More than 125 health organisations say YES to a Voice to Parliament

More than 125 leading Australian health organisations have added their voice to the YES campaign for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

In an open letter the organisations urged Australians to vote YES in the referendum on 14th October.

“We confidently believe that the proposed voice will enhance government decision making about matters that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ultimately improving health outcomes.” the groups said, noting that health professionals see firsthand the disparity between health outcomes between non-Indigenous Australians and Aborigal and Torres Strait Islanders.

They say, “Just as a good clinician listens to their patient, a Voice to Parliament is about listening to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Those signing the plea include the Australian Medical Association, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and the Consumer’s Health Forum.

WAAC, formerly the WA AIDS Council, is also a signatory. They join the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, ASHM, LGBTIQA+ Health Australia, the National Association of People Living with HIV Australia, Health Equity Matters, Telethon Kids Institute, BlaQ, Thorne Harbour Health and the Kirby Institute.

Professor Steve Robinson, President of the Australian Medical Association, said if health is important in people’s decision making, he hoped the support from the large sway of health organisations would help people tick the YES box on the ballot paper.

Their support has been welcomed by Health Minister Mark Butler who says the organisations have highlighted the practical difference a Voice to Parliament can make to closing the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

The support from the Australian Medical Association has been criticied by Liberal Senator Gerard Renick who says the organisation is playing “identity politics”.

“You’d think with the health crisis in this country the AMA would be lobbying the government to sort out waiting lists, ambulance ramping and the shortage of frontline workers, but no playing identity politics is more important.” Senator Rennick posted to the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter.

Australians will vote in the national referendum on Saturday 14th October. Information on the referendum can be found here

OIP Staff

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