Vic LGBTIQ+ Commissioner on the next steps after No vote

Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities Todd Fernando
Image: Supplied

Victoria’s Commissioner For LGBTIQ+ Communities Todd Fernando has spoken about the “new era” that must follow Australia’s ‘no’ vote to the Indigenous Voice To Parliament.

Todd Fernando is a Kalarie man from the Wiradjuri Nation, and he’s held the state role in Victoria since 2021.

On Sunday, Fernando said he was “truly devastated” after the 60% No vote in Saturday’s referendum. But in a message of h0pe, said the community will “move forward”.

“I’m truly devastated for the hope that was an Australia where we walked, arm in arm, together,” he said.

“But I am grateful for the lesson we needed to learn: to sit and yarn with each other in much more meaningful and truthful ways.

“The majority of Australians told the truth: they didn’t know, so they voted no.”

Todd Fernando wrote on Facebook, “We will all live with, and have to accept the decision that was made.

“But for now, many First Nations will enter some form of sorry business – because our healing will be private and done in our own cultural ways.”

Todd Fernando shared a message from Indigenous leaders who backed the Voice, calling for “a week of silence”.

“So begins a week of silence, to mourn the decades of advocacy. Then we move forward, together, because this moment demands we do,” he said.

“And when we do move forward, we will move into a new era, from Reconciliation to Truth-telling.”

Greens call for a national truth-telling process

In May 2021, Todd’s home state of Victoria established the Yoorrook Justice Commission. The state inquiry, an Australian first, has the powers of a Royal Commission.

Yoorrook’s public hearings have heard, recorded and addressed First Peoples’ experiences of colonisation in Victoria from 1788 to now.

Following Saturday’s result, the Greens called on the federal government to establish a similar Truth and Justice commission nationally.

“This nation needs to have an honest and informed discussion about its history so we can speak the truth, heal and move forward together,” First Nations spokesperson Dorinda Cox said.

“Until we tell the truth about our past and begin work towards a Treaty with First Nations people that recognises our sovereignty, there will be a painful hole in the centre of our democracy.”

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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