16 June 2023
The Anglican Church of Australia is urging all Australians to seriously consider supporting the Voice to Parliament.
The General Synod Standing Committee has resolved to commit to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including hearing their voices. Its resolution also encouraged parish ministers to hold conversations about the upcoming referendum on constitutional recognition.
The committee made the resolution in April and sent a memo to diocesan bishops in June.
Anglican Church of Australia general secretary Anne Hywood advised bishops to share the committee’s resolution within their dioceses.
Ms Hywood said the Synod Public Affairs Commission and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council were preparing resources on the Voice for Anglican parishes, schools and organisations.
NATSIAC member the Reverend Canon Glenn Loughrey said the recent resolution continued the church’s support for a constitutionally recognised Indigenous Voice.
Mr Loughrey said the church had previously affirmed the Uluru Statement from the Heart but was now building on the processes and aspirations outlined in the statement.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart calls for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
“If we feel the Statement from the Heart is worthy of support, then we really have to support the elements that make up that statement,” Mr Loughrey said.
He said the next step would be for church leaders to publicly support the Voice.
“We do now need leadership to say very clearly what the vision is,” he said.
Mr Loughrey said he agreed with the NATSIAC statement on the Voice released earlier this year, which frames supporting the Voice as a simple, uncomplicated question of justice and fairness.
Common Grace national director Gershon Nimbalker said people of faith had a huge role to play in the debate over reconciliation.
He said the values and principles of Jesus encouraged love and reconciliation and pushed Christians to recognise the inherent worth in all people.
Part of abiding by those principles meant listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and acknowledging the forms of justice and reconciliation they supported, Mr Nimbalker said.
Mr Nimbalker said his own organisation was strongly in favour of the Voice to Parliament. He said he was hopeful to see more organisations take similar stances.
He said faith-based organisations had some of the most effective online networks that he knew of.
Mr Nimbalker said Christian organisations were able to get groups of people together for meaningful discussion shaped by the values of Jesus.
“We have tremendous influence. We can talk to friends and colleagues and community groups about what we believe and what our perspectives are,” he said.