DCA has welcomed the opportunity to make this submission in response to the Indigenous Voice Co-design Process Interim Report to the Australian Government.
The issue of recognition of the unique status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our country’s history is of significant interest to DCA and our members.
Supporting an Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process and referendum to enshrine a National Voice in the Constitution is one key way in which Australian organisations can contribute pragmatically to reconciliation.
DCA’s submission is in response to the generous invitation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples outlined in the Uluru Statement for all Australians to walk together in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.
Our submission argues that DCA supports a Voice that acts and operates independently from the Parliament and Government, but that can speak to the Commonwealth Parliament and Government on policy and legislation.
We also agree with the proposals that the Voice should not be responsible for the delivery of programs or services as this could cause conflicts with its core role making sure that the ideas and views of Indigenous Australians are heard in the development of policy and decision-making that affect them.
Our submission comments on four areas of this process and makes recommendations that we urge you to consider.
The National Voice must be representative of the diverse populations and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Recommendation: The Membership Model for the National Voice should ensure that the diversity of cultures, languages, kinship structures and ways of life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are reflected in the make-up of the National Voice.
The Voice must be Constitutionally Enshrined
Recommendation: DCA notes that Constitutional enshrinement of the Voice is the consensus position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as expressed through the Uluru Statement. To safeguard the Voice and ensure its longevity, DCA believes that the Voice must be enshrined in the Constitution.
There should be a referendum in the next term of parliament
Recommendation: The Federal Government should have a clear pathway for a referendum to enshrine a Voice in the Constitution in the next parliamentary term.
Legislative and constitutional sequencing
Recommendation: Enabling legislation for the Voice should follow a referendum.
Make your own submission
DCA members are also encouraged to make your own submissions.