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"Don't make it complicated": Aboriginal Advancement League leader makes Voice plea to nation

Jarred Cross -

Aboriginal Advancement League chief executive Aunty Esme Bamblett has asked people not to make the upcoming referendum on the Voice complicated, and approach the proposal with a straightforward message in mind.

Speaking at a gathering of Aboriginal leaders at AAL's base in Narrm on Sunday, Aunty Esme said her organisation has campaigned for the say now left for the public to decide on whether they now bring into effect.

"I represent the oldest continuing Aboriginal organisation in Australia. She's (AAL) 66 years old. And during those 66 years, she has lobbied for a voice," she said.

"There have been many times that the leaders have gone and asked parliament, asked the King, asked the Queen, to have a voice in this country. Today we're asking all Australians to vote yes."

Aunty Esme said the Voice will help Indigenous people and communities "thrive and be empowered", and hopes the country wakes up on October 15, her late grandmother's birthday - "who fought valiantly to have her voice heard in this country", having successfully voted yes.

She said the proposal in front of the nation is not complicated.

"Don't make it complicated. Do you want us included in the Constitution as a traditional lines of this country or not?" Aunty Esme said.

"It will not impact negatively on anybody. But it will be positive for all Australians. We will stand together as a united country."

Aunty Esme was joined by former First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria co-chair Marcus Stewart, current co-chair Reuben Berg and Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation chief executive Aunty Jill Gallagher in endorsing the 'Yes' vote on Sunday.

Mr Berg encouraged people to inform themselves on the proposal ahead of polling day.

He echoed Aunty Esme's point that the task laid out in front is simple.

"We do not want our issues to continue to be a political football. We do not want to be relying on the goodwill of politicians on the goodwill of the media, for our voices to be heard," Mr Berg said.

"We want our voice in the constitution so it will always be there. So we can always be there to provide our perspectives on the things that most affect us."

Aunty Jill said the Voice will "elevate" ancient and contemporary Indigenous cultures, with "something to gain" for all Australians.


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