Local Interfaith leaders committed support for a YES vote

More than 100 leaders from across many local faith and cultural grass-roots community organisations have committed their support for a YES vote in the upcoming Voice referendum.

The gathering took place at the 14th Annual Interfaith Dinner 2023 co-hosted at Punchbowl community Centre on 9th May 2023 by the Canterbury Bankstown Harmony Group and Riverwood Community Centre. The theme for this year’s dinner was “Hope and Tolerance”.

The Hon Tony Burke, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Minister for the Arts., along with Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Muhamad, gave keynote speeches both reflecting on the similarities among people of faith and describing a constitutionally guaranteed Voice as “modest, practical and fair”.

“I would urge our local community to vote yes – as a multicultural nation, Mr Burke said

“Certainly, the lived experience of many people in our part of Sydney is the lived experience that exactly points to why we would want to vote yes.”

The Chairperson of CB Harmony group Clr Khodr Saleh said, “As leaders of diverse multicultural community organisations, we endorse the Uluru Statement and its call for a First Nations voice guaranteed by the Constitution”.

“By saying YES to changing our constitution to devote an Indigenous Voice to Parliament we will accept an invitation from First Nations Australians to walk together to build a better future.

“To say it’s time to change is an understatement. We finally have an opportunity to change this, and we cannot let it pass”. Clr Saleh Add

Many political and religious leaders were present at the gathering including NSW Member Of Canterbury Sophie Cotsis, Rev Fr Louis Ferkh, Superior of St Charbel’s Mission, Sheikh Youssef Nabha Imam of the Al Rahman Mosque Kingsgrove, Mayor of Canterbury Bankstown council Bilal Hayek,  Rev. Graeme Watkins from Lakemba Uniting Church, Rev. Heather Joyce Topp, Djiringanj Elder Uncle John Dixon, Thida Yang from Multicultural NSW and Wally Mehanna from the CB Chamber of commerce. Representatives from many religious communities also attended including Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs ,  Baha’is, Mandaean and more .