30 April 2021
National Indigenous Australians Agency
Submission on the Indigenous Voice co-design process
Justice Connect welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback on the Indigenous Voice co-
In the face of huge unmet legal need, Justice Connect designs and delivers high-impact
interventions to increase access to legal support and progress social justice. Our innovative
and effective legal services for people and community organisations aim to solve legal
problems to prevent negative impacts and empower the community to use the law as a force
We believe in a fair and just world, where communities are supported to engage with and fully
participate in our legal system. We have been serving the community for more than 25 years.
We are a registered charity, operating nationally.
Justice Connect works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities by
providing access to lawyers and legal help, supporting people and communities with the tools
and knowledge they need and challenging and changing unfair laws and systems.
Our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities is undertaken
across a range of services, to provide people and communities with access to the most
appropriate legal help.
For example, for the last four years we have partnered with the New South Wales Aboriginal
Land Council, the peak representative body for Aboriginal people and Local Aboriginal Land
Councils (LALCs) in New South Wales, to provide free legal information, advice and training
to the network of 120 LALCs.
Our feedback on the Indigenous Voice co-design process
Justice Connect is committed to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ right
to self-determination. We therefore recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
are best placed to provide detailed feedback on the Indigenous Voice proposals put forward
by the Government, and we seek to support the views of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander communities and organisations we work with.
The Voice to Parliament must be constitutionally enshrined
The Uluru Statement from the Heart called for full recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples through a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament.
We reject arguments that a legislative framework for the Voice to Parliament needs to exist
before holding a referendum, and we echo the calls for a constitutionally enshrined Voice to
Parliament put forward by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partners.
The Indigenous Voice process must be underpinned by community mandate
In rejecting the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the Government has pushed forward with
Indigenous Voice proposals without a mandate from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples and communities.
A Voice to Parliament which is not underpinned by a mandate from Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples and communities will undermine its legitimacy and diminish Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ right to self-determination.
We would be happy to discuss or expand on any of our comments. We agree to this
submission being made public (with signature redacted).