The first National Cabinet meeting of the year was held on Friday 3 February 2023. At the meeting, State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers signed a Statement of Intent to working collaboratively to support a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament. This reaffirmed a commitment made at the June 2022 National Cabinet meeting.
Read the statement below.
Statement of Intent
We, the First Ministers of Australia, in recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of Australia, commit to working collaboratively to support a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.
We recognise this significant opportunity to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of Australia in our Constitution. We also acknowledge the enduring strength of First People leadership and knowledge through the establishment of a Voice to the Australian Parliament on matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
We note the principles for the Voice put forward by the Referendum Working Group, which identify the Voice as a body that:
- provides independent advice to Parliament and Government
- is chosen by First Nations people based on the wishes of local communities
- is representative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- is empowering, community led, inclusive, respectful, culturally informed and gender balanced, and includes youth
- is accountable and transparent
- works alongside existing organisations and traditional structures
- does not have a program delivery function
- does not have a veto power.
All State and Territory governments support the Australian Government in ensuring Australians are afforded a free and fair referendum process. We commit to support the Voice referendum by working together on national measures to:
- ensure the integrity and transparency of the referendum process, including by ensuring voters are informed about the Voice and referendum process,
- ensure the national conversation about the Voice, and the referendum process, are conducted in a respectful and informed manner, and
- consider steps for implementing the Voice following a successful referendum, including the design of the Voice and arrangements at the regional local levels.
Photo source: twitter.com/AlboMP
Photo caption: (L-R) Mr Andrew Barr MLA, The Hon Mark McGowan MLA, The Hon Natasha Fyles, The Hon Anthony Albanese MP (sitting), The Hon Dominic Perrottet MP, The Hon Daniel Andrews MP, The Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, The Hon Peter Malinauskas MP, The Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP.