Submission for Co-design process
I am a solicitor practising in commercial law and I am passionate about meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous Australians. I welcome the opportunity to respond to the Interim Report to the Australian Government on Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process (October 2020).
The Uluru Statement from the Heart represents the united position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and it is important that we are guided by this consensus when making decision that impact them. The Uluru Statement has called for a Voice to Parliament to be enshrined in the Constitution to empower First Nations people to have a say on the issues affecting them.
The Voice to Parliament must be enshrined in the Constitution to give it legitimacy and ensure that it is protected from being abolished by Parliament. Previous representative bodies established through legislation have been abolished by the Government, including the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee, the National Aboriginal Congress, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. It is not enough for the Voice to Parliament to be established by legislation, it needs and deserves the status of being enshrined in the Constitution.
A Voice to Parliament is a fair and meaningful step towards reconciliation. We cannot move forwards without constitutional recognition and giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a Voice to Parliament. Working towards reconciliation bring together the community and Australia.
With disproportionate rates of incarceration, child mortality, suicide and lower life expectancy, it is crucial that Indigenous Australians have a voice on health, education and government support policies to close this gap.
It is time for meaningful steps towards reconciliation and to listen to the clear calls from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.