At the heart of the Uniting Church is a commitment to walk together with First Nations people in seeking justice. We seek to work and pray together as First and Second Peoples for more just, inclusive and equal relationships in the church and in this nation. Inspired by this commitment, we support a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament as an historic opportunity to recognise and honour First Nations people and to walk together as a nation toward a better future.
Acknowledging the difficult history of this nation, and our part in the colonisation of First Nations people, the Uniting Church formally entered into a Covenant relationship with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress in 1994, an ever deepening commitment to seek a fuller expression our reconciliation in Jesus Christ.
In 2009, we adopted the Revised Preamble to the Constitution declaring God had been in this land long before the colonisers arrived, sustaining First Nations people. In 2018, the Uniting Church affirmed First Nations people as sovereign in this land, acknowledging the deep spiritual ties and connection for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with this land.
From its creation in 2017, the Uniting Church and UAICC have supported the Uluru Statement and its calls for Voice, Truth and Treaty.
THE ULURU STATEMENT
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is an invitation to the Australian people to help build a better future for all Australians. It calls for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution and a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making and truth-telling about our history.
The Statement from the Heart emerged from The First Nations National Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017. The Convention was a three day gathering of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and was the culmination of a process that included an extensive dialogue across Australia with Indigenous Peoples.
From late 2019 a Voice co-design process commenced to develop models and options. The Uniting Church, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress and UnitingCare Australia participated in the consultation, calling for a constitutionally enshrined Voice to parliament.
A REFERENDUM FOR A FIRST NATIONS VOICE
This year all Australians will be invited to vote on whether we should recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution.
It is a rare opportunity to consider a change to our constitution in a way that will honour and celebrate First Nations people at the heart of the nation.
The Referendum will ask whether we support the invitation of the Uluru Statement for a Voice to Parliament to be enshrined in the constitution. Doing so will provide an opportunity for the diversity of First Nations voices in this country to be heard and to give First Nations people a practical tool to have a say in decisions which impact them.
A First Nations Voice is a step towards truth telling of our nation's history, and will empower First Nations Australians, making them feel valued by their own country.
WHAT THE UNITING CHURCH HAS SAID
President of the Uniting Church in Australia Rev Sharon Hollis and UAICC Interim National Chair Rev Mark Kickett have affirmed their strong support for a Voice to Parliament as a critical step toward honouring the sovereignty of First Nations Australians in this land and furthering the work of truth-telling and treaty.
The Assembly Standing Committee (ASC) in March declared the support of the Uniting Church in Australia for the change in the constitution to recognise an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament. The ASC resolved to call on church, community and political leaders to engage in respectful and constructive dialogue in response to the referendum.
In February, the Uniting Church joined a coalition of nine faith organisations in writing to all Federal parliamentarians urging them to co-operate across political divides in support of the Voice to Parliament.
Below are a number of resources to learn more about the Voice and the Uluru Statement to help you stay informed or to guide discussion and conversation in your small group or congregation.
Read our page on FAQs and common misconceptions.
What is Indigenous Constitutional Recognition through a Voice?
An online 15–20-minute course which takes you through what is meant by Indigenous Constitutional Recognition through a Voice – and what a Voice to Parliament is, and is not.
A call from Professor Anne Pattel-Gray to churches to support a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament
produced by the School of Indigenous Studies (University of Divinity) and Churches Together South Australia
A lecture on the Uluru Statement and the design of the Voice by Rev Canon Dr Garry Deverell
produced by the School of Indigenous Studies (University of Divinity) and Churches Together South Australia.
Voice, Treaty, Truth Symposium,
Pilgrim Uniting Church
A record of presentations by Rev Chris Budden, Aunty Rev Dr Denise Champion
Become a Conversation Host for Together, Yes
Together Yes is a Kitchen Table Conversations movement in support of a YES vote in the 2023 Referendum on a First Nations Voice to Parliament. It's powerfully simple idea, by engaging people in respectful and honest dialogue we can create real and lasting change. Find out more and register your interest for a Uniting Church information session.
The official Yes campaign – includes opportunities to volunteer and official social media resources, posters, posters, banners and more.
Uluru Statement Supporter Kit
Find posters, social tiles, key images and a supporter guide.
Display a banner at your Church
Use this artwork created by the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania to print and display a banner at your Church to show your support for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. There are four designs to choose from. Click the button below to download the artwork.
Add the Uniting for the Voice image (at the top of this page) to your socials or emails.
Keep checking back to this page as new resources and ways to get involved will be added.