2318

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Submission Number
2318
Participant
The Benevolent Society
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

National Indigenous Australians Agency
Voice Secretariat
PO Box 2191
Canberra ACT 2600
Co-designVoice@niaa.gov.au

28 April 2021

Dear Sir/Madam

The Benevolent Society joins the 70 per cent of Australians surveyed supporting First Nations
peoples’ constitutional recognition and the 60.7 per cent that also support the Voice to
Parliament proposal, as stated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. As Australia’s oldest
charity we feel as an organisation, that it is incumbent on us to stand beside our First Nations
Peoples in their unprecedented and judicious call for a First Nations Voice to Parliament to be
enshrined in the Australian Constitution.

An inclusive Australian society based on equality, that advances the economic, political and
social inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to achieve parity in life
outcomes, can only occur when First Nations Peoples stand in their rightful place in direct
dialogue with the Australian Parliament. We believe that a Voice to Parliament will provide
what The Benevolent Society has been honoured to experience; that experience being that to
advance genuine reconciliation, the wisdom, leadership, strength and resilience of the world’s
oldest living culture is an imperative in establishing and then maintaining an inclusive Australian
society.

We believe and will advocate persistently that a Voice to Parliament is both critical and
essential, if we as a nation want to accomplish equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples and thereby thrive in whole-of -life outcomes, within our Australian society.

We strongly advocate for structural reforms including constitutional change. In the spirit of the
Uluru Statement from the Heart, we support a First Nations Voice to Parliament to be enshrined
in the Constitution as a matter of priority so that we can truly advance reconciliation. benevolent.org.au
The Benevolent Society requests that;

1. The Government honour its election commitment to a referendum once a model for the
Voice has been settled to ensure that a First Nations Voice to Parliament is protected by
the Constitution;

2. The Government enable legislation for the Voice to be passed after a referendum has
been held in the next term of Parliament; and

3. The membership model for the National Voice must ensure previously unheard
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being selected as
established leadership figures.

Yours faithfully

Tim Beresford, Chair Jo Toohey, CEO

Kathleen Conlon, Director Christine Feldmanis, Director

Nancy Milne, Director Charles Prouse, Director

Andrew Yates, Director Rod Young, Director benevolent.org.au