ANTaR ACT – Referendum update – Oct 2023

Only a few days to go now, a lot of people have already voted in referendum pre-polling, but the many volunteers are still out there, having conversations, making the case for Yes. This extra newsletter includes final referendum related updates.

This is the time to accept the generous invitation extended by First Nations Australians in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Despite all the difficulties arising in the debate, we are hopeful there will be a Yes vote. Either way, a time of reflection and healing must follow. The debate has highlighted the underlying issues the nation is facing.

Reasons for Yes

ANTaR ACT committee members have been having many conversations about the referendum. As a result, we put together a formal statement of our Reasons for Yes (which we shared in a previous bulletin, including again here). Then we also have some less formal ideas for conversations with people who are unsure.

Here is our summary of the reasons ANTaR ACT committee members have given for voting Yes. For our full statement, see: Reasons for Yes – ANTaR ACT. 

Here are suggestions from our committee member, Janet Hunt, for points that you could use to connect with friends over a coffee or at a pub – when talking to non-Indigenous people who have doubts about the Voice.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people been here thousands of years before us and have had a rough time since we all arrived – imagine if someone took your kids away for no reason? Sent them to school and they never came home?? And it’s no good saying ‘ just move on, it’s like some veterans with PTSD – they can’t “just move on”.
  • And it’s time governments listened to Aboriginal people about what would work to improve things for them – governments have wasted so much money on programs that don’t work because they thought they knew better that the Aboriginal people, and that’s been a failure! Get Aboriginal advice on things that will work to make their lives better – they have many of the solutions but just don’t get funded to implement them.
  • It will be good for us all if their levels of health, employment etc are the same as ours! They’ll be paying more taxes and the costs of their health, and disability care and social security payments will drop. And their lives will be better.
  • Equality doesn’t always mean treat everyone exactly the same e.g. if there’s a shop with steps to get into it we don’t say people with disability have the same access to it as someone who can walk up the steps. We build a ramp! The Voice is the ramp!
  • If governments hadn’t abolished every advisory body the Aboriginal people have had in the past they wouldn’t have insisted it be in the Constitution – that will protect it from being abolished if it gives some advice Governments don’t like.

Yes23 happenings

In person: Volunteers are out at pre-polling stations, as well as making phone calls and door knocking. There are still opportunities to get involved, especially in NSW regions around the ACT. If you can help (or know someone who might) in Tumbarumba, Bombala, Talbingo, Rosewood (call Leanne on 0407 991 854), Hay, Finley (call Toby on 0433 763 317 or Rob 0487 701 000).

Online: You can follow Yes campaign social media pages, and update your profile picture – see details here: Yes23: Generate Your Profile Picture – Selfie generator

Facebook pages to follow: ACT ANTaR | FacebookANTAR | Australia | FacebookYes23 | FacebookThe Uluru Statement from the Heart | Facebook. There are also many community pages set up, sharing experiences and supporting each other through the campaign. These include yes for all | Facebook and Artists for YES! YES!! YES!! | Facebook.

More about the Referendum and the Voice

So many articles – here are just a few. Also see our page for more: Learning about the Uluru Statement and 2023 Referendum – ANTaR ACT.


ANTaR ACT Committee: We welcome anyone to join us in organising activities and discussing current issues at our monthly online meeting. What ever the outcome, the next few months will be a time of reflection and making plans for how to continue to advocate for justice, rights and respect for Australia’s First Peoples – with a particular focus on ACT issues with the election in 2024. Our next meeting is on Monday 13 November at 6pm. Email us at to find out how you can get involved or get a link for our monthly meeting.

 Authorised for ANTaR ACT by Janet Hunt, Dickson, ACT.

 ANTaR ACT wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which Canberra is situated, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We would also like to acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may visit this area.

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