This year, Sorry Day (26 May) and National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) have added significance for all Australians as they are asked to contemplate and then vote on the Referendum on the Voice to Parliament.

The theme this year is ‘Be a voice for generations’ and further information can be accessed here.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has released a statement on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. 

In his article 'Together', Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ says the Voice to Parliament is a necessary step towards practical reconciliation, while Fr Frank Brennan SJ suggests 10 steps for Catholics inspired by our Catholic social teaching when approaching the forthcoming referendum. Read about them in The Catholic Weekly article 'Fr Frank Brennan SJ: How to vote on the Voice'.

To promote understanding of the Indigenous Constitutional Recognition through a Voice, what a Voice to Parliament is, and is not, and why a Referendum is required to make it happen, there is an online course available here. It is hoped that the more people are informed about the issues, the more constructive and productive debates will be.

Alternatively, Catholic Social Services Victoria and Catholic Social Services Australia have opened registration for their three-part webinar series on this year’s Voice to Parliament Referendum. The webinar series begins at 4pm on Thursday 25 May, followed by events on 29 June and 27 July. Registration is essential to be sent the online link. Tickets for CSSV & CSSA members are free and non-members can purchase tickets for $12 per session or $30 for all three sessions. 

See also two videos on the Referendum: Indigenous Voice to Parliament: Voices of the Community – Sherry Balcombe and NATSICC chair John Lochowiak in discussion with Fr Frank Brennan in 2023 Voice to Parliament Referendum – Questions from the community.

Jesuit Social Service position statement on the Voice to Parliament can be viewed here.

Peter Hawes
Assistant Head of School - Mission and Identity