2675

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Submission Number
2675
Participant
Fleur Johns
Submission date
Main Submission File
Main Submission Automated Transcript

30 April 2021

Voice Secretariat
Reply Paid 83380
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Co-designVoice@niaa.gov.au

To whom it may concern,

I am a Professor of International Law and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow
in the Faculty of Law & Justice at UNSW Sydney. I write to express support for the
Local, Regional and National Voices to Parliament outlined in the Interim Voice Report
and for the enshrinement of a First Nations Voice in the Federal Constitution alongside
the processes of truth-telling and treaty-making outlined in the Uluru Statement from the
Heart.

I believe that the Uluru Statement from the Heart presents the Australian Federal
Parliament and all Australians with an unprecedented opportunity to take meaningful
action towards coming to terms with this nation's foundation on racialised domination
and dispossession and its enduring legacies and impacts. This history cannot be
undone but it can be told truthfully, faced bravely and addressed through effective re-
transfers of power within our constitutional architecture. The Uluru Statement from the
Heart offers a clear roadmap for achieving this.

For too long, Indigenous peoples' unceded sovereignty has been negated by forms of
power that have not been authorised or accepted by Indigenous peoples. This has
compounded and extended the trauma of Indigenous peoples' dispossession with all
sorts of devastating and ongoing consequences. Only by creating a mechanism for
Australian national sovereignty as a whole - and decisions concerning Indigenous
peoples in particular - to be authorised and accepted by Indigenous peoples can this be
rectified. It is accordingly of paramount importance that the Voice to Parliament be
enshrined in the Australian Constitution. This will afford it the centrality and timelessness
that it warrants, given the long history of human habitation of this continent. For both
practical and symbolic reasons, this is too crucial a matter to make vulnerable to the
periodic passage of legislation.

All Australians stand to benefit from the processes of truth-telling and constitutional
renewal that the Uluru Statement from the Heart so generously opens up to us. A
flourishing community cannot be sustained amid unhealed wounds, unpaid debts,
unacknowledged relations, and untold histories. Please do whatever you can to ensure
that this opportunity is not squandered. Please do not hesitate to contact me via the
email address below if you have any questions arising from this submission.

Sincerely yours,

Fleur Johns
Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow, UNSW Law & Justice

UNSW SYDNEY NSW 2052 AUSTRALIA
T +61 (2) 9385 9893 | E fleur.johns@unsw.edu.au | W http://www.law.unsw.edu.au/profile/fleur-johns | ABN 57
195 873 179 | CRICOS Provider Code 00098G