Wednesday 26 July 2023
‘Understanding the Voice’ community forum draws full-capacity crowd
On Tuesday evening, Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines welcomed Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, and Yes23 Campaign Director, Dean Parkin, in front of a full house at The Cube in Wodonga for the ‘Understanding the Voice’ community forum.
More than 400 people filled the venue, with an additional 500 people joining online. The audience, while mostly from the border region, included people from Wangaratta, Benalla, Mansfield, Violet Town, and the Indigo and Alpine Valleys.
Hosted by Dr Haines, the forum was an opportunity for the community to hear information on the Voice to Parliament from Minister Burney and Parkin first-hand and have their questions answered.
“I was delighted to welcome Minister Burney to Indi. It was a privilege to sit on a panel alongside the Minister who has worked tirelessly in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for decades,” Dr Haines said.
“Dean Parkin spoke with heart and conviction and laid out the practical difference the Voice will make to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.”
“There was a genuine curiosity from the audience in understanding what the referendum and the Voice to Parliament is all about.
“While there were many Yes campaign supporters in attendance, there were also undecided voters there too who I believe found some of the answers they were seeking.”
Dhudhuroa man, Derek Murray, gave a warm Welcome to Country which set the tone for a respectful and meaningful conversation. This was followed by Dean Parkin reading the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full.
“I encourage anyone who hasn’t read the Uluru Statement to do so – it’s a generous invitation from First Nations people to all Australians; an invitation to walk together on the path to reconciliation,” Dr Haines said.
“The referendum can be a unifying moment for our country, an opportunity for us to recognise the oldest continuing culture in the world, and a chance for First Nations people to be heard on matters that impact their lives every day.”
A livestream of the event is available at https://vimeo.com/848603516?share=copy