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Submissions: Your Feedback

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Submission Number
132
Participant
Andrew Dunn
Submission date

I am writing in response to the Interim Report to the Australian Government on the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process.
To have validity, acceptance and effectiveness, I believe that it is imperative that the final design of the Indigenous Voice includes diverse and far-reaching representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people so that the voices from those most in need, most impacted and typically unheard can also be included. A lean, simple-to-administer model of no more than 20 members, which is more likely to include the usual, established leadership figures, has less chance of being broadly embraced.
A larger membership model which includes the widest representation of voices as possible may be more complex to achieve, but will better serve diverse peoples, lands, issues and concerns, with the long-term benefits far outweighing the costs.
While outside the terms of reference of the Co-Design Committee, I implore the government to honour its commitment to hold a referendum to give the Voice an opportunity of becoming enshrined in our Constitution. Then enabling legislation should be passed, knowing that sensible modifications can always be made to the operation of the Voice by future legislation.
I support the process that the final model of the Voice needs to be satisfactorily settled before it is put to a referendum, so that the Australian people know what they are voting for. However, I am greatly concerned that the explanation of the model will be so complex that people will vote against it out of fear of change and uncertainty. The Interim Report is already over 200 pages of detail.
I am hopeful that the final model can be summarised into a line or two that as many people as possible can clearly understand and embrace, because it simply sounds fair and right.
When I first heard about the Uluru Statement, I thought it was the most beautiful and profound gift from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We can only heal and be enriched as a country by carefully listening to and empowering the people who embody over 60,000 years of continuing culture and identity. It is up to us to humbly accept the gift, and to permanently protect it as part of our nation’s fundamental principles.
It would be a monumental step on the path towards Makarrata.