Major churches and other religious organizations have united unprecedentedly to express their support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Australian Anglican, Catholic, and Uniting Churches, and the National Council of Churches – an ecumenical organization bringing together several Australian Christian churches – are among the religious groups that have signed a joint resolution calling for a constitutionally guaranteed vote of the First Nations.
Other groups that have signed the resolution include the Australian National Council of Imams, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, and Australian Sikhs, Buddhists, and Hindus.
It is the first time such diverse faith communities have come together to endorse the Uluru Declaration and its call for a First Nations Voice guaranteed by the Constitution.
The joint resolution was launched on May 27 in Sydney’s Barangaroo – five years after the Uluru Declaration was proclaimed from the Heart by 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Uluru.
The event was broadcast live and included a keynote speech from acclaimed Australian filmmaker and daughter of Aboriginal activist Charlie Perkins, Rachel Perkins of the Arrernte, and Kalkadoon Nations.
The joint resolution — signed by representatives of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly, and the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, among other religious organizations — calls on political leaders to “take immediate bipartisan action to hold a referendum on a First Nations voice.”
“Indigenous Australians must now be given their rightful place in the Australian Constitution,” the resolution adds.
“I am personally moved by the deep yearning expressed in the Statement from the Heart, and I am so encouraged that faith leaders have responded from the heart of their spiritual traditions,” Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Peter Comensoli told The Oz.
“I hope that Jesus will inspire Catholics to join the hard work of finding constitutional recognition of the voice of the first peoples in our Parliament and that reconciliation at this point in history renews energy and will find testimony,” he said.
Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop Kanishka Raffel told The Oz he welcomed our new government’s commitment to implement the Uluru Declaration from the Heart and that he “looks forward to that process unfolding in the coming months”.
The full text of the joint resolution on the Uluru Declaration from the Heart reads:
“On this day in 2017, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples gathered in Uluru and asked Australians to join them on the road to a brighter future.
Indigenous Australians asked for constitutional recognition through the Uluru Statement from the Heart through a constitutionally guaranteed voice in their affairs.
As leaders representing various religious communities, we declare our support for the Uluru Declaration and its call for a First Nations voice guaranteed by the Constitution.
We endorse this reform as necessary, just, and reasonable.
Indigenous Australians must now be given their rightful place in the Australian Constitution.
There have been many processes, and much work has been completed.
All that remains to be done is to let the Australian people speak.
We call on political leaders to take immediate bipartisan action to hold a referendum on a vote of the First Nations.”