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Statement on the Voice to Parliament referendum

The Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) is an organisation that celebrates the rich tradition of storytelling and ideas, where readers and writers exchange thoughts and opinions, perspectives, and philosophies, creating a powerful community based on respectful debate. SWF acknowledges that First Nations people are the original storytellers of our country, and we strive to learn from their traditions in our everyday work.

SWF acknowledges that our organisation is on the land of the Gadigal people. First Nations writers, readers, and storytellers from around Australia have shared their stories, work, and thoughts on our stages.   

In 2017, over 250 First Nations Delegates gathered to put their signatures on the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It invites Australia to create a better future through a three-part process that begins with recognising First Nations people with a Voice enshrined in the Constitution. We recognise that the creation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart was extensive and collaborative.

The Sydney Writers’ Festival organisation acknowledges the significant invitation presented by First Nations people in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the historical importance of this opportunity. SWF considers the referendum to be an opportunity to shape the future of Australia, and collectively, we express our endorsement of the YES campaign in the referendum.

We acknowledge and respect that differing views exist within the Sydney Writers’ Festival community. This endorsement is not an expectation that our extended community will vote in a particular way or advocate for a YES vote. By its very nature, Sydney Writers’ Festival is a place where many different ideas, experiences and stories co-exist.

We respect the importance of empowering First Nations writers and storytellers to define and communicate their individual views on this issue and acknowledge the community’s diverse perspectives on the proposition. We encourage everyone to read, listen and inform themselves on the topic, approaching the coming months with acceptance, open-mindedness, and respectful exchange.

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