National Co-design Group

The National Co-design Group developed the proposal for a National Voice to the Australian Government and Parliament.

The group proposed options for what an Indigenous Voice could look like at a national level, including what type of structure, membership and functions it could have and how it would operate.

The Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, announced the establishment of the National Co-design Group on 15 January 2020.

Co-chaired by Dr Donna Odegaard AM and Ray Griggs AO CSC, the group was guided by a Terms of Reference - PDF 179 KB.

National Co-design Group members

Dr Donna Odegaard AM

Dr Donna Odegaard AM is a Larrakia and Torres Strait Islander. Awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters for lifelong contribution to Indigenous rights, land rights, heritage, education, Indigenous media, and Reconciliation. Other achievements include: Naming Lady HMAS Larrakia RAN,  MA Law/Phil, University of Newcastle, PhD, Doctor of Law/Phil, University of Newcastle, Indigenous Ulumni Award University of Newcastle. Dr Odegaard is the founder and chairperson of First Nations Broadcasting Australia, First Nations TV, First Nations Tourism, First Nations Radio, First Nations Radio National. A consultant and advisor to governments, industry and business on Indigenous business, leadership, tourism and media. Other roles include; National and International Indigenous Leader Indigenous business, trade and economic development, Indigenous Reference Group Ministerial Forum, Developing Northern Australia, Indigenous Advisory Committee, Commonwealth Department of Agribusiness, Water and Heritage, Board Director, Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation and Chairperson National Centre for Indigenous Excellence, Redfern NSW. A successful business woman for over thirty years in farming, fashion and interior design, mining.

Mr Ray Griggs AO CSC
NIAA co-chair

Ray Griggs AO CSC was appointed the first CEO of the National Indigenous Australians Agency on 1 July 2019 and is responsible for leading policy, program and delivery reform in line with the Government’s commitment to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Before the establishment of the NIAA, Mr Griggs was Associate Secretary of the Indigenous Affairs Group in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He spent four decades in the Royal Australian Navy, in a range of command and operational roles and is an Officer in the Order of Australia.

The Hon Fred Chaney AO

The Hon Fred Chaney AO was one of the founding Co-Chairs of Reconciliation Australia and an early advocate for Aboriginal voting rights. Mr Chaney was part of establishing the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia and was the federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs between 1978 and 1980. Also Deputy President of the National Native Title Tribunal and Chair of Desert Knowledge Australia, Mr Chaney was instrumental in establishing the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, which supports Indigenous young people to reach their potential. In 1997 Mr Chaney became an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of service to the Parliament of Australia and to the Aboriginal community.

Ms Zell Dodd

Ms Zell Dodd is a proud descendant of the Ngarrindjeri, Kaurna & Nurrunga people. Ms Dodd was born and went to school in Naracoorte in the south east of South Australia and is the current CEO of the Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service. Ms Dodd has more than 25 years’ experience working for and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians shaping mainstream health services, systems and structures and extensive experience in government and non-government sectors.

Ms Katrina Fanning PSM

Ms Katrina Fanning PSM is a Wiradjuri woman and Chair of the Australian Capital Territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body and the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council and is a Board Member with Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services, the Fred Hollows Foundation, the Women’s Legal Centre in the Australian Capital Territory and the Canberra Raiders. Owner and Managing Director of Coolamon Advisors, an Indigenous consulting firm based in Canberra, she has previously held Senior Executive roles in government and received a Public Service Medal in 2015 for outstanding public service in Indigenous affairs.

Mr Damian Griffis

Mr Damian Griffis is a descendant of the Worimi people and CEO of the First People’s Disability Network Australia. A leading advocate for the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with a disability, Mr Griffis played an integral part in establishing the Aboriginal Disability Network in New South Wales and the national representative organisation the First Peoples Disability Network. Mr Griffis was awarded the Australian Human Rights Tony Fitzgerald (Community Individual) Memorial Award in 2014.

Mr Steven Wanta Patrick Jampijinpa

Mr Steven Wanta Patrick Jampijinpa currently sits on the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation board as Senior Cultural Advisor for his community, Lajamanu, in the Northern Territory. Mr Patrick was a contributing author for ‘Ngurra-kurlu: A way of working with Warlpiri people’ – a report which outlines key elements of Warlpiri culture being land, law, language, ceremony and skin. Mr Patrick, along with other Warlpiri elders, developed an app to tackle Indigenous youth suicide in 2017 and he has worked as a Community Liaison Officer and Teacher’s Assistant at the Lajamanu Community Education Centre.

