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August 9, 2023

ASA statement on the Voice and upcoming referendum

In a couple of months, the people of Australia will vote in a referendum on enshrining an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament in the Constitution. The Voice aims to enable First Nations peoples to have a say on the policies that directly impact their lives.

The ASA recognises and honours Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ continuing connection to land, waters, and community, and their place as the First Peoples of Australia. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and artists for their storytelling, their expression and sharing of their culture, and knowledge of Country.

We understand and respect that there will be a range of views on the upcoming referendum held within our membership about the Voice. As writers, artists and readers, we endorse both individual expression and listening with an open mind. We respect the position of some on our board and within our membership who have called for Truth first, followed by Treaty, followed by a Voice to Parliament and recognise that the Voice, and voting Yes in the referendum, is not the only action needed to advance reconciliation. 

The ASA Board and staff support all the steps laid out in the Statement from the Heart and recognise that all Australians will have to vote from their hearts.

ASA commitment to reconciliation

The ASA is committed to reconciliation, and is proud to have entered into a Reconciliation Action Plan to reflect upon the impact our organisation can have, as well as our vision for the literary sector.

We acknowledge the devastating history of colonisation in this country, which sought to devalue and destroy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, families, histories, language, and cultural expression. We recognise that sovereignty has never been ceded.

The ASA’s role is to support the creators who write the stories that define our national culture and identity, and at the heart of that are our First Nations storytellers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are Australia’s first people, and we adamantly support their right to self-determination.