The Public Interest Advocacy Centre supports a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Australian Constitution.
We say ‘yes’, because there is an injustice at the heart of our Constitution: its failure to recognise the first peoples of this land. It is in our power to change this.
In 2017, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were asked how we could recognise them. The Referendum Council undertook the most comprehensive consultation on our Constitution ever conducted. And in an historic consensus, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people asked for a Voice.
Giving First Nations people a chance to be heard in decisions by government and the parliament is a fair, modest and practical proposal.
It is fair to recognise the first people of this country in our founding document.
It is modest to seek an advisory role that respects parliamentary supremacy. Just as the government gets expert advice from the Productivity Commission or the Auditor-General, the Voice will help to get better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
It is practical to seek to have input into decisions of Parliament and the government. For too long governments have failed to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We need to do things differently if we want things to change.
The work of the Indigenous Voice Co-design Process has produced a detailed proposal for how a Voice could be structured and function. It provides a roadmap to a practical and workable model for the Voice.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart invites us to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.
We are proud to have accepted that invitation. We are proud to say ‘yes’ to the Voice.