Submission to the
National Indigenous Australians’ Agency
Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process
The position of Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress)
regarding the establishment of a National Indigenous Voice is as follows.
1. Congress welcomes this opportunity to provide input into the work of the
National Indigenous Voice Co-Design Group, the Local & Regional Co-design
Group, and the Senior Advisory Group. We also note that terms of reference
of these groups specifically excludes consideration of constitutional reform.
2. Despite this, Congress expresses its continued strong support for the Uluru
Statement from the Heart and its recommendations regarding the
establishment of a constitutionally enshrined ‘Voice to Parliament’ alongside a
Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making and
truth-telling. In our view, the Uluru Statement from the Heart has the strong
support of the Aboriginal communities that we serve.
3. Accordingly, we call for the establishment of a National Voice to the Australian
Federal Parliament that is established through a referendum and enshrined in
the Australian Constitution.
4. A constitutionally enshrined national representative body would:
a. give effect to our rights to self-determination as recognised under
international agreements to which Australia is a signatory, including the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples1.
b. establish genuine and continued representation of our First Peoples in the
political and policy-making process and provide the overarching
framework within which the health of our peoples may be addressed.
5. As recognised in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, such substantive
structural change is required given the ongoing burden of poverty,
discrimination and ill-health that our people continue to bear. Unfortunately,
the Co-Design proposals contain no commitment to substantive, structural
6. Nationally and internationally, the Black Lives Matter campaigns and the
renewed focus on Aboriginal deaths in custody suggest that this is not a time
Submission on the
Indigenous Voice consultations Page 2
for compromise on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities to health and justice.
7. We also recognise that Aboriginal community-controlled organisations have
made significant gains through the negotiation of the new National Agreement
on Closing the Gap. The Co-Design proposals risk undermining the Coalition
of Peaks as a vehicle for self-determination and progress at this time.
8. We note that Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in speaking of constitutional
recognition in May 2019, committed his government to “work together across
the aisle and across our communities to get an outcome that all Australians
can get behind and we'll take as long as is needed to achieve that"2. We urge
the Prime Minister to deliver on this commitment.
United Nations. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 2007; Available from:
Snow D 2019 Morrison pledges recognition but will take 'as long as needed’. Sydney Morning Herald 19 May
2019; Available from: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/morrison-pledges-recognition-bu…-
Central Australian Aboriginal Congress April 2021