Directors speak up for Voice

John Atkin, Lisa Chung, Marina Go, David Gonski, Narelle Hooper, Ming Long and Nora Scheinkestel

DCA supports the Yes! campaign for Voice to Parliament referendum. 

This letter was published in the Australian Financial Review, on 21 April 2023,

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Letter to the Editor

As directors, we believe that good governance is critical to the success of any organisation and our nation. We understand that governance is not just about policies and procedures, but also about values, leadership and accountability.

For too long, the voices of Australia’s First Nations peoples have not been heard in the halls of power, and our nation has been the poorer for it. The lack of representation and participation has led to policies that have not always reflected the needs and aspirations of Indigenous Australians. The Uluru Statement from the Heart offers a solution.

The economic and business case for the Voice is clear. First Nations people continue to experience disproportionate social, economic and health disadvantage, despite many programs targeted to address these issues.

The success of any society is measured by how well it looks after its most vulnerable members, and the Voice is a crucial step towards a more equitable Australia.

The Voice could provide a platform to ensure the wisdom of First Nations peoples is captured in the formulation of policies that directly affect them and, importantly, enable shared learning from which all Australians can benefit.

The Voice is being and has been developed with input from constitutional experts and legal scholars, people from different political persuasions (including the elected parliament of Australia), religious, civil and community leaders and, crucially, First Nations peoples themselves.

According to Ipsos polling, the majority (80 per cent) of First Nations people support the Voice. It can represent a consensus-driven, collaborative approach that is designed to work within our existing system of governance.

We believe it is important that we keep our hearts and minds open to achieving the objectives inherent in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. This requires us to participate constructively in a process which will allow the Australian people to consider and vote on a proposition which will deliver constitutional recognition of First Nations peoples through the Voice to parliament.

Good governance, in our view, dictates that all of us, including elected representatives, work together until parliament has resolved on the final proposition. We urge those who have doubts on some detail of the Voice to work constructively to find a solution which Australians can proudly support.

Australia has matured in our journey as a nation, and it is now time for us to courageously face and acknowledge our history and accept the invitation from First Nations peoples to walk together with them towards a better future. This is first and foremost a moral imperative, and also an economic and business imperative.

We urge you to join us in supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart and constructively assisting the establishment of a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice. Together, we can create a stronger, more equitable and more inclusive society, and come to a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.

John Atkin, Lisa Chung, Marina Go, David Gonski, Narelle Hooper, Ming Long and Nora Scheinkestel