Anglican Church engagement with the proposed referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice


The Australian Government has announced that later this year a referendum will be held to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Here are some of the ways that the Anglican Church around Australia is engaging with the referendum. If you have information or links that you would like added to this page, please contact ABM. You can also find more information on the Anglican Church of Australia website.

Anglican Church of Australia Public Affairs Commission

Joint submission with NATSIAC to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum.


Anglican Church National Bishops’ Meeting

A statement from the March 2023 National Bishops’ Meeting.


Anglican Church General Synod Standing Committee

A statement on The Voice to Parliament made by the Standing Committee of General Synod.


Anglican Church Southern Queensland

The Anglican Church Southern Queensland has compiled a helpful list to assist churches to engage with the Uluru Statement and the Voice referendum.


Anglican Diocese of Bathurst

The statement from the National Bishops’ Meeting has been distributed throughout the Diocese.


Anglican Diocese of Bendigo

Letter from the Bishop of Bendigo titled Gift…Truth…Recognition. 


Motion 3.1 from 2022 Diocesan Synod

That this Synod:

  1. Notes with joy the appointment of Rev Shannon Smith as diocesan Aboriginal Communities Officer;
  2. Looks forward to collaborating with and growing the work of recognition, reconciliation and the sharing of faith with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait people of this Diocese under the leadership of Rev Smith;
  3. Hears ‘The Uluru Statement from the Heart’ and accompanying ‘Yarrabah Affirmation’ as a primary declaration of the desire of Australia’s First People noting it is five years since the statement was made, and further commends the resource ‘A Voice in the Wilderness: Listening to the Statement from the Heart’ produced by ABM to parishes as a means to open conversations and understanding;
  4. Commits ourselves to the work of recognition and reconciliation in our communities, nation and churches as we listen to Australia’s First People;
  5. Requests that a report be given to the next session of Synod identifying any progress which has been made in this work, and the next steps in establishing actions to place recognition and reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people within our diocese. (See ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’, ‘Yarrabah Affirmation’, and ‘A Voice in the Wilderness: Listening to the Statement from the Heart’ attached)

Moved: The Venerable George Hemmings Parish: Archdeacon of Bendigo & Goldfields

Seconded: The Rev’d Shannon Smith Parish: Golden Square



Rev Canon Shannon Smith’s report to Synod as the Diocesan Aboriginal Communities Officer can be viewed at:


Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn

An editorial from the Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn in the Diocesan newspaper.


Anglican Diocese of Gippsland

Read an excerpt from the Bishop of Gippsland’s 2023 Presidential Address to Synod.

You can read more in the Bishop’s introduction to the February 2023 edition of The Gippsland Anglican.


Anglican Diocese of Grafton

A Statement from the Bishop of Grafton concerning the Voice to Parliament. 

See also this 2020 Pastoral Letter on Indigenous Issues.


Anglican Diocese of Newcastle

Newcastle Anglican officially endorses a ‘Yes’ vote in the 2023 referendum. The Diocese has created a webpage that sets out their unequivocal support for a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament.


Anglican Diocese of Perth

Read about the Diocese of Perth’s journey with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Including copies of Synod resolutions.


Anglican Diocese of Sydney

The Archbishop of Sydney has contributed an essay to the book, Statements from the Soul: The Moral Case for the Uluru Statement from the Heart

‘Aboriginal Sunday’ Sermon preached by the Archbishop of Sydney in Jan 2023.


The Diocesan Doctrine Commission published a paper in March 2020, ‘A Theological Framework for Reconciliation with Special Reference to the Indigenous Peoples of Australia’. It doesn’t refer specifically to the Voice but it is an important working document for the Diocese of Sydney.


Motion 20.1 First Nations Voice from 2022 Diocesan Synod

Ms Larissa Minniecon moved –

‘Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, perceiving the opportunity for all Australians to contribute to a matter of national importance –

  • (a) welcomes the conversation regarding the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution, recognising this conversation to be an essential step in reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, perceiving this conversation to relate to the social, spiritual, and economic wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and believing this conversation will empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to create a better future for their communities to flourish,
  • (b) commits to learning more, and educating all Anglicans, about the Voice ‘From the Heart’, and
  • (c) encourages church members to give generous consideration to the case to vote ‘Yes’ to the referendum question of whether the Constitution should establish a First Nations Voice, once the details have been made clear.’


Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta

2023 Synod

That this Synod of the Diocese of Wangaratta

  1. supports the referendum about whether to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice,
  2. and encourages support for the change of the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Moved: Rev Matthew Healy

Seconder: Rev Melissa Clark


Click here for more resources relating to the Voice Referendum.