The Balnaves Foundation is a philanthropic fund (Private Ancillary Fund) that donates $2.5-$3m annually
to non-for-profits working in the Arts, Medicine and Education with a focus on young people,
disadvantage and Indigenous affairs.
Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission in regards to the Co-Design Interim Report.
It is our view that the Interim report has satisfactorily explored possible models for how a Voice to
Parliament could work and that the matter should now proceed to a referendum. That referendum
should be a vote on whether to enshrine in the constitution an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. The exact
nature and form of the Voice can then be legislated in parliament.
We believe the principle that the Indigenous people of this land have a right to a Voice to Parliament
based on the following logic:
1. It is a fact that the Indigenous Australians occupied and had ownership of this land prior
to white settlement. There is no basis for white settlement on the grounds of Terra
2. It is a fact that the British in 1788 took possession and declared sovereignty over the land
now known as Australia.
3. The Indigenous people never ceded their sovereignty to the British.
4. There has been no treaty to resolve both parties claims to sovereignty.
5. Through the Uluru Statement the Indigenous people have proposed that a First Nations
Voice to Parliament, enshrined in the constitution, would recognise their ancient
sovereignty of this land. Such constitutional change would lay the path to truth-telling
and treaty making.
6. The Indigenous people have an inherent, moral and legal right to this land and the
governing of it.
7. As such a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution is entirely appropriate and
the first step in resolving the injustice that has occurred and continues to occur since
Recognition and a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution sets the stage for treating making.
Reconciliation without treaty making is hollow. Treaty making is essential if Australia is going to make
right the injustice that has occurred.
It is deeply sad that a Voice to Parliament and the Uluru Statement is politically controversial. It is not so
amongst the Australian people. Australians want this change.