Almost four years on from the issuing of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, UNSW is encouraging its community to have their say on the establishment of a First Nations Voice in Australia’s Constitution.
“Almost four years ago, the Uluru Statement from the Heart invited all Australians to walk together towards a better future. Every Australian can now take part in the federal government’s consultation about the design of the First Nations Voice to Parliament,” said Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor.
“I stand with Professor Megan Davis, Professor of Law, Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law, and UNSW Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, in personally supporting a First Nations Voice to Parliament protected in the Australian Constitution.
“I encourage the UNSW community to participate and contribute your views in this important national conversation.”
The Uluru Statement from the Heart came out of the First Nations National Constitutional Convention in May 2017. It followed a decade of formal Commonwealth processes designed to recognise Indigenous peoples in the Constitution. The statement makes clear there is one proposal for recognition that has consensus support: the constitutional enshrinement of a First Nations Voice to Parliament.
The Federal Government is inviting Australians to have their say on an Indigenous Voice to help inform how it will take shape, including the option of a national Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
“It’s time to take a Voice to Parliament to the Australian people, to start the work to hold a referendum,” said Professor Megan Davis, UNSW Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, Professor of Law and Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law.
“Now is the time to walk together and address the unfinished business of this nation.”
Prof. Davis, a Cobble Cobble woman and co-chair of the Uluru Dialogue – a group of First Nations and non-Indigenous community leaders, law scholars and advocates based at the UNSW Indigenous Law Centre – said after decades of work, advocacy, and community engagement, Australians now have the opportunity to take the next steps towards a new relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“It is only the Australian people that have the power to unlock the Australian Constitution,” Prof. Davis said.
“It’s also the public, the people, everyday Australians, that can lead governments to take the necessary steps to enact lasting change.”
Making submissions that include the support of constitutionally enshrined Voice shows the federal government that this is what the broader public want and support, Prof. Davis said.
“We have had a decade long process, which eventually led to a moment where the [federal] government asked First Nations people: 'What would constitutional recognition look like for you?'
“Through 13 Regional Dialogues that culminated at the Uluru Convention in 2017, a moment that produced the Uluru Statement from the Heart, we got that answer. We got a consensus.”
Prof. Davis added, “it's beyond time” for the question to be put to the Australian people.
The deadline for submissions in response to proposals for an Indigenous Voice is Wednesday 31 March 2021.
How to get involved
2. Use the toolkit to start and lead conversations with your staff, friends and family.
3. Make a submission to the Interim Voice Report following the Uluru Dialogue guidelines. You can make submissions to the Interim Report here.
4. Take your submission to your local MP and discuss your support for a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.
5. Tell people about your support for a Voice to Parliament, enshrined in the Constitution. Add your support to your website and/or email signature.
7. Follow our socials @ulurustatement and share our posts.
8. Make a donation here.
Read more information on the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Watch the three briefings of the Interim Report by the Indigenous Law Centre.