Women Empowerment and Leadership and the Afghan Australian Say “Yes to the Voice”

Women Empowerment and Leadership and the Afghan Australian Say “Yes to the Voice”

October 14th, 2023, is a date that marks the possibility of a milestone regarding the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within Australia. On this date, Australians will vote in a referendum about whether to change the constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

The Voice will allow for an independent advisory council to parliament consisting of a diverse selection of indigenous representation with the power to give opinions concerning parliamentary matters regarding the indigenous community.

As the country is challenged to question which side of history they will sit on, many minority communities have seen to band together to support a ‘yes’ vote.

On Saturday, September 23rd, Women Empowerment and Leadership had the opportunity to attend the #Afghan Australian Say Yes to the #Voice of Parliament event.

The Women Empowerment and Leadership event created a space where the Afghan Australian community could be adequately educated regarding what the referendum is, what it aims to achieve and how to participate in the voting. Alongside the voices of many migrants, the event showcased presentations from the Minister of Immigration, Andrew Giles MP, Head of the Council of the Afghan Alliance in Australia, Dr Mohib Iqbal, Dor Aschna and Victoria MP Sheena Watt MP. These individuals empowered the #Afghan community to stand in solidarity with its Australian Indigenous Peoples by directly educating and guiding the community. Dr #Mobi Iqbal mediated the event, allowing the vital conversation surrounding a yes vote to flow seamlessly, while Victoria MP Sheena Watt showed the Afghan community how to adequately vote on the forms to be distributed on the day.

Minister #Andrew Giles passionately spoke to the importance of a yes vote, highlighting the disadvantages our First Nations people have been subject to. Mr Giles, addressing how the atrocities in the past have impacted the equity of the present, stated that this referendum holds the power to truly improve the progression of Indigenous rights within our society. It meant a lot to the Afghan community for a member of parliament to attend the event, as it ensured the information received was of quality.

It also showed the government’s attention in its migrant communities and people alongside their societal concerns. As the Afghan community is usually not involved in political affairs, this allowed their voices and opinions to be heard.

Human Rights Ambassador #Emelie Nordh also had the opportunity to open the event, providing remarks on how this referendum can genuinely aid in reconciliation and the upholding of indigenous rights such as self-determination. Emelie and intern Yewayi Mushaya gained the opportunity to talk with members of the community and Minister Andrew Giles.

The experience provided the girls the opportunity to strengthen their advocacy skills and the chance to be involved in such a meaningful conversation.

The event proved successful, and we hope to have a #yes vote on October 14th.

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