The Hon Jeff Kennett AC

The Hon Jeff Kennett AC was an Officer in the Royal Australian Regiment, serving at home and overseas. Premier of Victoria from 1992 to 1999, a Member of the Victorian Parliament for 23 years, and Leader of the Opposition from 1982 to 1989 and 1991 to 1992, Mr Kennett is Chair of EQT Holdings, Open Windows Australia Pty Ltd, CT Management Group Pty Ltd, Director of Amtek Corporation Pty Ltd., and is the founder and former Chair of Beyond Blue. Mr Kennett is also Chair of The Torch - a program assisting incarcerated Indigenous men and women and post their release, and President of the Hawthorn Football Club. He received a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2005 for service to the Victorian Parliament and the introduction of initiatives for economic and social benefit, to business and commerce, and to the community in the development of the arts, sport and mental health awareness strategies.

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker AM

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker AM is a Wadjuk Noongar Traditional Owner, academic community development practitioner, children’s fiction author and emerging photographer. Professor Kickett-Tucker has worked with Aboriginal people all her life in the fields of education, sport and health. Executive Director of Pindi Pindi Ltd, Centre for Research Excellence in Aboriginal Wellbeing, Director of Research and Community Development at Koya Aboriginal Corporation and Research Fellow at Curtin University, Professor Kickett-Tucker is passionate about using her research to make a real difference to the lives of Aboriginal children and their families.

Kristal Kinsela

Ms Kristal Kinsela is a proud descendant of the Jawoyn and Wiradjuri nations. She is Director National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy, Director Jaramer Legal and a Director Uniting NSW/ACT. A passionate advocate of the Indigenous business sector, Kristal was awarded the 2017 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year and 2017 Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year awards. She was further recognised on the 2019 AFR 100 Women of Influence list for entrepreneurship and leadership. 

Dr Emma Lee

Dr Emma Lee is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Research Fellow at Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology. Her research fields over the last 25 years have focused on Indigenous affairs, land and sea management, policy and governance of Australian regulatory environments. Dr Lee has published in diverse journals ranging from Biological Reviews to Annals of Tourism Research. She is a key architect of the Tasmanian Government's ‘Reset the Relationship’ whole-of-government strategy, contributing to shaping of the first joint management plan of a protected area in Tasmania, constitutional reform and establishing a market for cultural fisheries in Tasmania. Dr Lee has received a number of awards for this work.

Mr Jamie Lowe

Mr Jamie Lowe is a Gunditjmara Djabwurrung man and CEO of the National Native Title Council, a national peak body set up to maximise the contribution of native title to achieving and improving the economic, social and cultural participation of Indigenous Australians. Recently elected to the executive of First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria, as Victorian Aboriginal Peoples move towards treaty, Mr Lowe has a background in both government and non-government sectors and has expertise and skills in governance, management, strategic planning and economic development.

Ms Fiona McLeod AO SC

Ms Fiona McLeod AO SC is a Senior Counsel at the Victorian Bar and former President of the Law Council Australia and the Australian Bar Association. Ms McLeod led the class action into the Murrindindi Black Saturday bushfires and the Commonwealth legal team in the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, the Queensland Floods Commission and Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse representing the whole of government in each matter. Ms McLeod received an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2000 for her distinguished service to the law and the legal profession, at the national and international level.

Professor Gracelyn Smallwood AM

Professor Gracelyn Smallwood AM has been an advocate for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians since 1968. Awarded the Queensland Aboriginal of the Year in 1986, the Henry Kemp Memorial Award at the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect in 1994, the Deadly Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Indigenous Health in 2007, and NAIDOC Person of the Year in 2014, Professor Smallwood is a registered nurse, midwife and trained in mental health, with experience both in Australia and internationally. Professor Smallwood became a Member of the Order of Australia in 1992 for her service to Aboriginal Health and Welfare and to Public Health particularly in relation to HIV/AIDS.

Mr Marcus Stewart

Mr Marcus Stewart is a Nira illim bulluk man and a Taungurung traditional owner from central Victoria. Mr Stewart was the CEO of the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporation and has over 15 years’ experience in Indigenous affairs. He was elected the Co‑Chair of the First People’s Assembly of Victoria in 2019 and has extensive experience strategic policy direction and design implementation through his senior roles in the Victorian State Government. 

Mr Richard Weston

Mr Richard Weston was recently appointed as the first Deputy Children’s Guardian for Aboriginal Children and Young People in NSW at the NSW Government Office of the Children’s Guardian. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer for SNAICC, the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and the co-chair for Family Matters. As a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait, Richard has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for more than 20 years. For nine years, he held the position of CEO of The Healing Foundation leading the strategic development of the organisation. And previously, Richard led Indigenous-controlled health services in far west New South Wales and Queensland.