Submission to the Co-Chairs of the Indigenous Voice Senior Advisory Group on The
Design and Proposal of the National Indigenous Voice to Parliament
By Todd Fernando
Attention: Professor Dr Marcia Langton AO and Professor Tom Calma AO,
I welcome the opportunity to make this submission to the Indigenous Voice Senior
Advisory Group on the Design and Proposal of the National Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
I also welcome the contribution made to the Design and Proposal of the National Indigenous
Voice to Parliament and take this time to compliment the Senior Advisory Group on achieving
extensive consultation with diverse members of the Indigenous Australian community.
By way of context, I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne with
a research focus that has practical implications for improving the health and wellbeing
outcomes of the LGBTIQA+ Indigenous community in Victoria and across Australia. I have
demonstrated a deep understanding of the LGTIQA+ Indigenous communities throughout
my research, and I am a respected expert within this field. Over the past ten years, I have
become a reliable go-to person for exploratory workshops, focus groups and consultations on
matters about LGBTIQA+ Indigenous communities.
My doctoral research, titled: A Desire to be Seen: factors shaping the health and identity of
queer Indigenous Australians, found that LGTIQA+ Indigenous people feel excluded from the
social fabric of Indigenous culture and polity. As a result, this population face several barriers
to access to high-quality healthcare, ongoing discrimination in the workplace as a result of their
sexual or gender identities, in addition to any racial discrimination they face. My research also
found that LGTIQA+ Indigenous people feel excluded from the decision-making process on
policy or matters that affect their lives. The current design of policies that affect Indigenous
populations is often devoid of diversity and inclusive practices. As a result, attempts to improve
Indigenous Australians’ socio-economic-political inequalities are met with further
marginalisation of the broader Indigenous communities’ sub-cultural groups, including
women, children, young people, and other factors like sexuality.
I welcome the proposal for the National Indigenous Voice to Parliament to embed National
Voice Advisory Groups for key populations like young people and people living with a
disability. I recommend that the Indigenous Voice Senior Advisory Group recognise the unique
needs and issues facing LGBTIQA+ Indigenous people. As a result, I urge the Senior Advisor
Group to understand that this population is not currently represented appropriately within the
Design or Proposal of the National Indigenous Voice to Parliament or in community settings.
Therefore, I strongly recommend that the proposed National Voice have a permanent
LGBTIQA+ Advisory Group made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with
lived experience of being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (brotherboy and sistergirl),
Intersex, Queer, Asexual, and other identities. This would be a group the National Voice can
call on to ensure the impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQA+ people are
considered when relevant to any advice being sought by the Parliament or Government. This
group would also bring any matter it thinks is critical to the attention of the National Voice.
The LGBTIQA+ Advisory Group would not replace or undermine any existing bodies or
I would be happy to provide any further information or answer questions as required and thank
the Indigenous Voice Senior Advisory Group for the opportunity to make this submission.