By Tanya Plibersek

17 September 2023





I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of this land, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and pay my respect to their elders past and present.

​And I extend that respect to every Indigenous leader in Australia who has fought for recognition and the Voice, over many years and many decades.

​You’ve led the way forward with bravery and strength. And it’s our honour to walk with you today.

​We’re in a special place.

​Redfern. Just four kilometres from ground zero – where Arthur Phillip first stuck a flag in the ground and claimed this vast land for King George.

​Redfern. Just two kilometres down Elizabeth Street to the Australian Hall – the site of the first Day of Mourning in 1938. A demand for acknowledgement and the seed that led to the 1967 referendum.

​Redfern. Where Paul Keating asked us to imagine “how would I feel if this had been done to me?” And he asked us to recognise “how much we have lost by living so far apart.”

​I’ve had the honour of representing this place in parliament for many years.

​And in that time I have seen real leadership and real solutions.

​Our leaders know their community. And they know how to deliver.

​This is where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led services were born.

​The first Aboriginal Legal Service. The first Aboriginal Medical Service.

​Aged care, family and youth services, employment programs, men’s and women’s groups.

​Based on the principals of self-determination.

​That’s why these services work. They improve health, reduce crime, keep kids in school, and give local people more opportunities and hope.

​But they come at a cost to the women and men who have to fight every time for that basic right to determine their path: nothing about me without me.

​What if we finally acknowledged that the people most likely to have the solutions for their own lives should be empowered to design and deliver those solutions?

​And that’s what the Voice will help us do.

​It will advise parliament on the fundamental issues – like health care, aged care, housing and education and employment.

​And so it will lead to more effective solutions.

​We’re being asked to do something both simple and profound:

​To recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Australians in our constitution.

To set up a body that will help us listen to their communities.

And to use that Voice to deliver better results and better lives.

​In one month’s time we can vote yes.

​Vote yes to recognition.

​Vote yes to reconciliation.

​Vote yes to listening.

​Vote yes to justice.

​Vote yes to better results.

​Or we can vote no, and get more of the same.

​Australians are a fair people. We are an egalitarian people. We love justice, and we love each other.

​Let’s show that to the world and vote yes on October 14.