QANTAS: Commits to supporting ‘yes’ vote for constitutional change to include an Indigenous Voice to Parliament
Qantas has confirmed that it will support the Yes Campaign in the upcoming referendum for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. To that end, it will paint three Qantas group aircraft in a special Yes campaign livery. During Alan Joyce’s leadership of the airline, it has adopted similarly progressive views on many matters. This includes the Australian Equal Marriage campaign resulting in the legalisation of same-sex marriage in December 2017.
The ‘Yes23’ livery will be displayed on a Qantas Boeing 737, a QantasLink Dash 8 Turboprop and a Jetstar Airbus A320.
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Australia is in the throws of a referendum campaign to include an ‘Indigenous Voice to Parliament’ as set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The statement was the result of meetings of First Nations people across Australia requesting:
- A Voice enshrined in the constitution so that Australian First Nations people will be consulted about laws and policies that affect them
- A Makarata Commission (the coming together after a struggle) be set up to encourage truth-telling about Australian indigenous history and agreement-making between First National and the government
“We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.”Uluru Statement from the Heart
The referendum is expected in October 2023 and will insert the following words into the constitution.
Chapter IX Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:
- there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
- the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- the Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.
Qantas and the Yes campaign
CEO Alan Joyce has publicly supported First National reconciliation initiatives throughout his leadership.
“Qantas has a long history of supporting reconciliation with First Nations people, from the Aboriginal artwork on our inflight magazine in the 1960s and on our aircraft since the 1990s, to our support for constitutional recognition in 2014, public support of the Uluru Statement of the Heart 2019, and our First Nations employment and supplier commitments. We’re supporting the Yes23 campaign because we believe a formal voice to government will help close the gap for First Nations people in important areas like health, education and employment. “Alan Joyce, CEO Qantas Group
Changing the livery of three aircraft to reflect the airline’s support for the Yes campaign, is only one aspect. Qantas will provide practical support by providing travel for the Yes23 campaign and the Uluru Dialogue teams in their engagement with regional and remote Australians leading up to the referendum.
The proposed constitutional change is not in itself the solution to First Nations’ disadvantage. But it is an important initiating step that will allow Aboriginal communities to communicate their needs and solutions direct to the government.
Qantas should be lauded for this support and the practical services they provide to the campaign.