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Submission Number
The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

ABN 42 931 784 103

27 April 2021

Indigenous Voice Co-Design Groups
Voice Secretariat
Reply Paid 83380

To Co-Design Body

Co-design process: Submission for Eveline Crotty RSM

As Institute Leader of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New
Guinea, with a membership of nearly 700 Sisters and 100 staff, I am writing to express
my support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart’s request for an Indigenous Voice that
is protected in the Constitution.
I am one of many Sisters of Mercy who have walked alongside Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Peoples at the grass roots, both in direct service and in supporting
structural change to improve conditions for Indigenous people in Australia. My own
experience extends for decades working closely with the Aboriginal community of
Redfern, NSW. Other Sisters have worked tirelessly in regional and remote Aboriginal
communities. We have learned from and celebrated their ancient wisdom, witnessed the
impact of their unjust intergenerational suffering over the last two hundred and thirty-three
years, and committed ourselves to the long road of advocacy toward reconciliation and
Whilst I understand that there are many voices and opinions across Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Peoples, I support a constitutionally enshrined voice for Indigenous
peoples. That voice will safeguard the right of self-determination and enhance the
participation of Indigenous peoples in the democratic life of Australia.
I urge the government to select and implement proposed models of an Indigenous Voice
in full consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, in the next stage of
the Co-Design Process.
It is concerning to note that the Co-Design groups were prevented from making
recommendations on Constitutional recognition to enshrine the Indigenous Voice. The
reports of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Peoples held that the Indigenous Voice Co-Design process
needed to be completed before discussing its legal form. The primary function of the
Voice as a body is that it should inform legislative processes.
The Voice should be protected from any changes in decision by future governments
through constitutional enshrinement. It is also my hope that the membership model for
the National Voice will ensure previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people have the same chance of being selected as established leadership figures.

Institute Centre - Stanmore

33 Myrtle Street
Stanmore NSW 2048
PO Box 284 Petersham NSW 2049
P 02 9572 5400 F 02 9560 5435 E institute@ismapng.org.au
I encourage the government to actively show support for an Indigenous Voice and to
educate the wider Australian public, to ensure the success of its constitutional
enshrinement at a referendum. A constitutionally enshrined Voice cannot happen without
bipartisan support, and I call for a spirit of openness to listen to and join with our
Indigenous sisters and brothers in their call for voice, for treaty and for truth telling of our
shared past.
Thank you,
Eveline Crotty RSM
Institute Leader

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