Prof. Veena Sahajwalla, Inventor and Professor of Materials Science UNSW
As someone from a diverse background myself, I endorse the Voice as it signifies Australia’s commitment to further embracing diversity and inclusion, and listening with our hearts, ultimately benefiting all of us.
Dr Shireen Morris, Director of the Radical Centre Reform Lab and Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University Law School
This is a referendum, not an election. This is not about Labor, Liberal, Greens, One Nation – this is about Australia, about changing the constitution which belongs to all Australians.
Politicians and bureaucrats in Canberra spend a lot of money to make top-down policies about Indigenous communities, which don’t work to close the gap. The Voice isn’t just about recognising Indigenous people, which in itself is symbolically important and unifying, it’s about delivering practical outcomes in a way Indigenous people have asked for.
Mitu Bhowmick Lange AM, Founder and director, Indian Film Festival of Melbourne
I’ll be voting Yes. We all share a desire to eradicate disparities within our society. Our collective aspiration is to witness improved prospects, enhanced quality of life, and brighter futures for Indigenous communities, mirroring the aspirations we held for ourselves when we arrived in this country.
Mala Mehta OAM, Founder of IABBV Hindi School, Sydney
The Voice initiative seeks to rectify historical racial discrimination by acknowledging and empowering Indigenous people, allowing them to finally have a say in their own affairs. As a language advocate and teacher, I’m pleased to see every NESA syllabus is now linked with Indigenous culture and language – we closely link our teaching with this for languages with comparative study. We as migrants thank them for use of their land and acknowledge elders past, present and emerging before every conversation or meeting – while important, it is perhaps more meaningful that we give First Nation people that respect with a Voice in parliament. It is their birthright.
Asha Bhat OAM, CEO of Southern Aboriginal Corporation, Albany WA (seen here with Thomas Mayo, leading Yes advocate)
With less than 2 weeks left before the official polling day, I am voting Yes to a First Nations Voice to Parliament. I have been working in Indigenous Affairs for last 15 years.
By voting ‘Yes’ in the referendum, we could create a pathway for First Nations peoples to communicate directly with the government of the day, resulting in better policy and fewer misdirected resources.
Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of this nation, that in itself is an important thing. It says something about who we are as a nation.
Zaneta Mascarenhas, Member for Swan WA, Australian Federal Parliament
The Voice is our chance to make practical and structural change to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians. It starts with recognition and listening. Recognition of the 65,000 years of culture and traditions to be enshrined in the Constitution. Listening to advice from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about the matters that affect their lives so governments can make better decisions.
Sukhjit Kaur, Artist, Perth
I come from a history of truth-tellers, those that stood up in solidarity for justice, fighting for the rights and freedoms of others. I’m voting Yes not just as a Sikh but as an Australian who was born on stolen land and wants our community to do better. Listening to First Nations people advise on First Nations matters is the bare minimum we can do as Australians.
Pawan Luthra, CEO Indian Link Media Group, Sydney
When I first arrived in Australia 35 years ago, I was shocked to learn Indigenous Australians weren’t recognised in the constitution, and that until the 1960s, they weren’t included in the population count, and didn’t have voting rights. Through the years, I learnt more about the huge gaps in health and education, the separation from culture, the loss of language, and the unresolved trauma that continues to exert a debilitating influence. It’s time to break the cycle. Vote YES.
Molina Asthana, Commercial lawyer, Melbourne
Voting Yes is a no brainer for me both as a migrant and a lawyer. As someone who shares a similar colonial past to our Indigenous people, it is preposterous to even contemplate that being excluded from decision making in your own country is somehow acceptable.
As a lawyer, I want to dispel the myth that voting Yes would somehow take away rights from non-Indigenous people. The ultimate authority to make laws lies with the Parliament and the Voice will only make the process efficient by consulting the people who are impacted in the first instance.
I urge everyone to make your vote count towards creating history.
Charishma Kaliyanda, Member for Liverpool NSW Parliament
I will be voting YES for a Voice to Parliament at the upcoming referendum on 14 October.
