2647

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Submission Number
2647
Participant
Medical Association for Prevention of War
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

Uluru Statement from the Heart and a Voice to Parliament

The Medical Association for Prevention of War is a national network of medical and other health professionals. We are
affiliates of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and the
founders of 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Our members
have significant experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

We write in support of the stated aspiration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to a constitutionally
protected Voice to parliament. We support a referendum once a model for the Voice has been settled; and efforts to
ensure that the membership model of the National Voice allows the participation of previously unheard Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people.

Addressing the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people must be a priority for
the people and government of Australia: there are approximately seventeen years difference between Indigenous and
non-Indigenous life expectancy in Australia.

Inequalities in health arise from inequalities in society: avoidable and systemic inequality of access to and control over
healthcare, differing quality of available care, and the ongoing effects of dispossession means that Indigenous people do
not have an equal opportunity to be as physically, culturally, or spiritually healthy as non-Indigenous people in
Australia. The extraordinarily high imprisonment rates, related to historical and contemporary factors of racism, rob
many Indigenous people, including the very young, of opportunities to learn, adapt, and find meaning in their life. The
Uluru Statement offers advice to us all in how to combat these tragic and shameful consequences for which Australia is
known worldwide.

The connection between self-determination and health outcomes is indisputable. Constitutional reform and an
enhanced Voice to Parliament are practical steps towards self-determination, towards greater equality in health
outcomes, and improved Indigenous-specific social, spiritual, and cultural determinants of health.

Aboriginal-led health organisations have endorsed the Uluru Statement from the Heart and a Voice to Parliament as
unifying, healing and health-giving. We urge the people and government of Australia to heed their expertise, and
commit to action.