Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process
The submission to the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) in response to the second stage of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process (the Co-Design Process) was prepared by the Law Council of Australia.
The Law Council restates its strong and continuing support for a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Australian Constitution, as called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the recommendations of the Referendum Council, and further canvassed in the work of the Joint Select Committee.
The Co-Design Process does not include fundamental aspects of this prior work: first, that the Voice be organised around the individual First Nations and, second, that the Voice be constitutionally enshrined. This fundamentally changes the proposition put forward at the Uluru Convention, compromising the Voice’s intended purpose and efficacy. On this basis, the Law Council cannot offer its support for the proposals put forward through the Co-Design Process.
Consultation that was undertaken through the regional dialogues that led to the UIuru Convention asked and permitted First Nations to consider the most fundamental and fulsome engagement possible with the Australian people. That process provided the clear statement that the issues of First Nations representation, treaties and truth telling were the objectives for engagement.
The Co-Design Process stands apart from those regional dialogues and the Uluru Statement from the Heart, particularly in its engagement with the individual First Nations. The Law Council recommends that the Australian Government significantly reframe the Co-Design Process, refocusing on First Nations empowerment and committing to constitutional entrenchment of a First Nations Voice, with a referendum as soon as practicable, and, importantly, prior to legislating.
The Law Council takes the view that this process and its results must have the objective of providing representation for First Nations for the coming decades.
You can read the full submission below.