Statement on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament

    15 September 2023

    The mission of the plant science industry is founded in supporting human rights, with our vision being to secure the most fundamental of human rights as declared by the United Nations, that every person has enough to eat.

    Today marks one-month until Australians will vote on a landmark referendum to recognise the voices and aspirations of Indigenous Australians by establishing a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous advisory body, allowing for greater consultation and collaboration in the nation’s decision-making processes. CropLife Australia, as the national peak industry organisation for the plant science sector and a leader in the agriculture and science communities, today announces its strong support for the proposed Voice to Parliament Constitutional Change in Australia.

    CropLife Australia acknowledges such a change as an important step towards reconciliation and the Voice will be an important part of recognising and valuing Australia’s First Nations people and help build unity and shared identity for the country. An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice can contribute to a more cohesive and inclusive national identity and there is a moral and ethical responsibility for contemporary Australian society to rectify past wrongs against Indigenous Australians and work towards a more inclusive future for all Australians.

    CropLife Australia recognises there is a wide range of views on this issue and we respect that. We encourage everyone to listen to voices of First Nations peoples to fully understand the proposal being put forward at the referendum and its potential impact. We also encourage the Government, and all political parties, to ensure this is an inclusive process, to recognise and accommodate concerns and differing views on the proposal, and approach this process in a cooperative and constructive manner so that it reflects the best of Australian democracy and society.

    As a science-based industry, an R&D sector and an organisation focused on crop science, CropLife especially recognises that the preservation of Traditional Knowledge is a natural advantage for Australia as we seek to develop the technologies and innovations that will assist the future prosperity of our nation. Australia’s indigenous communities have accumulated an
    immense wealth of knowledge about the native flora and its uses over thousands of years.

    This knowledge encompasses the medicinal properties of plants, sustainable land management and harvesting practices and the interconnections between plants, animals and the environment. By integrating this invaluable traditional knowledge into plant science research, we can gain a deeper understanding of native plant species, their potential applications, and their roles in maintaining ecosystem balance. Supporting the Indigenous Voice to Parliament ensures this knowledge is acknowledged, respected and preserved for future generations.

    The traditional custodians of this land have a unique and profound connection to the continent’s history, culture and environment. Their perspectives and wisdom must be an integral part of shaping the country’s future. CropLife’s support for this initiative is driven by our commitment to social responsibility, reconciliation, and fostering a more inclusive society. This aligns with CropLife and our members core values of equity, diversity, and respect.