Atlassian’s Submission to the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process:
Interim Report to the Australian Government
Reply Paid 83380
CANBERRA ACT 2601
By email: Co-designVoice@niaa.gov.au
29 April 2021
Atlassian appreciates this opportunity to provide a submission in response to the Interim
Report to the Australian Government: Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process.
We acknowledge the work of the three co-design committees and their co-chairs Professor
Marcia Langton AM and Professor Tom Calma AO, and the significant effort undertaken to
date on the co-design process for the Indigenous Voice. We also make this submission in
support of, and informed by, the historic consensus expressed through the Uluru Statement
from the Heart (the Uluru Statement) and its invitation for all Australians to walk together
“in a movement of the Australian people for a better future”.
At Atlassian, we build enterprise software products to help teams collaborate, including for
software development, project management and content management. Our commitment to
collaboration extends beyond our own products and solutions, to ensuring that we all do
our part and work together to achieve social and environmental progress in everything we
do. As an Australian-born company, we also recognise the unique status of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples in our country’s history, and their importance to its future.
We believe that all Australians, including those in the private sector like Atlassian, have a
responsibility to promote and facilitate reconciliation in a way that centres the voices of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The consensus views of the Uluru Statement,
calling for a Voice to Parliament that is enshrined in the Constitution, reflect an important
and practical first step towards fulfilling this responsibility.
We therefore strongly support a referendum to enshrine the Voice in the Constitution,
once the model for the Voice has been settled. Constitutional enshrinement of the Voice
reflects the consensus position set forth in the Uluru Statement. Critically, enshrining the
Voice in the Constitution will not mean that the details of the Voice will be fixed. Instead,
the existence and function of the Voice will be protected and permitted to operate
independently, without risk of abolition through legislation and in a way that supports self-
determination. This lends legitimacy, authority and trust to the Voice and ensures its
ongoing stability and viability.
Once the current co-design process has released its Final Report, we accordingly call for
the commencement of the next stage of enactment of the Voice as follows:
● the release of an exposure draft of the enabling legislation for the Voice (but not its
passage), so that Australians can see and understand exactly what the Voice will
look like before the referendum is held;
● the release of the draft constitutional amendment that will be put to the Australian
people at a referendum; and
● confirmation of a pathway to referendum in the next term of Parliament.
We emphasise that this referendum should be held before the enabling legislation is
passed. If the legislation is passed first, this effectively divorces the two critical elements
to realising the proposal set forth in the Uluru Statement and could jeopardise the success
of the referendum.
Finally, we also endorse the recommendations and submissions from others, including
From the Heart and the Diversity Council of Australia, that the central role of all
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to reconciliation means that the membership
model of the Voice must be robust, evidence based and account for the diversity of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. This means that previously
unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must have the same chance of being
heard as established leadership figures.
Atlassian recognises that, like many other Australian organisations and all Australian
citizens, we have a lot of work to do in moving towards reconciliation. We consider the
matters raised in this submission to be an important -- but above all an initial -- step in this
direction. We also remain focused on reconciliation as part of our diversity, equity and
inclusion plans for the coming financial year, and we look forward to working with the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to realise these goals.
David Masters Shelley Williamson
Director of Global Policy & Regulatory Affairs Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion