Influential First Nations leaders are launching an advertising blitz to encourage Australians to support a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to parliament, urging them to follow their hearts.
The History is Calling education campaign, created by leaders of the Uluru Dialogue, will begin this month and eventually feature ads across television, print, radio and online.
The advertisements will aim to restart a conversation about parts of the landmark Uluru Statement from the Heart, issued to the Australian people five years ago, and encourage people to visit a website to learn more about the process, so they can better understand why leaders are agitating for a referendum.
High profile constitutional lawyer and co-chair of the Uluru Dialogue, Professor Megan Davis, said the timing of the campaign was to remind Australians that the Uluru Statement was directed to them and not to politicians.
“The only way to change the Australian constitution is through the Australian people, and if they activate that agency, then we can actually change the direction in terms of Aboriginal political empowerment,” she said.
“Politicians are our representatives … Aboriginal people are no different to non-Indigenous Australians, we all feel a sense that parliament is very detached from the big issues.”
An Indigenous Voice to parliament would be a body that allows First Nations people to provide advice to the government and MPs about policies that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Advocates for a constitutionally enshrined Voice want a referendum to ensure the body could not be dismantled by the government, pointing to organizations such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) which was abolished under the Howard government in 2005.