Uluru Dialogue Co-Chairs Professor Megan Davis and Pat Anderson met indigenous leaders from across the country today at Uluru in Anangu Country.
It comes as the referendum on Voice in Parliament looms large in the national dialogue, with recent polls suggesting a “yes” vote has dwindling majority support.
Today, National Forgiveness Day, also saw more than 20 sports bodies from across the country, including the NRL, AFL, Football Australia, Tennis Australia, Cricket Australia, Netball Australia and the National Basketball League, come together in a historic ceremony to pledge your support for the Voice.
Former rugby league great and chief executive of indigenous-led boxing company No Limit Boxing, George Rose, said he was proud to be a part of it.
“Sport has always been an equalizer for our people. It has always given us the opportunity to be the best we can be,” he said.
“And I appreciate each and every one of you CEOs who are here supporting our people.”
The sports bodies’ commitment includes a letter to fans of all signatories, which was read onstage by a host of greats, including former Diamonds captain Kath Cox, Hall of Fame basketball player Andrew Gaze, AFL legend Eddie Betts and rugby league Immortal Mal Meninga.
The letter encouraged sports fans to listen to The Voice debate with “open hearts and open minds” and committed sports bodies to supporting the constitutional change.
Declaration of the Heart ‘an invitation’
The Declaration of the Heart was the document that proposed a constitutionally enshrined Voice.
“The Uluru Declaration from the Heart was the culmination of the most significant discussions on constitutional recognition ever undertaken with the First Nations peoples of Australia,” Davis said.
“This is an invitation to all Australians to recognize the urgent need to change the status quo for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and take a step that makes a difference to the lives of First Nations peoples.”
Davis said today was an “emotional” occasion.
“But I am as confident today as I was when I read the Declaration at Uluru in 2017 that the Australian people will embrace their sentiment and support the overwhelming majority of First Nations Peoples who simply want a say in decisions that affect our lives,” he said. .
His Uluru Dialogue co-chair Anderson said the anniversary was a time to recognize the work that led to the consensus at Uluru six years ago.
“This must be the year Australia lives up to the words of the Declaration and ends the torment of our powerlessness. Our people can’t wait any longer.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has made committing to a referendum on Voice a central point of his 2022 election campaign.
A date for the referendum has not yet been set.