspective on the systemic disadvantages that have persisted and constrained for too long.

Teach For Australia’s program participants and Alumni teach thousands of First Nations students each year, and many of those teachers are working, living and learning in First Nations communities. When it comes to decisions that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities, we believe listening to advice, experience and wisdom from people within First Nations community leads to better outcomes. Giving First Nations people a Voice to parliament on matters that affect their communities will help ensure government policies, programs and laws can lead to practical changes and improved outcomes.

As an organisation dedicated to pursuing systemic and structural changes needed for more equitable education outcomes for all children, we recognise the Voice as an opportunity for change that will enshrine a recognised mechanism for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make representations to the Parliament and Executive Government on matters that relate to them, including education.

TFA’s commitment to Reconciliation

We see Reconciliation as integral to the vision Teach For Australia is working towards of educational equity for Australia’s children and young people.

As part of our own continuing journey of learning and unlearning, in 2019 Teach For Australia developed a Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) that included our support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart:

 “Our commitment is whole and heartfelt, and we take these first steps inspired by the final line of the Uluru Statement from the Heart – to walk alongside our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island brothers and sisters in a movement of the Australian peoples for a better future.”

Sharing our support for the Voice is just another practical step Teach For Australia can take to build our organisation’s – and our nation’s – commitment to Reconciliation. While recognising and respecting there are a diversity of views on the Voice within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as well as non-Indigenous communities, Teach For Australia’s support for the Voice is anchored in the Uluru Statement. This unprecedented consensus building project with 250+ First Nations leaders and Regional Dialogues asked for recognition through something practical and simple: a constitutionally-recognised Voice to the nation’s Parliament, which can give First Nations people a say in matters that affect their/our lives and communities.

“When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.”

–       Uluru Statement from the Heart 

The artwork that accompanies this statement was created by the students of Teach For Australia Alumna Carly Farrugia at Yirrkala CEC in the Northern Territory. 

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