Founded in 1927, the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Victoria) (NCJWA Vic) originated at a time when women were virtually unrepresented in any Australian Parliament. Seeking a platform to ensure a better world for all, Dr Fanny Reading established a ‘parliament of volunteers’, united by our mission to empower women of all ages to create a better world and be a voice for change.
Today our voices unite to wholeheartedly support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and a Voice to Parliament to be protected in the Australian Constitution.
Many will be surprised to know that there has long been a close and unique relationship shared by Jewish and Indigenous Australians. The Jewish and Aboriginal peoples share many profound commonalities - a deep connection to land, a history of dispossession and genocide, the importance of memory, and a rich, vibrant culture that is thousands of years old.
William Cooper, the indigenous activist and community leader who saw the injustices of the world around him, at a time when his own people, the Aboriginal peoples, were struggling for acceptance and their place in Australian society, is one such example of our profoundly deep connection.
In 1938, when William Cooper heard of Kristallnacht, a night of utter destruction of Synagogues, Jewish homes, schools and business in Nazi Germany, he organised for a delegation of Indigenous men and women to march to the German consulate in South Yarra and presented them with a letter condemning the Jewish persecution.
Now, in 2021, it is our obligation as Jewish women to ensure our support is returned, and our voices used to amplify the support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
We stand side-by-side with Indigenous Australians in support of this country hearing the call for a shared future, and seek durable reform to empower our Indigenous peoples with self-determination through the pillars of Voice, Treaty and Truth.
For these core reasons, we call for the Government to:
1. Honour its election commitment to a referendum once a model for the Voice has been settled;
2. Enable legislation for the Voice to be passed after a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament; and
3. Ensure that the voices of previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being selected as established leadership figures.
NCJWA Vic accepts the invitation of the Uluru Statement from the heart with gratitude, and commits to working along-side the Jewish community, First Nations people, and the country at large to achieve a better future through the values of Voice, Treaty and Truth.