Submission on the Indigenous Voice Co-design Interim Report
I am a non-Indigenous person born in Australia and have European heritage. I grew up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney and was the first person in my family to attend university. I am now a practising lawyer and have had the privilege of working with and learning from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and colleagues.
Hearing the Uluru Statement from the Heart for the first time had a profound impact on me. I have read it many times since then and its impact never diminishes. Many of my family members tell me it has had the same impact on them.
I acknowledge that the Terms of Reference do not permit the Advisory Group to make recommendations on constitutional recognition. However, in making this submission I am accepting the invitation made in the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
A constitutionally enshrined voice is the only form of the Voice supported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This is incredibly important. In my view, it is the role of Government, of lawyers and of the broader Australian community to support a process, led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, towards achieving this. This includes helping to remove any barriers that may stand in the way.
I genuinely believe that constitutional enshrinement of the Voice is the only truly meaningful and effective way in which we can begin to correct the overwhelming disadvantage we have caused to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since colonisation. A constitutionally enshrined voice will give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the structural power that is needed to influence the laws that affect them, often disproportionately.
I sincerely hope that our Government will carefully consider this submission and the many others made in support of a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament and walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to help achieve it.