From the Heart reiterates the call from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that a Voice to Parliament must be enshrined in the Australian Constitution.
The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, on Sunday stated that the Federal Government intends to legislate a Voice before the end of this term of Parliament without guaranteed pathway to a referendum.
From the Heart Director, Dean Parkin said that “Legislating the Voice without an agreed pathway to constitutional enshrinement is inconsistent with the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”
The Uluru Statement represents a historic consensus of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in seeking constitutional change to enshrine a Voice to Parliament. No other process has achieved a similar mandate.
Mr Parkin said that the Government should honour its 2019 election promise to follow the two-stage process for a Voice outlined in the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition.
“The Government committed to a first stage process to co-design the Voice, followed by a second stage that would consider the constitutional and legislative arrangements for the Voice”.
“The Prime Minister confirmed his commitment to a two-stage process in his Closing the Gap speech to Parliament in February this year”.
“The Minister should not waver from this process and keep the Government’s election commitment,” said Mr Parkin.
“A Voice that is merely legislated should not be seen as an ‘easy way out’ or ticking-the-box on the Uluru Statement. It will be strongly opposed by supporters of the Uluru Statement.”
Mr Parkin continued, “We agree with the Minister that this issue is ‘too important for us to fail’ and if this year has shown us anything it’s that by working together we can overcome significant challenges”.
The Government has announced that the interim co-design report for the Voice will go to public consultation in December. From the Heart will make a submission once the interim report is released.