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'End the torment': Indigenous leaders issue call on major anniversary



On the sixth anniversary of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, its architects are gathering at the sacred space to call for Australians to read and accept its invitation, as debate around the Voice to Parliament continues to rage.

Uluru Dialogue co-chairs Professor Megan Davis, and Pat Anderson, gathered with Indigenous leaders from around the country at Uluru on Anangu Country today.

It comes as the referendum over the Voice to Parliament looms large in the national dialogue, with recent polling suggesting the "yes" vote commands a shrinking majority of support.

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The Statement was the document that proposed a constitutionally-enshrined Voice.

"The Uluru Statement from the Heart was the culmination of the most significant discussions about constitutional recognition ever undertaken with First Nations peoples across Australia," Davis said.

"It is an invitation to all Australians to recognise the dire need for change to the status quo for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to take a step that will make a difference to the lives of First Nations peoples."

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Davis said today was an "emotional" occasion.

"But I am as confident today as I was when I read the Statement at Uluru in 2017, that the Australian people will embrace its sentiment and support the overwhelming majority of First Nations Peoples who simply want to have a say over the decisions that impact our lives," she said.

Her Uluru Dialogue co-chair Anderson said the anniversary was a time to acknowledge the work that led to the consensus at Uluru six years ago.

"This must be the year that Australia makes the words of the Statement a reality and end the torment of our powerlessness. Our people can't wait any longer."

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made the commitment to a referendum on the Voice a central plank of his 2022 election campaign.

The wording of the question the Australian people will answer, along with details about how the Voice will function – including its lack of veto or legislative power – was revealed earlier this year.

A date for the referendum is yet to be set.

EXPLAINED: What is the Indigenous Voice to parliament and what would a referendum entail?

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