2755

Submissions: Your Feedback

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Submission Number
2755
Participant
Knight Frank Australia
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

Rod Leaver
Partner and CEO
Knight Frank Australia
Level 22, 123 Pit Street
Sydney
NSW 2000

To Co-Design Body

Submission for Co-design process

I am the CEO of Knight Frank Australia and I represent the thoughts of our national workforce of 711
fulltime employees within this submission. On this important matter, we speak as one voice.

Knight Frank is a global property consultancy business represented in 60 territories worldwide and
headquartered in London. We celebrate our 125th anniversary this year; a significant milestone in a
Western context, but we acknowledge it as a blink of the eye in comparison to the rich culture practiced
continuously by our First Nations peoples in Australia for over 60,000 years.

At Knight Frank Australia, we have instituted a comprehensive strategy to broaden diversity within the
organisation and ensure that equal opportunity is embedded into our processes and culture. Our strategy
includes the Knight Frank Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy, which focuses on People, Community
and Planet.

We devised our ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan in 2020 and have committed to meaningful change
across our National business to build lasting relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities and enhance employment opportunities, both directly and in collaboration with our clients,
stakeholders and partnerships.

By embarking on this journey, we hope to be able to have a positive impact on the social fabric of the
many communities in which we operate, across Australia, built on respectful relationships and trust.
We are committed to this action, which is why we feel it important to share our opinion in relation to the
Interim Voice Report.

Where you are from – where you live, where you grew up.

Our workforce is representative of all communities and heritages in Australia. This includes Australians of
European, Asian, North and South American, Indian, African, New Zealand / Pacific Islands and Middle
Eastern heritage and, of course, our First Nations peoples. All Faiths are also represented within our
workforce and we operate across all States within Australia.

We are therefore a ‘broad church,’ representative of Australian society and we are unanimously in
agreement that our First Nations people’s Voice to Parliament must be established through a referendum
and enshrined within our Constitution.

T +61 2 9036 6666 F +61 2 9036 6660
Level 22, Angel Place, 123 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
GPO Box 187, Sydney NSW 2001

KnightFrank.com.au
Knight Frank Australia Pty Ltd ABN 17 004 973 684
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?

The Uluru Statement from the Heart perfectly encapsulates the perspective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander communities in present day Australia.

It is a respectful request to fellow Australians for a First Nations Voice and structural change, enshrined
within our Constitution, to enable a say on policy matters that directly affect their communities. It also
calls for a Makarrata Commission to supervise the process of agreement and enable a truth telling about
their history.

They ask this not for the betterment of themselves in isolation, but for the betterment of Australian society
as a whole. Our inability to adequately deal with the past treatment of our First Nations peoples is a
continuing blot on our otherwise remarkable story, as is the lack of Voice and self-determination that they
have been afforded to date.

These inadequacies will hold our Nation back if not confronted, acknowledged and authentically
discussed with our First Nations peoples. We are building our society on a foundation of metaphorical
sand without this process and without affording them an equal Voice.

The inherent wisdom of our First Nations peoples has been overlooked and discounted since the First
Fleet arrived in 1778. For over 60,000 years prior, the First Nations lived harmoniously and sustainably
in this land now called Australia. For that alone, they deserve our unreserved respect. There is much
that we can learn from them from a cultural values perspective, not least in respect to human induced
climate change, finding the solution for which is the imperative of our time.

All Australians should view the Uluru Statement From The Heart as an olive branch from our First Nations
peoples, who continue to endure policy settings from the Australian Government ranging from
indifference to neglect. They are providing their fellow Australians with a precious opportunity; to make
amends for the past, heal as a Nation and boldly advance together, united.

Our collective response as Australians to the Uluru Statement will define us as a Nation for generations to
come.

Knight Frank Australia wholeheartedly supports the Uluru Statement and its humble requests.

Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?

It is vitally important that our First Nations peoples be afforded the respect and dignity of a genuine say in
matters that affect their communities. Successive Australian Governments have viewed Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander policies through the lens of Western culture and ideals. These policies have
repeatedly failed and we feel that all Australians are deeply disappointed and affected by this failure. As
a successful Nation on a world stage, Australians are not accustomed to failure and it is hard to accept,
not least for our First Nations peoples who wait patiently for their Voice and to be heard. We cannot
imagine the frustration they have endured and it is to their eternal credit that they continue to respectfully
and patiently extend a hand and offer Makarrata; ‘a coming together after a struggle.’

Until we accept their generous offer, outlined in the Uluru Statement, the struggle continues and there can
be no coming together, to the detriment of all Australians.

How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?

A Voice to Parliament for our First Nations peoples would immediately benefit all Australians through their
empowerment. The feeling of powerlessness and despair in the First Nations communities is palpable
and intergenerational, but we feel that confidence and optimism about the future would quickly return if an
authentic Voice to Parliament were granted and genuine discourse occur.

Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather
than include it only in legislation?

We believe it is important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in our Constitution as, once added, the
Voice is immutable and beyond the reach of future political maneuvering. It is also a significant and
deserved mark of respect for our First Nations peoples and demonstrates our authentic desire to
reconcile.

Do you have any other comments for the submission?

As a company, Knight Frank Australia employs 711 full time employees across Australia. We interact
daily with large corporations, including ASX 50 companies, and the message is clear; reconciliation is
important to the health and vitality of our society and tangible action by Government is long overdue. The
reconciliation movement gains momentum daily and is an important aspect in CSR and ESG policies in
boardrooms across Australia. This submission is therefore indicative of the views of much of Corporate
Australia.
Corporations are living organisms; a collective of individuals coming together in common purpose and as
such their policies and processes are driven by the views of their employees and their shareholders. It is
incumbent upon me, as CEO, to understand these views and lead my company by example.
So too, it is incumbent upon the Australian Government to represent the will of the Australian people. We
believe this will should be expressed through a referendum to grant our First Nations peoples the respect
they deserve and a ‘Voice to Parliament’ enshrined in our Constitution.

Yours sincerely

Rob Leaver
Partner and CEO
Knight Frank Australia