National Indigenous Voice Consultation
Submitted 30 April 2021
About Reconciliation WA
Reconciliation WA (RWA) is a not-for-profit Organisation providing leadership, advocacy and
support to people and organisations driving the movement for Reconciliation in Western Australia
At our core, Reconciliation WA is focused on the creation of societal and economic outcomes that
help create a State where the special place, culture, rights and contribution of First Peoples are
valued and respected. As an organisation, we aspire to be part of a State that celebrates strong and
positive relationships between our First Peoples and the wider WA community, as critical building
block of practical social and economic outcomes and community wellbeing.
Submission by the Board of Reconciliation WA
The Board of Reconciliation WA is overall supportive of the Reconciliation Australia Submission to
the National Indigenous Voice consultation process. In addition, we would like to highlight some
State based priorities for consideration.
Reconciliation WA strongly supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It hopes that the co
design process and the establishment of a national structure and local and regional structures will
ultimately enable a constitutionally enshrined voice to Parliament.
We believe the way the model is implemented is as important as the model itself and Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Island people must lead the process and determination of the structures.
The Board has considered the models the National Voice and the Local and Regional Voices put
forward in the Discussion paper. It supports a structural membership model for the National Voice
with membership of the National Voice flowing from the Local and Regional Voices as the best
means of ensuring that the National Voice is seen as representing all Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander communities and people.
Due to the vastness of Australia and the complexity of its many communities the National Voice is
most likely to be accepted as the legitimate voice of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander if its
membership is seen as coming from the grass roots. This could flow from Local and Regional
Voices established in accordance with the model proposed.
Whilst we endorse the Local and Regional Voice model, we note the required level of regional
differences to take into account the enormous variability across regions. If the approach proposed is
to be seen as genuine, appropriate timelines and support structures must be put into place to
enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led co-designed outcomes.
The essential participation by governments.
The Local and Regional Governance structures will involve all tiers of Government to deliver the
design outcomes. Governments themselves must change. Systemic transformation will be required
in the processes to equip governments to connect, serve and be flexible to respond to regional and
community needs. This will require commitment and a united effort between Federal, State and
Local Governments. For example, the Western Australian Government is currently implementing its
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Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy, the National Federation Reform Council (NFRC), the Peaks and
the Empowered Communities agenda. It will be vital to harness the efforts across tiers of
Government to ensure all of these enable the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Leadership and Cultural Authorities and people to be heard.
On a positive note, the Western Australian State Government Aboriginal Affairs Team were
represented at The Voice consultations in this State and have invested in the process.
The number of regions in Western Australia should take into account the diversity and cultural
groupings in our vast state and the final number should at least reflect, but seek to improve, the
diversity of existing regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance structures. Careful
consideration should be given of previous regional structures from ATSIC and others in consultation
with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership and Cultural Authorities. We encourage more,
not less regions to ensure the diversity of voice and needs across Western Australia and other
States are taken into account.
We acknowledge the widespread anxiety about past Aboriginal voices such as NAC, ADC, ATSIC
and Congress being unilaterally shut down by successive governments and the need to ensure the
security of the National Indigenous Voice through constitutional enshrinement.
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