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Medical groups back Indigenous Voice as a remedy

Andrew Brown -

Two of the country's leading medical bodies have come out in support of the Indigenous Voice, as the referendum debate prepares to enter a new phase.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association have backed the proposed constitutional change.

The college said the Indigenous Voice would lead to a significant step forward and would also result in better mental health outcomes.

"We are acutely aware of the trauma inflicted on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples due to the ongoing impact of colonisation, dispossession, and systemic racism and inequality," the organisation said in a statement.

"Just as person-centred care is the foundation of mental health care, self-determination is critical for better mental health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."

Australian Indigenous Doctors Association chief executive Donna Burns said the Voice would improve wellbeing for Indigenous people.

"The data overwhelmingly demonstrates that an unacceptable health gap persists due to the health inequities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples," she said.

"The position that AIDA holds is based on our vision to rectify the continued health-disparity that disproportionately affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders."

The support comes as laws to set up the Indigenous Voice referendum passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The bill, which will finalise the referendum question and constitutional changes put top the public, will now move to the Senate.

It's expected to pass parliament later this month, before the referendum will be held between October and December.

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney urged for people who did not know much about the Voice to consider the inequality people faced before making up their mind,

"I would say to those people ... look into your heart and look into the situation Aboriginal people are in in this country," she said.

"This is where the rubber hits the road. This is where the campaign actually gets into full swing."

Andrew Brown - AAP

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