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Submission Number
159
Participant
ACC Australia
Submission date
Main Submission File
Main Submission Automated Transcript

3 February 2021

The Hon. Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister

Uluru Statement from the Heart

The Uluru Statement from the Heart (Uluru Statement) was released on 26 May 2017 by
delegates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Referendum Convention, a
convention process that was established with bipartisan support. The statement calls for a
‘First Nations Voice’ in the Constitution of Australia and a Makarrata Commission to
supervise agreement-making and truth-telling between governments at all levels and
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Strong support for the First Nations Voice has been given by Ken Wyatt, Minister for
Indigenous Australians, Mr Phillip Ruddock, former Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Mr
Julian Leeser MP and former Deputy Liberal leader, Mr Fred Chaney AO.

The Association of Corporate Counsel – Australia (ACC), is an association of lawyers in
the in-house departments of thousands of companies, State and Federal government
departments and not for profit organisations across Australia. The ACC Australia Board
unanimously supports speaking in favour of the Uluru Statement and our ACC global
leadership is also overwhelmingly supportive of this action.

Many of our member organisations are actively seeking ways to support Indigenous and
Torres Strait Islander employees, customers and vendors as part of their business-critical
sustainability activities and because it is simply the right thing to do. ACC is encouraging
all of our members to support a referendum for the adoption of the requests in the Uluru
Statement.

ACC respectfully suggests that the following process would achieve effective
Constitutional recognition. Once a model is settled, then a referendum on the Voice
should occur. Immediately following a “Yes” vote in the referendum, Parliament would
then formalise the design and procedures of the First Nations’ Voice with enabling
Page 2 legislation. The requests put forward by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in
the Uluru Statement provide an opportunity for Australia to acknowledge our difficult
history and move forward together in a genuine process of reconciliation. ACC further
supports the requests put forth that the Voice allow for contribution and participation by
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from diverse backgrounds, and not just the voices
of established leadership figures. This latter request will help ensure that the Voice is
representative of the ever evolving needs of all our Indigenous peoples.

Growing support for the Uluru Statement’s three tenets of Voice, Treaty, Truth is
building across Australian society, from business leaders to the constituents of your
electorate. Both the Labor Party and the Australian Greens have already demonstrated
support for a First Nations’ Voice to be enshrined in the Constitution. Many corporations
and organisations in the private sector have also expressed their support.

2020 was a difficult year, 2021 will bring additional challenges. Discussions of how to
best address those challenges will require input from all Australians, and so it is critical
that Indigenous Australians are recognised and heard.

The time has come. We respectfully request that you support any motion brought to the
Parliament that establishes a referendum on this issue. Thank you for considering this
request and we await your reply on this matter. I can be contacted at t.khan@acc.com.

Yours faithfully,

Tanya Khan
Vice President & Managing Director
Australia & Asia Pacific