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Submission Number
Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

social justice advocates of the sapphire
PO Box 352

26 APRIL 2021

Professor Dr Marcia Langton AO and Professor Tom Calma AO
Co-Chairs, Senior Advisory Group
Voice Co-design, National Indigenous Australian Agency
PO Box 2191

Dear Professors


Thank you for the invitation to provide feedback on the Interim report of the
co-design group on the Government's response to the Uluru Statement from
the Heart.. We make the following points.

! Number of members We consider the number of two per state/
territory too tight and too rigid. One position in every jurisdiction would
almost certainly be from the major urban area in the jurisdiction. This would
mean only one position available for remote communities. In a number of
jurisdictions, for example Western Australia and the Northern Territory,
remote communities are widely separated from each other and it would be
very difficult for one person to adequately represent the views of all the
remote communities in the jurisdiction.

2 Eligibility of members (a) All members of the Voice should be
(b) all members should be chosen by indigenous people only and there
should be no members appointed by government.

3 Funding Longterm funding should be provided so that the Voice is
not entangled in the annual budgetary deliberations of the government of the
day. Its expenditures should be published and audited annually. It should
legal and financial capacity to commission expert advice. Members should
be funded for travel and accommodation on Voice business. Other funding
needs further examination.
4 Role The role of the Voice is to provide formal advice to the
Parliament, not merely to the Government of the day, on matters relevant or
of interest to indigenous people. This is a very wide brief which extends far
beyond issues which particularly affect indigenous persons. The Voice's
advice is to be tabled in the Parliament. It is up to the Voice to determine
what matters it wishes to provide advice on. There is no role for the Voice to
deliver programs as that is a function of government agencies or indigenous

5 Status of Voice The co-design process should continue so that
a clear picture of the structure of the Voice can be presented, hopefully on a
non-partisan basis, before any referendum on recognition in the constitution
is held. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a serious, well-thought-out
and generous offer from the indigenous people of this country to effect
reconciliation. It is an opportunity the nation should grasp with both hands.
The Voice should be enshrined in the constitution. This would remove from
indigenous people the feeling that they are strangers or unwelcome in their
own land and would raise their self-respect. Over time this would have a
substantial positive effect on the engagement of the indigenous community
in education, health, employment and civic affairs generally. We are
confident that the nation is ready to move forward in this matter as it was in

Ray Tynan
Convenor, Indigenous Issues Group
Social justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast