28 April 2021
Submission on the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process Interim Report
Country Arts SA appreciates the opportunity to support an Indigenous Voice to
Parliament through this submission on the co-design process. We acknowledge the
work undertaken to date led by Professor Marcia Langton AM and Professor Tom
The Uluru Statement from the Heart (Uluru Statement) is a call by Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people for the establishment of a constitutionally enshrined
National Voice to Parliament and a Makarrata Commission to undertake processes of
treaty-making and truth-telling:
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in
our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish.
They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country. (Uluru
Statement from the Heart)
Country Arts SA supports the intentions of the Uluru Statement, including the
enshrining of a National Voice to Parliament in the Constitution. It is a symbolic and
pragmatic step in recognising the First Peoples of our country.
We support the proposal for the two levels: 1) Local and Regional Voices; and 2)
National Voices. Together these will enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people in every community to have a greater say in public policy, programs and service
delivery affecting their lives through shared decision making in partnership with
We support these two structures working together to ensure that the voices of First
Nations peoples across the country are heard. They offer empowerment of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islanders, inclusive participation, cultural leadership, community led
design leading to long term respectful partnerships across all levels. They provide for
engagement with all communities to offer advice to governments through shared
decision making on a national level.
The membership of both the Local and Regional Voice and National Voice must be
determined by First Nations people and ensure appropriate and proportionate
representation of First Nations communities across Australia. Community
representation and determination of the National Voice are crucial to its validity and
authority; and ensures that the Voice is representative of the needs of our First
The National Voice will have a right and responsibility on behalf of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Australians to advise Parliament and the Government with
regard to any matters of national significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Australians and those of critical importance to the social, spiritual and economic
wellbeing, or which has a significant or particular impact on Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Australians.
We agree that a National Voice must have a proactive, unencumbered scope to advise
on priorities and issues as determined by the National Voice.
Country Arts SA
At Country Arts SA we increase access to the arts for regional South Australian
communities and share unique stories through extraordinary arts experiences.
We listen, respond and collaborate.
We produce ambitious and accessible arts experiences.
We present work for people of all ages and interests.
We empower regional communities to create and interact with the arts as audiences,
participants, artists and leaders.
Country Arts SA’s unique state-wide, multi-artform remit and 25+ years’ experience
puts us in a singular position to make art and tell stories that can’t be made
anywhere else in the world, and to contribute to a national cultural identity that
embraces the regional communities at its heart.
We want the artists and communities of regional South Australia to thrive through
engagement with the arts, and be recognised as valued contributors to the nation’s
We want to transform the way the arts are made and engaged with in regional South
Our goals are measured against key priority areas, the first of which is:
• First People First: How we engage and elevate regional Aboriginal Elders, artists
and communities, guided by our First Nations Advisory Committee and
Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). We will:
o Create opportunities for Aboriginal artists and arts workers, and work in
collaboration with regional Elders, artists and communities to produce
and present work that honours their living cultures.
o Create opportunities for Aboriginal communities to engage with the arts,
and work in collaboration with regional Elders and artists to present
culturally appropriate work.
o Develop our Arts Centres as open, welcoming and accessible community
hubs and resources.
o Work with Aboriginal Elders, artists and communities to increase
familiarity with and decolonise our organisation, Arts Centres and
program, including increasing employment, representation and access,
prioritising Aboriginal culture and arts practice, and centering Aboriginal
ways of learning and doing.