A statement from the SMRC Board Chairperson
The Uluru Statement from the Heart calls for the establishment of a First Nations Voice to Parliament to be enshrined in the Australian Constitution. This Statement seeks constitutional reforms to empower the First Nations People to take their rightful place in their own country.
SMRC stands in solidarity with the Uluru Statement, and strongly believes in the constitutional protection and the recognition of the rights and interests of the First Nations people in Australia. Constitutional recognition through a First Nations Voice to Parliament provides a practical pathway to ensuring that the First Nations people have a fair say in laws and policies impacting them without compromising the supremacy of the Parliament. A Voice to Parliament provides the foundation for better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
SMRC is very proud to be a part of the multicultural institutional framework of this great nation, which is home to the longest surviving continuous civilization and culture on earth today. For over 65,000 years this culture thrived and was in harmony with the surrounding nature and environment. SMRC adds its support to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and recognises the traditional custodians of our land, their continued connection to the country and the unique and enduring strengths of their culture.
We strongly support the proposed referendum and are willing to assist in any way to make this referendum a success. SMRC stands with the First Nations people in allyship and encourages all Australians to join in support of their cause. Constitutional representation for the traditional custodians of our land is long overdue and we hope that the referendum is successful in order to create a better future for all Australians.
SMRC is a not-for-profit community-based agency providing services to migrants and refugees living in the southern region of Melbourne, including the local government areas of City of Greater Dandenong, City of Casey, Shire of Cardinia, and surrounding suburbs. For 30 years SMRC has supported the settlement of newly arrived refugees and provided community-based services for migrants and refugees through 28 funded in-language social and economic participation and health and wellbeing programs. The vision of SMRC is to ensure that migrants and refugees are enabled to achieve their goals and aspirations. The purpose is to support and empower migrants and refugees through our delivery of programs and services that are innovative, inclusive, impactful and culturally sensitive (ethnocentric).
Dr Ponniah Anandajayasekeram
Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre