Intersex Human Rights Australia unanimously supports the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice in this year’s referendum. We encourage anyone who meaningfully engages with human rights issues to vote yes in the referendum on October 14th. This represents a unique opportunity to help restore autonomy the the world’s oldest continuous culture, and we see it as vital to maintaining momentum on Indigenous rights in Australia.
IHRA is a human rights organisation that operates right across Australia, with staff members that work from the lands of the Ngunnawal, Ngambri, Gubbi Gubbi, Kaurna, Wiradjuri, and Bundjalung people. The work that we do and the people that we work for extend Australia wide and therefore the discussion of rights and justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is inextricable from our own work. We cannot in good conscience fight for the dignity and justice of intersex people without also being clear in our support for other intersecting populations who face fundamental violations.
We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded or extinguished. We are grateful to share connection with this country, and pay our respect to the culture and community that has been protected by elders past and present. We recognise the ongoing impact of genocide on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the devastation of colonisation, the stolen generation, through to deaths in custody today. Whether systemic or direct, these harms have a measurable impact on the health and well being of all First Nation people. It is the duty of all Australians to recognise the intergenerational trauma that hurts the heart of our country and find meaningful solutions together. As per the 2020 Darlington statement we recognise and endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart as one such pathway forward.
It is important to acknowledge that this year’s referendum is but one step in the journey Australia must make together to reconcile it’s violent history. After the marriage equality postal survey we found ourselves struggling against a perception that all LGBTIQA+ issues had been resolved, slowing our progress towards intersex justice. Whatever the outcome of this referendum, we cannot become complacent to the issues the Voice seeks to address. These are not issues that go away because the people of Australia decide they aren’t ready to confront them. It is necessary to maintain momentum through this process and after it regardless of the outcome.
Much like the postal survey resulted in a spike of harassment and negativity towards our communities we would also like to acknowledge a spike in harassment and negativity towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during this process. We condemn disingenuous and bad faith arguments intended to undermine and attack the democratic process by instilling fear in those who are uncertain or apathetic. We abhor racism outright, there is no place for attacking people through this referendum period. Negative and harmful discourse takes a toll on vulnerable communities. The relentless demand to justify human rights progress is burden enough, without needing to deal with toxicity across all media and community. We encourage people to look after each other through this time.
We must make the most of this opportunity to heal as a country.
Vote Yes to the Voice.
Authorised by Morgan Carpenter, Intersex Human Rights Australia, Lismore