Ahead of the upcoming referendum for a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament in Australia, the Indian diaspora in the country has launched the ‘Desis for Yes’ campaign. This initiative aims to engage with South Asian Australians, including families, communities, and businesses, in order to foster a deeper understanding of the referendum. By ensuring that community members are well-informed about the vote, Desis for Yes seeks to garner support for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
During NAIDOC Week 2023, the focus is on honoring the knowledge, struggles, and sacrifices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders for the betterment of their kin, families, and communities.
Dr. Shireen Morris, a constitutional lawyer and the director of the Radical Centre Reform Lab, highlighted the significant support for a Yes vote in the Voice referendum. More than 150 multicultural community organisations have already signed up at multiculturalforvoice.org to endorse the campaign, with new sign-ups occurring daily. This inclusive movement encompasses various South Asian community organisations, indicating a growing and substantial level of goodwill within this segment of the population.
“Support will only grow as awareness and understanding of the need for Indigenous constitutional recognition increases. It is fantastic to see so many South Asian Australians stepping up to be part of the campaign,” she added.
Co-Convenor of Desis for Yes and Co-Chair of the Sydney Alliance, Nishadh Rego said, “the upcoming referendum, Australia’s first in the twenty-first century, is a unique opportunity for South Asian Australians to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities as they seek constitutional recognition and a say on issues that affect them. So many of us in the diaspora are interested in the referendum and inevitably have questions about what it means and what its consequences will be.”
“In response, Desis for Yes will work within our communities to strengthen awareness and understanding of the referendum and build connection to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which outlines a path towards a fairer and more inclusive future for indigenous Australians,” said Rego.
Co-Convenor of Desis for Yes and lawyer, Khushaal Vyas said “South Asian communities are passionate about improving the lives of First Nations communities. However, many have not had the opportunity to learn about the history that has resulted in the barriers that Indigenous Australians face today. It’s a history South Asians can resonate with given the impacts of colonialism are also still felt today in the subcontinent.”