As Chancellor of The Australian National University, I share with many Australians a deep disappointment with the outcome of the referendum. 

The Council of ANU was unequivocal in its support of constitutional recognition of the First Peoples and the establishment of the Voice. 

While the referendum resulted in a national rejection of that proposal, ANU remains committed to promoting genuine efforts to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and to fostering reconciliation, understanding and respect between all Australians. 

While I acknowledge the complexities of the referendum process and recognise that change can be difficult, there is still much to be done to ensure we continue the journey toward a more just and equitable nation that acknowledges the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, respects and values different perspectives and celebrates the cultural diversity of our nation. 

Our university is home to a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, academics and staff and we will continue to provide a warm and welcoming environment that greatly values and respects their presence and contribution to campus life. 

Through our First Nations portfolio,  led by Professor Peter Yu, we will continue to facilitate dialogue, promote cultural understanding, embrace Indigenous knowledge and support research efforts to build resilient and sustainable outcomes for Indigenous people. 

I thank our ANU community for engaging in the referendum process and demonstrating a willingness to engage with an important national issue, fostering a sense of shared responsibility for our nation’s future. 

Our staff are available to provide support, including counselling, to all members of our ANU family. Aunty Anne Martin and her team at the Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre will as always take special care of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in our community. 

Top image: Scar tree on campus. Photo: Nic Vevers/ANU

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