Submissions: Your Feedback

Submissions from people and organisations who have agreed to have their feedback published are provided below.

The views expressed in these submissions belong to their authors. The National Indigenous Australians Agency reserved the right not to publish submissions, or parts of submissions, that include, for example, material that is offensive, racist, potentially defamatory, personal information, is a copy of previously provided materials, or does not relate to the consultation process.

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Submission Number
Deborah Cleland
Submission date

Deb Cleland
Lyneham ACT 2602

To Co-Design Body

Co-design process: Submission for Deb Cleland

I am from Canberra where I am working at the Australian National University with a global research group on Environmental Restorative Justice. Fundamental to the idea of Restorative Justice is repair, healing and accountability. I have a PhD in human ecology, where I looked at the fundamental importance of dialogue to achieve inclusion, sustainability and justice. I grew up here knowing very little about the local Traditional Owners. It is only through the tireless work of elders and their families, here and nationally, that I have begun to understand the truth and pain behind the history of our Country.

Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Uluru Statement from the Heart represents a critical step towards a united and just future. Without a truth-telling process, without a treaty and without voice protected by the highest law of the land, the constitution, the wounds of the past cannot be healed.

Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
All members of our society should have a say in the matters that affect them. In this, Indigenous people are not asking for anymore than what mainstream white Australians take for granted everyday.

How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
A Voice to Parliament would guarantee access of Indigenous perspectives to national law and policymakers. Further, it would provide a model for all parliaments around the nation to follow. The treatment of Indigenous people in this country, as most recently evidenced by the 7 deaths in custody in this year alone, is horrifically shameful. I would love to feel proud of what had changed in this area, instead of continuously devastated and full of grief and anger. The Voice to Parliament would be a meaningful step in this direction.

Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Enshrining the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution would be a strong guarantee of its import, enforceability and longevity. None of these would be certain through legislation alone.

Thank you for considering my submission. I do hope it makes a difference.

Kind regards,
Deb Cleland



We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to the people, the cultures and the Elders past, present and emerging.