There has only ever been a single version of the Uluru Statement from the Heart – until today.
Led by disability representative organisations, advocates and service providers, the sector has come together with First Nations people to launch an Easy Read interpretation of the Statement in an important step towards making the statement accessible for everyone.
The Easy Read statement has been designed by First Peoples Disability Network in a consultation process with First Nations people and people with intellectual disabilities.
The new format of the Uluru Statement is an important step to increase access and understanding of the referendum for everyone.
Megan Davis, one of the architects of the original Statement says “the Uluru Statement was a carefully crafted invitation issued to all Australians to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people. It is a simple one-page call for Aussies to understand why a Voice is needed. I am overjoyed this easy read version has been created to ensure it is accessible to all Australians.”
Spokesperson for the Disability Collective for Voice and CEO of First Peoples Disability Network, Damian Griffis, said the disability community adds a unique perspective to the Voice debate.
“With four million Australians living with disability, it is incredibly important that voting is accessible – this means everything from information materials on the Voice to voting facilities.
“This is why an Easy Read interpretation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart is such a huge milestone for us – it allows the Statement to be accessible for every single Australian, allowing the level of engagement and understanding that is necessary for progress.
It comes as organisations from across the sector are joining together today in a National Day of Solidarity to support the Yes campaign for a First Nations Voice to Parliament.
First Peoples Disability Network, People with Disability Australia, Disability Advocacy Network Australia, Inclusion Australia, the Australian Disability Dialogue and members including Council for Intellectual Disability, VALiD, Life Without Barriers and Cerebral Palsy Alliance have all committed to using their networks to build awareness, understanding and reassurance on Voice and the Referendum.
“The disability community understands what it is like to have decades of barriers placed in front of you and we also know how crucial self-determination is to genuinely advance positive change.
We believe First Nations people deserve more than the status quo. The same approaches over decades have failed and we believe a Voice to Parliament will enable something much better for the future.
“As a collective, we’re determined to ensure that information on a Voice to Parliament is accessible to all groups across Australia so everyone can make an informed decision at the referendum,” Mr Griffis said.
“First Nations Peoples and, First Nations people with disabilities are overrepresented in our criminal justice system, in the child protection system and this group continues to be demonstrated in the Closing the Gap reporting for outcomes to be worsening.
“An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament has the potential to shed light on these pressing issues and provide culturally appropriate reforms to create better outcomes for all Australians including First Nations Peoples and people with lived experience of disability.
“By adding our support to the Voice to Parliament, creating accessible events and resources, culminating in a day of action, it is our hope that we can encourage people with disability, their families, carers and friends to consider what a Voice to Parliament may mean for them, and our Nation.
The release of the Easy Read statement builds on existing community-translated material on the Voice to Parliament to create a Plain English, Auslan and accessible video interpretations of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and online town halls to provide information to more people in our community about the Voice to Parliament.
“The Uluru Statement from the Heart is the founding document for a Voice to Parliament and as such, it ought to be accessible to all. It is a resounding call from the more than 80% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are asking us to vote Yes,” Mr Griffis said.
“Everyone deserves to understand what they are voting for and the significance of their decision. That’s why we’re undertaking this critical work, to ensure that every Australian fully understands the purpose of the vote and how to participate.”