The Sydney Alliance, a coalition of unions, churches and community groups; call for the
establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
We are the Sydney Alliance (https://www.sydneyalliance.org.au/). We are a coalition of
religious groups, community organisations, charities, NGOs, unions and schools. Our
goal is to advance the common good and achieve a fair, just and sustainable Sydney. We
organise our communities to step up and be heard on the issues that affect us and our
families. We are radically non-partisan. We want active citizens and accountable
politicians. We represent the rich and diverse multiculturality of Australia.
We welcome the Government’s Indigenous Voice co-design interim Report (the Interim
Report) and acknowledge the significant work undertaken by the co-design groups, led
by co-chairs Professor Marcia Langton AM and Professor Tom Calma AO. We
acknowledge the terms of reference of the National Co-design Group and understand the
limitations this presented to the Interim Report Voice model.
Our submission seeks to strongly support the work of The Uluru Statement from the
Heart. We believe A Voice enshrined in the Constitution is a fair, practical and safe
proposal that is foundational in unifying our nation. As a diverse group of organisations
that work together to reckon with our communities’ issues on race, housing, work and
climate we are committed to taking action and building relationships that will heal and
unify the Australian society in which we wish to live.
The work achieved by the Uluru Dialogues and during the development of the Interim
Report cannot be lost in another election cycle. Our submission to call for constitutional
enshrinement seeks to ensure the permanence and robustness of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander’s decision-making in our democracy.
The Sydney Alliance acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were
the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and
possessed under Aboriginal laws and customs. We recognise the history and connection
of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to this country. We acknowledge that for
real change to happen, this must now be enabled through an Indigenous Voice to
Parliament and must be enshrined in the Australian Constitution.
The Sydney Alliance partners have always been committed to practical and real change
for First Nations peoples, we see constitutional change as a significant part, but not the
limit of the work. Alliance partners will continue to be in solidarity with the everyday
fights for treaty and standing up against deaths in custody. Our support for constitutional
change and the Uluru Statement from the Heart is to further support these struggles and
assert the self-determination and governance of First Nations over their own communities
to influence decisions on issues that affect them most.
This is why our submission supports the three main claims of From the Heart
1. The government must honour its election commitment to a referendum once the
model for the Voice has been settled;
2. Enabling legislation for the Voice must be passed after a referendum has been held
in the next term of Parliament; and
3. The membership model for the National Voice must ensure previously unheard
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being
selected as established leadership figures.
We are committed to walking together with First Nations People and our relationships are
strengthened by taking action together, to organise for the common good
In good faith,
The Sydney Alliance
List Organisations signed on;
Arab Council Australia Jesuit Refugee Service Australia Blue Mountains Refugee Support
Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Churches Housing Inc. Engadine Connect Church
Sydney Alliance Older Women’s Network NSW Multicultural Youth Affairs
Nature Conversation Council of NSW Parramatta Climate Action Network Sydney Community Forum
Settlement Services International
Shelter NSW Sisters of St Joseph
UCA Parramatta Nepean Presbytery Uniting Church Synod of NSW & United Workers Union
Uniting World Wildlife Fund Australian Conservation
Justice Peace Office St Brigid’s Catholic Parish Reconciliation for
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Youth HEAR Vinnie’s
Baptist Churches NSW & ACT