The Australasian Institute of Digital Health has joined more than 125 leading health and medical organisations in calling for support for the Voice to Parliament.
The alliance published an open letter to the Australian public in the media today, Monday 25 September 2023, stating a Voice to Parliament will improve health outcomes. The letter is authorised by Australians for Constitutional Recognition, as required under the Referendum Act.
The letter states:
“We speak as leading health and medical organisations who spend our professional lives dedicated to caring for all Australians.
We have considered carefully both the case for, and the case against, the proposed Voice to Parliament.
We confidently believe that the proposed Voice will enhance government decision making about matters that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ultimately improving health outcomes.
As health professionals, we witness firsthand the disparity in health outcomes between non-Indigenous Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Despite the best efforts of successive governments at all levels, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to have an average life expectancy gap of 8.2 years compared to other Australians, The Voice is an opportunity for us to make a practical difference, to ensure the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians does not continue to widen.
We encourage all Australians to actively consider the possible health and wellbeing benefits that the Voice to Parliament would have for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Just as a good clinician listens to their patient, a Voice to Parliament is about listening to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
AIDH Board position
While the AIDH Board said it recognised that members would make their own decision about their vote in the upcoming referendum, it encouraged members to consider the facts about how constitutional recognition of First Nations people in the form of a Voice could help close the gap and lead to healthier lives for our First Australians.
It said one of its three strategic priorities was to provide leadership and advocacy, including articulating its position on key topics in digital health.
AIDH Board Chair Bettina McMahon emailed AIDH Members on Friday on behalf of the Board of Directors explaining that the Institute supported a yes vote for the Voice and stating constitutional recognition of First Nations people in the form of a Voice could help close the gap and lead to healthier lives for our First Australians.
“The AIDH was recently invited to co-sign an open letter with other health and medical peak associations in support of a ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum,” she said.
“The AIDH Board of Directors considered this invitation with regard to our vision, purpose and strategic priorities.
“Our vision is Healthier lives, digitally enabled and our purpose is to be the independent voice of digital health leadership and expertise to achieve healthier lives, digitally enabled.
“The topic of health outcomes for First Nations people is one that our community is engaged in, evidenced by multiple sessions at MedInfo that considered ways in which digital technologies could address health outcome inequities with First Nations people.
“The importance of co-design and listening to the lived experience of First Nations people is undisputed as central to work in this area.
“The Board considers that the proposed federal Voice to Parliament is consistent with the accepted approach of co-design.
“It is also the Board’s view that it is appropriate for the AIDH to publicly state a position on this matter.
“One of our three strategic priorities is to provide leadership and advocacy, including articulating our position on key topics in digital health.
“The Board recognises that members will make their own decision about their vote in the upcoming referendum.
“We hope to see informed and respectful debate and encourage members to consider the facts about how constitutional recognition of First Nations people in the form of a Voice could help close the gap and lead to healthier lives for our First Australians.”
Further information about the upcoming referendum is available on the Voice website.