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Inquiry into the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023

The Law Council of Australia provided a submission to the Joint Select Committee on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum in response to its inquiry into the provisions of the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 (the Constitution Alteration). 

The Law Council supports a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice and has advocated in support of this position since October 2017,1 including through submissions to the numerous Government inquiries and processes established concerning constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since 2017.2

The Law Council submits that there are three core grounds constituting the compelling case for a constitutionally enshrined Voice. These are that the Voice will provide:

(a) on their own terms, for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia, through a Voice specifically enshrined within the Constitution;

(b) a vehicle for substantive change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and

(c) a means to give effect to the right to self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Law Council supports the Constitution Alternation being passed in its present form, as an appropriate means to provide for the Constitutional enshrinement of the Voice. It considers that the constitutional amendment, as proposed, is just and legally sound.
 


1 Law Council of Australia, ‘Law Council throws support behind referendum on the creation of new Indigenous representative body - Law Council of Australia’ (media release, 24 October 2017).

2 See, Law Council of Australia ‘Constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament a must’ (29 June 2018); Law Council of Australia, ‘Uluru Statement should be respected - Law Council of Australia’ (media release, 1 November 2019); Law Council of Australia ‘47th Parliament must move swiftly toward referendum on Voice to Parliament’ (media release 26 May 2022); Law Council of Australia, ‘47th Parliament must move swiftly toward referendum on Voice to Parliament’ (media release 26 May 2022); Law Council of Australia Submissions to the Referendum Council, Discussion Paper on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (19 May 2017); Law Council of Australia, Submissions to the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Law Council of Australia, Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, (15 June 2018); Submission to Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Interim Report on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (28 September 2018); Law Council of Australia Submission to the National Indigenous Australians Agency on the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process (30 April 2021).

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