Artwork © Richard Allan
The Australian Library and Information Association acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to lands, waters, cultures, and communities. ALIA acknowledges Indigenous knowledge systems and ways of knowing that have existed on these Lands for millennia. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to Elders past and present.
Referendum on the Voice to Parliament
There will be a referendum vote on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament on 14 October 2023. To support library staff prepare and think through strategies for the wellbeing of First Nations staff and library communities, ALIA has prepared a risk assessment template and toolkit for libraries, which can be found in Member Resources.
Libraries are here to direct people to information resources, help provide access to quality information about the referendum and support understanding of mis and disinformation. The NSW Aboriginal Land Council has a simple and clear factsheet on mis and disinformation.
Below are election resources that are freely available to everyone and can help inform and promote understanding about how referenda function, the question being put to Australian citizens, and the issues at stake. Wellbeing resources are included to spread awareness of their availability and importance at this time.
The Australian Electoral Commission website consolidates information about how to enrol, or check enrolment, instructions on how to vote, and sets out the referendum timetable.
The Australian Government Voice webpage outlines the official statements about what an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice would do and how it would be set up. You can also download information pamphlets, posters, fact sheets, and videos in eight First Nations languages and sixteen non-Indigenous languages including Auslan.
The Australian Human Rights Commission webpage provides a view of the referendum from a human rights perspective as well as a host of resources, and a resource kit.
Museum of Australian Democracy (MOAD) hosts a Referendums A – Z resource.
The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) Voice webpage holds a range of information. You can also read the proposed constitutional amendment and the Voice design principles in full.
Reconciliation Australia provides a series of resources and rich information about the referendum as well as about disinformation and fact-checking resources.
SBS have resources in Auslan about the referendum and information about the referendum in twenty-one First Nations languages and over sixty non-Indigenous languages.
NITV (National Indigenous Television) have a range of videos and interviews about the Voice referendum from all positions on the political spectrum.
13YARN is a culturally safe First Nations crisis support line. You can call on 13 92 76 for free, confidential one-on-one yarning opportunity with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Wellmob hosts social, emotional and cultural resources, developed by and for First Nations people. This includes websites, apps, podcasts, videos, social media, and online counselling with a focus on social and emotional wellbeing.
is a mobile app designed to support the wellbeing of First Nations young people, aged 12-25. The AIMhi-Y app is available for download on mobile devices via the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android)
The eSafety Commission
hosts a suite of resources for First Nations digital wellbeing, including practical actions to protect yourself online, and ways to report harmful content on the internet.
The Australian Government Department of Health
has a support service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, acknowledging that discussions about the Voice can be detrimental to wellbeing.
Mental Health Australia
is one of the Allies for Uluru
and provides information and resources for individuals and the mental health sector to have safe, respectful conversations.
ALIA’s vision is for an Australia where library and information services are fully inclusive of Australia’s First Nation’s cultures and perspectives, truth telling is supported, and where First Nations peoples are an integral part of the Australian library services workforce.
In the context of our organisation, this means engaging meaningfully with First Nations’ workers in the library and information sector, removing barriers to a more diverse and inclusive library and information workforce, and supporting the implementation of First Nations’ policies and protocols in the Australian library and information sector.
Libraries and archives are not always safe spaces for Indigenous peoples in Australia. There are concrete efforts towards cultural safety, however, progress has been inconsistent and ununified, and if libraries and memory institutions are to be representative of the communities they serve, greater efforts are needed.
ALIA values the creation of strong, enduring and meaningful relationships that help us better understand how ALIA can effectively be of support in realising our vision.
Areas of activity
- ALIA has facilitated the formation of an Expert Advisory Group made up of seven members. ALIA is listening to the group’s professional expertise related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander priority areas on LIS matters.
- The ALIA Strategic Plan 2021-2024 sets out the task to support organisations seeking to increase diversity within their workforces and help develop libraries’ role as culturally safe spaces.
- The Professional Pathways project is committed to embedding recognition and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contexts, knowledges and Country into core competencies. The Professional Pathways Framework was created in close collaboration with the ALIA EAG.
- The ALIA Innovate RAP 2022-2024 was endorsed by Reconciliation Australia in 2022. Implementation of the RAP firms ALIA’s organisational commitment to reconciliation and provides a central focus for the many ways we contribute to affirmative reconciliation action.
- Indigenous matters are included in the Foundation knowledge for entry level library and information professionals (2020) and in the Foundation statement for information professionals working in archives, libraries and records management (2020).
- In ALIA's statement on copyright and intellectual property, ALIA recognises and respects the communal ownership of Indigenous cultural property.
- ALIA supported the original ATSILIRN protocols and is currently taking steps to support the review and revitalisation of the Protocols.
- The ALIA CPD Scheme hosts an Indigenous Engagement specialisation and a Public Library specialisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, both with a set of competencies and a skills audit checklist. The monthly CPD Digest newsletter provides ALIA Professional members with current learning resources related to this specialisation.
- Internationally, ALIA provided initial support for the creation of the IFLA Section for Indigenous Matters and continues to be a financial member of the section.
- Every ALIA conference, event and meeting commences with an Acknowledgement of Country or a Welcome to Country where appropriate.
- ALIA is a long-term supporter of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, providing free promotion through ALIA newsletters and conferences.