The Voice the topic of conversation at Reconciliation Day with the ATSIEB

Tanya and Paula standing in front of the ATSIEB banner and stall
ATSIEB Chairperson Tanya Keed and Deputy Chairperson Paula McGrady 

ATSIEB Chairperson, Tanya Keed, Deputy Chairperson, Paula McGrady, and Members Maurice Walker, and Jacob Keed, spent the day yarning with community members during the recent Reconciliation Day event at the National Arboretum, hosted by the ACT Government. At the ATSIEB stall, conversations were on their work, and how the organisation has laid foundations for the upcoming Voice referendum.

The ACT is currently the only jurisdiction in Australia with a democratically elected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice to local government.

Since the ATSIEB formed in 2008, the Elected Body have several great achievements that set a good example for how the national Voice can work on a larger scale. This was something Paula was proud to share with others at the event.

‘Since our inception until now, we have achieved positive outcomes for community, proving that a national Voice can work,’ Paula said.

‘We have mechanisms like our Public Hearings that also bring accountability to what may be lagging within local portfolios such as justice issues, transport issues, health concerns and child protection as examples.’

People gathering at the ATSIEB stall
Community members and visitors gathered at the ATSIEB stall for a yarn on important issues.


Person places a sticker on the AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia
The community marked their home location on a giant AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia

The team also connected with non-Indigenous people throughout the day on important issues raised. They were pleased there was overwhelming support for the Yes campaign among attendees, especially when they explained the spirit of the referendum and how it will benefit our children now and into the future.

Paula reported, ‘Non-Indigenous people also apologised for the racism and online abuse circling the Voice to Parliament and felt very sad and ashamed that this was happening to us.

‘It’s a people’s Voice, a people’s referendum, and it’s a step forward for all our future generations of Australian children.

‘We speak about extreme disadvantage, and we reflect on what our own communities are still struggling with the lack of.

‘We all have the responsibility to make sure the grassroots voice is at that table, this is always maintained in discussions surrounding the national Voice. After all, who best to tell our government what’s best for us than us?’

Find out more about our members, structure and how we are supporting community.

Media contact

ATSIEB Secretariat

(02) 6205 2551

Media release

28 June 2023


Acknowledgement of Country


The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body acknowledges the traditional custodians of Canberra, and those who have made it their home. We celebrate their ongoing culture and contribution to the ACT and surrounding regions.