Community shows its support for Voice
Many across the local southside community showed their support recently for a First Nation’s Voice to Parliament, by turning out for a community BBQ hosted by Moreton MP, Graham Perrett. The special event, held in Annerley, was conducted alongside doorknocking activity to promote the yes campaign’s message of ‘recognition and reconciliation’.
February 2023 saw the launch of the ‘yes’ campaign for the referendum to change the Australian constitution and establish the Voice to Parliament. The BBQ was in fact one of the first campaign events rolled out across the country in lead up to the historic vote, with more planned locally over the next few months, including a ‘town hall’ session.
The Voice to Parliament is the proposed new advisory group containing separately elected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, perpetually enshrined in the Constitution of Australia, which would “have a responsibility and right to advise the Australian Parliament and Government on national matters of significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”. The concept of a ‘Voice to Parliament’ came out of the Uluru Dialogues which lead to the Uluru Statement of The Heart in May 2017.
To help raise funds for the local yes campaign, the band ‘Left Right Out’ (pictured) held a special gig recently at the Ballistic Brewery in Salisbury.
Comprising Arley Black and Julie-Ann Campbell on vocals, Chris Ketter on guitar, Graham Perrett on bass guitar, Tony Burke on keyboard and guitar, Terri Butler on saxophone and James Jeffrey on bagpipes, the band entertained the near capacity crowd with covers from AC/DC, Pink, Dragon, Green Day, Hunters & Collectors and Blur.
It expected that the referendum on the Voice to Parliament will be held by October or November this year.
Appeals continue for greater media diversity
The federal Party has been called on to support the full implementation of the 2021 Labor Senators’ Media Diversity report, which includes a recommendation for a judicial inquiry into media concentration in Australia.
Recognising growing concerns that Australia’s level of media ownership concentration is already one of the highest in the world, Annerley Labor’s resolution declares that ‘access to, and a proliferation of, a diversity of views and information is fundamental to a vibrant and healthy democratic system’.
In their report, Labor senators found media concentration was “corrosive of democratic practice” because it gave a ‘few powerful people too much power’ to control sources of information and opinion in public debate. This is seen as especially concerning because some media owners can, and do, manipulate their coverage for commercial and political ends.
It is expected that this issue will be debated at the ALP National Conference in August – which will be held in Brisbane. The current national Party platform the commits Labor to “ensure Australians have access to a strong, healthy, diverse and independent media operating in the public interest”.
Federal Govt called on to back Trove
Members have strongly supported appeals for federal Labor to maintain funding to ensure that the National Library of Australia’s digital platform, Trove, remains open and available to the public.
The NLA’s digital platform, Trove, is seen by many as a valuable resource for researchers, students, and the general public, and receives 22 million visits to the site every year. This makes it the most popular Australian government website after the ABC!
Despite the National Library of Australia (NLA) being an important institution that plays a crucial role in preserving and providing access to Australia’s cultural heritage, funding was unfortunately cut by the previous Coalition government.
The unanimous branch resolution in support of continued Trove funding has been sent to the Federal Arts Minister, Tony Burke MP.