Because I want to live in a country that recognises Indigenous Australians in our founding document.
Because when governments listen and consult with local Indigenous communities about matters that affect their lives, they make better decisions.
The idea came directly from Indigenous communities through the Uluru Statement from the Heart – a generous invitation to all Australians to walk with First Nations people.
This is an opportunity to make history together for a better future.
Darshak Mehta OAM, Businessman and philanthropist, Sydney
After 122 years of deliberate deafness, it is time we listened to our First Australians about ideas and issues that directly affect them. It is a really minimalist proposal but it means the world to Indigenous Australians to finally be recognised in our Constitution as the First Peoples of Australia.
Priya Srinivasan, Artistic Director Sangam, Melbourne
It’s time for our communities who are settlers here to support our First Nation brothers and sisters whose lands and rights have been taken from them. It is our duty and responsibility as formerly colonised people to support those who continue to be colonised and have no voice. I vote YES; please do the same!
Dr Sunil Vyas Community leader, Sydney
I am voting yes because all of us, regardless of background, have benefitted from the dispossession and oppression of Indigenous Australians. It is our duty to correct those wrongs and take steps towards reducing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia. That first step starts with a Voice and listening to their communities. It is certainly not a big ask!
Sonia Sadiq Gandhi, Entrepreneur, Sydney
There is a very clear choice in this referendum. And I will be making a very clear choice of a Yes vote. A Yes vote recognises Indigenous Australians in the constitution, listens to their voices about decisions that affect them, and makes a difference by paying respect to 65,000 years of culture and tradition.
Rohini Kappadath, Community leader, Melbourne
Voting yes in the referendum is a crucial step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable Australia – one that acknowledges and respects the unique cultural heritage, knowledge, and traditions of indigenous Australians, the original inhabitants for over 60,000 years prior to colonisation. This moment presents an opportunity for our nation to address historical injustices so that future generations can take pride in our history and shared identity.
Dr Arun Sharma, GP and founder of Celebrate India, Melbourne
It is about time we recognise the original inhabitants of this beautiful land. This referendum presents a unique chance to achieve improved results for Indigenous Australians – to actively engage with and amplify their voices, in a manner that will positively impact the entire nation.
Dya Singh, Renowned musician, Melbourne
A YES vote honours our indigenous peoples as the rightful original inhabitants of this land.
Sanjith Konda-House, Founder Dropout Chaiwala, Melbourne
My absolute vote is YES! For the first time in Australia’s 122-year-old constitution, 65,000 years of Indigenous culture is being acknowledged. Let’s heed the counsel of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on issues that have an impact on their lives in order for governments to make better decisions.
Tarang Chawla, Melbourne-based writer, speaker, activist
I’m voting YES for The Voice because I believe that our country’s Constitution should recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and pay respect to their 65,000 plus years of culture, tradition and connection. The Voice is an invitation from First Nations Elders and this is an opportunity to accept their invitation with grace and move forward united as one. This referendum is an auspicious occasion. Vote YES!
Dr. Harpreet Kandra, Academic and Sikh community leader, Melbourne
I would like to appeal to our multicultural migrants to vote YES. If we want equality in multicultural Australia, if we want to say no to racism, then this is our chance to first give equality to the First Nations Peoples.
Sameer Pandey, Councillor and former Mayor, City of Parramatta
The referendum is a once in a generation opportunity to recognise Indigenous Australians. It’s all very simple, really – it’s about recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our Constitution, it’s about listening, and it’s about a better future for everyone. This is the time to have dialogue and discussions in the community and not spread unfounded fear and misinformation. So I urge everyone to say “Yes” to the referendum and “Yes” to a better future for everyone.
Ateev Dang, Comedian and CEO of Comedy Dhaba, Melbourne
Through Voice we have an opportunity to be part of a conscious process to fix past wrongs, to work with First Nations People and give the nation a practical chance to make a positive change. A No vote sadly does nothing. I hope people from my home country, who work hard here to raise awareness of our culture and tradition, will understand the pain of the Aboriginal community through years of colonisation, and will come together to vote Yes.