The Voice submission
Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission in response to the Indigenous Voice Discussion
I live on the land of the Gadigal people and have worked with people from a number of other
nations to help build Aboriginal controlled housing options that could help provide a proper base
from which to help close the gap.
So this submission comes with a strong understanding of the way in which the dispossession,
exclusion, racism and violence inflicted on Aboriginal people continuously from colonisation to this
day has damaged generations of this country’s first nations. This is a history that must first be fully
acknowledged and understood by everyone who has, and who continues, to benefit from it, whether
it was the capture of original pastoral settlements in the frontier wars, the households who
benefited from the free labour of the stolen generations or the devastation caused by miners today.
Only then can we find a just settlement.
One of the most telling gaps at this time is the lack of recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
peoples in the current constitution. As a result, it has served to benefit white Australians at the
expense of the country’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This means the constitution
must not only recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but it must do so in a way that
gives them a true voice in the laws and policies made under its powers.
Australia is one of a number of countries that have the particular history of having been founded on
the dispossession of the original inhabitants. As a result, it requires distinct provisions in its
constitution and governance that recognise and address the effects of this history.
Equally – or better, as part of this – we must create a just settlement by negotiating treaties that
with traditional custodians. And all of this requires an honest and forward looking understanding of
the shameful history that has brought us to this point. It requires a clear understanding that the
dispossession the nation of Australia was founded on has been ongoing and continues in many forms
Enshrining the Voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution will
contribute to a just recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and progress the
struggle for sovereignty and self-determination.
Then we start to heal this divided nation.
Because of this, I strongly urge the adoption of the three core calls of Aboriginal & Torres Strait
Islander people that:
• The government honour its election commitment to a referendum once the model for the
Voice has been settled;
• Enabling legislation for the Voice is passed after a referendum has been held in the next
term of Parliament; and
• The membership model for the National Voice ensures that previously unheard Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being selected as established
I thank you for considering my submission and look forward to your considered response.