Aboriginal Health Television Network Referendum ‘Yes’

Tristan Cotterill

In recognition of Reconciliation Week, 27 May to 3 June, Tonic Media Network, and its Aboriginal Health Television network, are stepping up to close the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first media company to publicly support a ‘Yes’ vote in the Voice Referendum.

With Australians being called to the polls to decide on whether a Voice to Parliament will be enshrined in the Constitution, Tonic Media Network will be fully aligning the company to support the ‘Yes’ campaign.

Tonic Media Network CEO, Richard Silverton, said the company’s Board has taken this position as stewards of the Aboriginal Health Television (AHTV) brand and network. “The mission of AHTV is to improve the health and wellbeing of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We believe a ‘Yes’ vote for the Voice will do exactly that because it gives agency to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. A neutral position, including accepting advertising from those supporting a ‘No’ vote, will only give oxygen to a ‘No’ campaign, which ultimately is in contradiction with our core purpose and mission.”

As part of the Australian Government’s commitment to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a Referendum will be held between October and December 2023 to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. The Australian population will vote on whether to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice*.

Dr Norman Swan, Australia’s most respected health journalist and broadcaster and Tonic Media Network’s co-founder and Non-Executive Director said “When there is a health and well-being gap or differential in the population, research has shown there are more than just physical causes. There are psychosocial effects brought about by what psychologists call ‘locus of control’ – an individual’s belief as to whether their destiny is controlled by themselves or external forces. If the locus of control sits externally with disadvantage, with lack of recognition, with racism, and with the inability to feel that you have a voice in public discourse, then that creates chronic stress and negative health outcomes in the body”.

Aboriginal Health Television delivers culturally appropriate and relevant education and information inside Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) across Australia’s urban, regional, and remote Indigenous communities. Statistics around the health, wellbeing, and longevity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities compared to non-Indigenous Australians, are unacceptable.

Aboriginal Health Television launched in 2018 with funding from the Federal Indigenous Health Promotion Grant. Today, via a network of 233 screens in 197 locations across urban, regional, rural and remote communities, AHTV reaches an audience of 507,493 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people Australia-wide.

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