Statement on the Voice to Parliament

As an organisation committed to promoting the well-being and empowerment of all individuals, Speech Pathology Australia (the Association) stands with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities in favour of both the Voice and Treaty.

We acknowledge that Treaty and Voice are important in foregrounding the Sovereign rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples now and in the future.

The Association affirms its support of the Uluru Statement of the Heart and its first reform calling for the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the way of Voice, Treaty and Truth.

The purpose of the Constitution alteration is to amend the Constitution to:
a) recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia.
b) establish an advisory body, The Voice, in order to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities a say on matters that directly impact on their own health and wellbeing, which would include communication.

Speech Pathology Australia recognises the historical and ongoing injustices faced by First Nations peoples and acknowledges the urgent need for reconciliation, equality, and partnership.

The Association considers that the establishment of a First Nations Voice to Parliament as well as a Treaty, is a step towards addressing these inequities, and look to other democracies, including Canada and Aotearoa/New Zealand to ensure that First Nations voices are valued, respected, and actively involved in decision-making processes.

The First Nations Voice to Parliament aligns with the principles of self-determination and empowerment, which are at the core of speech pathology practice.

We recognise that self-determination is key to achieving positive health and well-being outcomes for First Nations Peoples. The establishment of a formal mechanism for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices to be heard and respected within the political landscape is an essential step towards dismantling the structures of inequality, racism and fostering self-determination.

Speech Pathology Australia acknowledges that the road to reconciliation and genuine partnership is ongoing and requires sustained commitment.

By advocating for governance change, we aim to promote self-determination, cultural revitalisation, and equitable access to communication and swallowing health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities.

The Board of Directors
Speech Pathology Australia