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Wurundjeri Woi-wurring Elders ready to take a formal position on Voice to Parliament vote

Elders at the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation will next week take a formal position on the Voice to Parliament ahead of Australia’s first referendum since 1999.

Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation CEO Donald Betts said calls from the public to the Wurundjeri office had increased in recent weeks, as the people of Melbourne look to the Traditional Owners on how to vote in the first referendum.

“Wurundjeri Elders hold a strong hand in the Voice to Parliament, particularly after Melbourne was named as Australia’s most populous city, but our Elders want to be involved,” Mr Betts said.

“The primary concern of Wurundjeri is that those leading this push for recognition listen to the voice of Elders now. We want a commitment that Wurundjeri have a seat at the table.

“If people don’t listen to our voice now, how can Wurundjeri Elders expect a Voice to Parliament to support them? They will consider this as they finalise their position.

“Wurundjeri Elders have done their due-diligence on the Voice to Parliament and consulted all the way up to the Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney.

“Elders are being asked now on how to vote in the referendum because the result will have a direct impact on the Wurundjeri community and the public want to know what the Traditional Owners have to say.

“As Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people are the first and only Aboriginal people with the cultural, legislated, and moral authority to speak for Country.

”Wurundjeri Elders will make a formal statement to the media regarding the Voice to Parliament next Monday 1 May.”

The Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation was established in 1985 by Wurundjeri Elders. As a representative body for Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people, the Traditional Owners of Melbourne, and the Greater Melbourne region, it is the oldest and longest running Traditional Owner organisation in Victoria.


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  1. Jackie

    MMmm I dont like the sound of that!

  2. Keitha Granville

    If this referendum falls over, there will be no chance of anything recognising Aboriginal people for many years. This has to be the start, maybe there will be more, but nothing if this doesn’t happen.

  3. Uta Hannemann

    “If people don’t listen to our voice now, how can Wurundjeri Elders expect a Voice to Parliament to support them?

    . . . . the people of Melbourne look to the Traditional Owners on how to vote in the first referendum.

    I wonder, who are the people that refuse to listen to the Traditional Owners?

  4. Lucy Hamilton

    Uta, I’d argue there is a different impetus for non-indigenous Australians than there is for Indigenous Australians. No matter the rationale for a rejection by ‘white’ Australia, it will be read as a refusal to listen to our First Nations’ people when 80% support the proposal.

  5. Clakka

    In 2015, the ‘Referendum Council’ was a bipartisan process which led to the ‘First Nations National Constitutional Convention’, whose delegates initiated the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ participated in and ratified by Aboriginal groups from across the country. The 2019 Langton / Calma (co-design) report is a suggested model for the instrument of the ‘Voice’ after substantial consultation with 1000s of Aboriginal groups across the country. As Langton well said, the process was complex, and to some extent there were divergent views that on the face of it seemed intractable – such is politics and power.

    All the ‘Nations’, ‘Clans’ and / or ‘Tribal Groups’ and most importantly, their Elders would have participated in or at the least followed and been well versed in the aforementioned processes. And this, of course, would include the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and its Elders.

    They and all the other ‘First Nations’ groups and their Elders will be well aware of the ‘bottom-up’ process necessary to facilitate an efficacious ‘Voice’ to the parliament. And they will also be well aware not to waste this opportunity to facilitate ‘Recognition’ AND the ‘Voice’ mandate in the constitution, at this year’s referendum.

    Any ‘First Nations’ group’s jockeying for a seat at the table of the ‘Voice’, is to be expected, and that is something that may go on for some time yet, until the concomitant legislation is resolved. And even then, it is realistic to expect that legislation may be amended to a better maturity over time.

    So be it.

  6. Terence Mills

    “We want a commitment that Wurundjeri have a seat at the table.”

    I’m not sure that is how it’s going to work – the delegates making up the Voice will either be elected individually by the Aboriginal community in respective regions or appointed by the federal government.

    Albanese needs to clear this up quick-time !

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