460 directors of organisations, large and small, have joined together to stand with the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to support the Voice ahead of the 2023 referendum later this year.
‘Directors for the Voice’ launched nationally on Monday 28 August with full page advertisements in the Australian Financial Review, The Australian, metropolitan mastheads and on social media. Headlined ‘The Voice: It’s Everyone’s Business’, it lists 460 names of directors who want to publicly support the Voice, with more continuing to join.
Ming Long, a non-executive director and the campaign’s co-organiser said, “It is rare for directors to put themselves out there personally with such unity. Many individual directors feel deeply about this issue and have wanted an avenue to express their strong support in their personal capacity.”
Directors participating in the campaign are a highly diverse group representing the broader Australian community. The group includes Indigenous directors and diversity across gender, race, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic background, geographic location and political leanings. The directors are involved in industries ranging from social enterprises to listed and private companies, large and small businesses, and not-for-profit organisations.
“Participating directors range from a pensioner, to a retired school principal, to landowners and a country pub owner, through to publicly listed company directors. It is a true community coalition united in support of the Voice at a vital point in our nation’s history and future,” Ms Long said.
“This is our moment in history to set our country on a more inclusive course,” she said.
Nora Scheinkestel, a non-executive director and campaign co-organiser said: “As directors, our role is to challenge, reflect and do due diligence on issues before us. Those who have joined our campaign have done just that.”
“We know that consultation leads to better outcomes. Our best chance of ‘closing the gap’ in critical areas such as life expectancy, educational outcomes, housing and employment lies in giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a say on laws and policies that seek to address these issues and will impact them.”
“The referendum is about two key things: first, recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Despite entrenched disadvantage, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have enriched our lives in areas as diverse as art, music, sport and land management. Recognition is way overdue. And secondly, it’s about providing a way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to provide advice to Parliament and government on matters affecting them.”
“We encourage all Australians to seize the opportunity before us. Let’s accept the invitation to work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to make Australia a better, more equitable and inclusive society,” Dr Scheinkestel said.