Gilbert + Tobin was an early and proud supporter of a constitutional Voice to Parliament for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We are proud of the position we took and the efforts we made to support a Yes vote. We accepted the generous invitation of the Statement From The Heart “to walk with us for a better future”.
The Voice referendum held on 14 October 2023 was not the result we had hoped for. We acknowledge the grief of many First Nations Peoples and their communities at this outcome. We also acknowledge the enormous effort of so many First Nations Peoples who worked tirelessly leading up to the campaign and during the campaign itself. We thank them for their leadership.
We acknowledge the open letter from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders of 22 October 2023. We are heartened by and support the closing paragraphs of this statement:
We want to talk with our people and our supporters about establishing – independent of the Constitution or legislation – an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to take up the cause of justice for our people. Rejection of constitutional recognition will not deter us from speaking up to governments, parliaments and to the Australian people. We have an agenda for justice in pursuit of our First Nations rights that sorely need a Voice – we will continue to follow our law and our ways, as our Elders and Ancestors have done.
We will regather in due course and develop a plan for our future direction. While this moment will be etched into Australia’s history forever, today we think of our children, and our children’s children. Our work continues as it has always done. We will continue to fight to seek justice for our peoples. We are three per cent of the population, and you are 97 per cent.
We are committed to continuing our support for the aspirations of First Nations Peoples in Australia. In all our work, we will be guided by them.
In the aftermath of the referendum and in addition to existing reconciliation commitments, Gilbert + Tobin commits to a Voice for our First Nations community within our firm and to build our capacity to work with and support First Nations Peoples.