YES: The Salvation Army supports the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
It is hard to listen to people if you don’t let them have a voice.
The Salvation Army today reaffirmed its commitment to support an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice being enshrined in the Constitution, as a social justice response.
We see first-hand the social injustices experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who are over-represented in almost all the services we operate across Australia.
An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice will provide an opportunity to correct existing structural issues and ensure future legislation does not create or perpetuate disadvantage and injustice – which is at the heart of everything we do.
Secretary for Mission at The Salvation Army Australia, Captain Stuart Glover, says the Voice is a significant and practical way to make a real difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
“Our 140-year history of helping Australians has taught us that it is hard to listen to people if you don’t let them have a voice. We support the call of one of the most disadvantaged sections of our community to have their voice heard and bring about positive change,” Captain Glover says.
The Salvation Army, from its Christian Mission days, has publicly advocated on matters where greater impact could be made in the community, especially around issues of hardship and injustice. This includes Federation in the 1890s.
We encourage respectful, inclusive discussion regarding the Voice, based on fact, and for all Australians to seek information from trusted sources to make an informed decision.
“As a faith movement committed to social justice, we believe a Voice will respect, value and facilitate reconciliation, truth telling and improved social policy making with (not for) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
 In 2022, The Salvation Army’s:
· Homelessness services assisted almost 37,000 people. Of these, nearly one in five (18.6%) identified as First Nations peoples, which is nearly six times higher than the total proportion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ population in Australia (3.2%).
· Doorways Emergency relief services assisted almost 100,000 people. Of these, nearly one in four (23.5%) identified as Frist Nations peoples, seven times higher than the total proportion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ population in Australia (3.2%).
. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2021). Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2021. Canberra: ABS www.abs.gov.au/articles/australia-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-population-summary