2426

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Submission Number
2426
Participant
Australian Catholic University - Social Work
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

April 2021

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

Dear Prime Minister

Uluru Statement from the Heart

In am writing to you on behalf of the social work team at Australian Catholic University (ACU). 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.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we are privileged to work and learn, and
we pay respect to the First Nations Peoples and their Elders; past, present and future. Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people have invited universities to walk alongside them as they work towards the powerful
and necessary objective of the Uluru Statement. We wholeheartedly accept this invitation with humility, and
respect, so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can take their rightful place in this nation.

As social workers, we are determined to be part of a future that actively seeks social justice for all.
Australian social workers are bound by three core principles, one of them being social justice. As
professionals who work to address social inequality, we are acutely aware of the material and real-life
impacts of the disempowerment of First Nations’ people. We are also acutely aware of the benefits of
recognition and full participation of first Nations’ in affairs that impact them directly.

We believe that a permanent institution is necessary for First Nations’ views to be recognised and heard in
parliament, and for First Nations’ people to have a platform to express important issues affecting them. We
believe that constitutional recognition and the idea of a Voice to parliament are intimately tied together, and
cannot be separated, for true justice to take place.
We respectfully suggest 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 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. We further support 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 Indigenous peoples.

The Uluru Statement is a necessary step to ensure justice for First Nation people. We believe that First
Nations Voice should be protected and listened to, to benefit current and future generations. We stand in
solidarity with and for a constitutional enshrinement of a First Nations Voice.

The time has come. We respectfully request that you support any motion brought to the Parliament that
establishes a referendum on this issue.

Yours Sincerely

Professor Suzanne Hodgkin
Head of Discipline: Social Work

School of Allied Health

Australian Catholic University

Brisbane Campus, 1100 Nudgee Road, Banyo, QLD, 4014

PO Box 456 Virginia Queensland, 4014

P: 0736237754

E: suzanne.hodgkin@acu.edu.au

W: www.acu.edu.au