Welcome to the September 2023 edition of SEARCH News.
You can download a copy here (1MB).
Our editorial, which you can read over the fold, is a call to arms by our President and Vice-President on the Voice to Parliament and First Nations Justice.
Also featured in this edition:
- Reports on our Voice Equality Peace and Myanmar solidarity events
- The latest from AFTINET on trade issues, including Clive Palmer's ISDS case against Australia
- Discussion on pro-AUKUS propaganda in our schools
- Campaign reports from WA on the Voice campaign and the Pilliga on the fight by the Gomeroi people against gas fields in the Great Artesian Basin
- Book reviews from our partners at the New International Bookshop
- An article on mandatory sentencing, that references a petition on that issue - which you can find by clicking here.
Yes for The Voice: Keystone for a Just Australia
Welcome to SEARCH News for August 2023. Australia stands at a crucial crossroads as it prepares to vote in the Voice Referendum to take place on 14 October. As Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in announcing the date, this Referendum is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change and shape the nation for the better. The outcome will determine the political framework and the social and cultural atmosphere in which the nation can tackle the legacies of our history, begin to heal the wounds of our colonising past, tell the truths of the dark deeds of that past, and settle outstanding issues through treaty processes.
We who want that Australia, must now throw all our efforts and energies into the Yes23 campaign. Now is the moment. There will be no other. Now is the time to organise collectively in our communities by joining our Yes23 groups, helping them to be as effective and as broad as possible. Now is the time to show our support in the public domain by joining the Walks for Yes on 17 September Now is the time to talk to persuadable voters by phone banking and door-knocking at every opportunity up until 14 October. We should not be distracted by the negativity, duplicity and often outright racism of the No campaign.
What can we do?
SEARCH members have a role to play in this final sprint to the finish, noting that it’s all to play for – many don’t even know a Referendum is on, still less what it’s about. Of those who do know, many have not yet made up their minds. Get involved today, the local campaigns particularly need experienced and committed activists.
Wear your Yes badge and tshirt every day – you can get a SEARCH-produced badge from SEARCH Committee members/activists in each state and territory, just ask us. Donate to the Yes campaign to send campaign resources to the areas that need it most. Show your support for Yes with a yard sign or merchandise purchase. Use the Yes campaign’s selfie tool to add a
Yes frame to your profile picture. Call or text your friends and family to encourage them to vote Yes.
A unifying moment for all Australians
The campaign for Voice Treaty Truth has brought together people from all walks of life, different backgrounds and political views. Yesterday’s statement by the Australian Greens Senator Dorinda Cox, Yamatji Noongar woman summed it up:
"A successful Referendum will amplify First Nations voices. Our voices will be heard, and the government will have a responsibility to listen and act. First Nations self-determination will lead to better outcomes in housing, health, education and more. Together we demand a future where no matter who we are, we are all treated equally, and First Nations people are no longer left behind. I want to see this happen in my lifetime, for my children, for my Elders, for my mob, for every First Nations person and for every Australian. We must not squander this moment.”
The fight for First Nations rights has been a walk along a long, winding, dusty, corrugated road. A YES vote to enshrine a Voice in the Australian Constitution will not end the walk, but it will be a significant step forward. There is nothing to lose except the bitter shackles of our past. There is a step to a better nation to win!
Now is the time to Act Together for YES!
Matt Kunkel Jacquie Widin
President Vice President