Voice your Support for a First Nations Voice
The Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) has called on the Government to ensure a Voice for First Nations Peoples is enshrined in Australia’s constitution.
In response to the Federal Government’s co-design process to decide what a ‘Voice to Parliament’ will look like, UAICC leaders have rejected the legislative model proposed, which they say does not go far enough.
National Interim Chair of UAICC Ps Mark Kickett said in its current form they could not support this model.
Recalling previous experiences where legislative bodies like the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) were removed by the Government of the day, Ps Kickett said it was imperative that the National Voice be included in the Australian Constitution.
“This would ensure the body was not controlled by Government but was truly a Voice to the Parliament,” he said.
“Therefore, we reject the notion of a legislated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Voice and urge the Government to adopt the proposal for a constitutionally enshrined National Voice.”
A Voice to Parliament was the primary request made by the National Constitutional Convention in the document referred to as the Statement from the Heart, along with treaty negotiations and truth telling. This Statement was affirmed by the 15th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia.
“Strong ‘heart-land’ voices need to be heard,” said Palawa woman Alison Overeem, National UAICC Executive member and Co-convenor of the Uniting First People’s Network.
“There are many First Nations voices, and they all need to be heard through an appropriate structure of local, regional and state Voice representation which feeds into the National Voice.”
The UAICC have also rejected the idea of a separate policy body but were supportive of the three-year term suggested in the proposal, with a maximum of two terms and rotating membership for continuity.
Ps Kickett added that other aspects of the proposal will be conditional upon Constitutional enshrinement and determined accordingly.
Members of the Uniting Church are encouraged to make their own submissions before the now extended deadline of 30 April. Submissions do not need to be detailed – making a submission informs the Government this is an issue you are concerned about.
You can read the detailed proposal and the explainers and decide to make a submission as an individual or organisation, such as a congregation.
Go to the link below and have your say. https://haveyoursay.voice.niaa.gov.au/
Helpful information can be found here: https://ulurustatement.org/interim-voice-report
Photo: Walk for Reconciliation, Sydney Harbour Bridge, 28 May 2000