ZEN says YES.
27 September 2023
ZEN Energy says Yes to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice and the full implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
It is important and consistent with our purpose and values that ZEN takes this position.
Australia’s Constitution is 122 years old and still does not recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first peoples of this continent.
The Voice is an act of recognition of the first peoples of this land we share, giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a say over the things that affect them.
Listening to First Nations peoples can help drive better and fairer outcomes for individuals, families and communities: for health, housing, and more. And drive better outcomes for all Australians, including our cultural heritage, the wellbeing of our communities, and for the health of our unique landscapes.
In 2023, ZEN launched its inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Our RAP is guiding an ongoing process of education, of Truth Telling and learning for our people. Our vision for Reconciliation is a united one, where we come together and embrace opportunities to learn, to grow and transform, and heal together as a nation. We see the Voice as a vital step in this process.
ZEN acknowledges that First Nations peoples of Australia hold unique knowledge and rights inherited from their ancestors and the land. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded, that colonisation was unjust and often violent, and that history casts a long shadow over First Nations peoples today.
Rightful recognition of, and genuine reconciliation with, First Nations peoples is crucial to meaningful action on climate change, as well as the care and protection of our unique nature and landscapes.
Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is a widely recognised and studied Indigenous science of humanity’s relationship with the natural world – one that exists in some form or other across more than 5,000 Indigenous cultures.
TEK is a cultural belief system, a way of knowing, through engaging with the natural environment, weather systems, the power of plants, migrations of animals and lifecycles: gathering data, testing hypotheses, and communicating through many forms and across generations. Everything is interconnected, a collaborative eco-system.
As the first scientists and environmentalists, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have looked after Country since time immemorial. But for too long, we have refused to hear or take up their advice. When we listen to each other, share our knowledge and work together, we all benefit.
Some First Nations advocates do not think the proposal will create sufficient change. ZEN agrees that change needs to be much bigger than this – and we see a representative body as a step in the right direction, moving us towards bigger change.
There are two key steps in this process. First, we vote – on October 14. Second, First Nations communities will get to make sure the model is truly representative.
The Voice will empower First Nations communities to have a say in their own destiny. And it will be a joyful moment for all Australians to recognise and respect Australia’s First Peoples.
ZEN supports the collective call from First Nations peoples for Voice, Treaty and Truth.
ZEN says Yes.