Hundreds of UOW staff form a giant Yes on the lawns of Wollongong campus. Photo: Tad Souden

Giant ‘Yes’ at Wollongong Campus demonstrates support for Indigenous Voice to Parliament

Giant ‘Yes’ at Wollongong Campus demonstrates support for Indigenous Voice to Parliament

Staff, students join in creative community event at important time in history

The University of Wollongong (UOW) continued to demonstrate its commitment to truth telling, healing, and an equitable future for all with a community event in support of Indigenous Constitutional recognition and the Voice to Parliament.

Hundreds of staff and students from across the University today (Wednesday 20 September) joined together to create a giant, human-formed ‘Yes’ on the grounds of Wollongong Campus.

The formation was captured by drone and shared across UOW’s communication channels, in support of the Yes campaign ahead of the referendum next month (14 October).

Vice-President (Indigenous Strategy and Engagement) and Director of Woolyungah Indigenous Centre, Jaymee Beveridge, said it was a fun, creative way for the UOW community to show their support and solidarity for the Voice to Parliament and for Constitutional reform.

“In 2023, the efforts of many years of consultation, listening and wordsmithing, has presented us with an opportunity for Constitutional recognition. The introduction of an entity (Voice) to provide advice and solutions on matters relating to our people is long overdue. Bureaucrats and politicians should not continue to make decisions about us – without us,” Ms Beveridge said.

The University’s support of the Voice to Parliament reflects its commitment to First Nations students and staff, and ongoing support for the process of truth-telling and Constitutional reform that underpins the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Voice to Parliament would recognise the place of First Nations peoples in the Constitution and provide a permanent representation on policies, decisions, and laws that affect their lives.

UOW last year (April 2022) pledged its support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, with a formal statement approved by the University Council.  

UOW staff hold Yes signs at Wollongong Campus, with the giant blow up duck in the background. Photo: Tad Souden Staff and student show their support for the Voice to Parliament at Wollongong Campus.  

UOW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M. Davidson said the event was an  imaginative way to bring the community together to express support for the Yes vote.

“This is an important time in our history. UOW, as an institution, strongly supports Constitutional recognition and an Indigenous Voice to Parliament as a fair, pragmatic, and unifying move for our country.

“Coming together to form a giant ‘Yes’ on campus was a great opportunity to gather with likeminded and passionate peers to talk, listen, recognise, and help make history.”

UOW’s Student Advisory Council (SAC) executive members also provided students with an opportunity to issue a Statement of Support for the Voice to Parliament, with council representatives presenting individual statements to Woolyungah Indigenous Centre in a formal ceremony after the community event.

The University launched the UOW Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2022-2024, which aims to build stronger relationships between First Nations peoples and non-First Nations peoples that benefit all Australians.