As an organisation EMH do not have a position on the referendum.
We acknowledge our women as integral knowledge holders with unique wisdom derived from living cultural knowledge, individual and collective life experiences. We continue to uphold their right to Self-Determination in which *free, prior and informed consent is given to exercise freedom of choice in political participation.
As an organisation Elizabeth Morgan House Aboriginal Women’s Service do not have a position on the referendum. As a community service we do not undermine the right to self-determination and do not impose any position on staff, our women or others. Instead, we prioritise creating a safe space.
The right of First Nations Peoples to choose their degree of political participation within the referendum includes a spectrum of voting yes or no, choosing not to participate for various reasons and those who do not vote as an act of asserting unceded sovereignty.
The fundamental process that upholds the specific right to Indigenous Peoples of Free, Prior and Informed Consent as set out in Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples and in addition, protection and promotion of UNDRIP Article 5 states the right of Indigenous Peoples to maintain and strengthen distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural social institutions while retaining the right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political life of the State.
The referendum has the ability to create divisiveness and, in many cases, can manifest in the form of lateral violence where some individual people, collective groups and organisations are challenging or confronting individual First Nations People who hold differing opinions. We do not condone violence in any form against our mob who hold different perspectives from others.
The intensity of the parliamentary campaign can result in negative impacts for individuals in a myriad of ways, including unease, distress and isolation. With these processes tied to colonial practices we give space for cultural safety and the right to self-discovery. We hope you will join us in awareness of not creating further trauma in such an impactful time and to align ourselves with respect for freedom of choice and self-determination.
Individual perspectives are established from their cultural protocol, lore and mandate from their sovereign body and the voices they listen to – including Elders, respected leaders, mob and their families. To those engaging in volatile and coercive behavior that minimise these facts we say, you are creating a culturally unsafe space.
*The process that upholds the specific right of Free, Prior and Informed Consent granted to Indigenous Peoples as stated in Article 19 of the UNDRIP, which aligns to the universal right to self-determination.
Free: Consent given voluntarily and without coercion, intimidation or manipulation.
Prior: Consent sought sufficiently in advance of authorisation or commencement of activities.
Informed: Appropriate information and engagement prior to seeking consent and as part of an ongoing process.
Consent: A collective decision made by rights holders and reached through customary decision-making processes of the communities, of which there are many.