Council of Single Mothers and their Children is supporting voting Yes in the upcoming referendum to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
CSMC was formed to support single mothers and their children and to fight for them to be heard. While our efforts in the 1970s have largely relieved the pressure on single mothers to relinquish their children, many First Nations mothers are still subject to unfair surveillance, cultural judgements and even removal of their children.
We are still fighting today for single mothers to be heard, and for the voices of lived experience to be part of policy making in income support, family law, housing, employment and children’s wellbeing. Robodebt is a significant example in what can go disastrously wrong when the voices of the people who will be affected by a policy are not listened to.
First Nations people face gaps in health, education and life expectancy that are not closing fast enough. Currently 41 per cent of Indigenous families with children under 15 years are headed by a single mother. As single mothers ourselves, we reflect that alongside our strengths and resilience, single mothers face multiple challenges, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander single mothers even more.
We believe The Voice will provide a permanent and practical way for Indigenous communities to advise the Australian Parliament and Government on matters that affect them.