Submissions: Your Feedback

Submissions from people and organisations who have agreed to have their feedback published are provided below.

The views expressed in these submissions belong to their authors. The National Indigenous Australians Agency reserved the right not to publish submissions, or parts of submissions, that include, for example, material that is offensive, racist, potentially defamatory, personal information, is a copy of previously provided materials, or does not relate to the consultation process.

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Submission Number
Regina Featherstone
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

29 April 2021

I am a non Indigenous, 28 year old community lawyer, living and working on Gadigal land but I
grew up on Wiradjuri land in NSW. This same place I call home has been lived on and cared for
by First Nations peoples for more than 60,000 years. I acknowledge their kinship, their care and
their spiritual connection to the land. I make this submission for the consideration of the
Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart and its proposed constitutional recognition are critical if
Australia has any chance of healing and progress in the future. This is a roadmap which has
been gifted by our First Nations peoples to help us get to where we need to go. I see no
alternative but to support constitutional recognition and a constitutionally enshrined Voice to
Parliament. As a lawyer and an Australian, I do not see how substantive rights can be truly
given unless they are constitutionally protected. It is a positive step forward to create lasting
change for our First Nations’ peoples by way of political and legal pluralism that is long overdue.

I understand the Uluru Statement from the Heart provides a way for First Nations
representatives to communicate issues directly with parliament and work on creating positive
change from within their own communities, being supported by the government and its
resources. To my knowledge, nothing like this exists at this stage. This is a significant
opportunity to have meaningful inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to
create political empowerment for a group that has been disenfranchised for so long with
resources and a platform.

I want my Parliament and my country’s progress to be informed by the traditional custodians of
this land. I want decisions made about our future to include the Voice of First Nations people
and their experiences. All Australians benefit from the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the Voice
to Parliament and the Makaratta Commission. With these steps, it is hoped we can close the
gaps in systemic inequalities which exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to
create a more equal society for everyone to meaningfully participate in.

I submit to the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process:
1. The Government must 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

This referendum must be well funded, advertised and fair in its representation of the
issues at hand. For some Australians, this is a controversial issue, that lends itself to
conservative bias and fear mongering in the media which could damage any chance at
success. I go beyond my support for the Government to honour its election commitment
to a referendum and call on the Government to ensure fair representation of the issue -
without othering or identity politics.

2. Enabling legislation for the Voice must be passed after a referendum has been held in the
next term of Parliament; and

There has already been too long a delay in the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples in our country. There is no reason for further impediments. The Uluru
Statement from the Heart is clear: referendum first and legislation on the Voice second.
First Nations people are clear that this constitutional recognition cannot be symbolic, and
this is imperative, it must be followed with action - with a Voice and operational, tangible
results for change.

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.

The membership must be diverse in its representation. It must be able to amplify the
voices of community leaders at grass roots levels and to not prejudice anyone based on
past criminal records . It would also need to be flexible to the different needs or cultural
practices of the varied myriad First Nations communities.

I defer to First Nations communities to assess for themselves the bests means that
selection takes place under models 1 and 2 within the proposal.
Thank you for considering this submission.

Regina Featherstone