Inspired by the Uluru Statement From the Heart, the Anglican Church Southern Queensland has made a submission in support of the call for a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution.
As Christians we are called to reconcile one with another and only then can we truly reconcile ourselves with God. It is thus important for our Diocesan community to support enshrining a long-needed First Nations Voice in the Constitution because it helps take the journey of Reconciliation from words to action. By making a submission in support of a First Nations Voice, we are taking a step forward as a movement towards Reconciliation.
As a Wakka Wakka man, a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution means the chance to be heard in a forum that is truly national. From a practical point of view, this Constitutional change will provide a lasting opportunity for First Nations peoples to be heard, especially in those conversations that most affect our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Thinking of a local woman Elder in our Diocese who often says, “We keep saying the same thing over and over, but we are not heard,” making this Constitutional change will ensure that First Nations leaders are heard in spaces that most affect them, including in the critical areas of health, education, employment, justice and housing.
Our life in Christ is all about relationships. Respect for one another and supporting each other’s fundamental rights are vital in moving forward. Supporting a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution is good for everyone and our Diocese’s submission is an important forward step in the healing and Reconciliation journey.
Our RAP Working Group used the From The Heart submission guidelines to assist with the process of writing our submission.
Please see our Diocese’s submission, signed by our Archbishop, below or download the submission.
29 April 2021
C/- Professor Dr Marcia Langton AO and
Professor Tom Calma AO
Co-chairs, Senior Advisory Group
Reply Paid 83380
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Re: Submission to the Indigenous Voice Co-design Process
The Anglican Church Southern Queensland is a Diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia, stretching from Bundaberg in the north to Coolangatta in the south and west to the South Australian and Northern Territory borders. Our Diocesan community includes more than 130 parishes; 20 schools; Anglicare Southern Queensland; St Francis Theological College; and, various other ministries.
We are blessed with large numbers of culturally distinct First Nations peoples in our Diocesan community, including people from various Aboriginal Countries across the geographical regions of South East Queensland, Darling Downs South West and Wide Bay-Burnett, as well as people from other Aboriginal Countries across Australia and from the Torres Strait Islands.
Inspired by the Uluru Statement From the Heart, the Anglican Church Southern Queensland wholeheartedly supports the call for a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution.
The Anglican Church Southern Queensland believes in a ‘fair go’, which is a value shared across our nation’s wider communities and is reflected in the broad support for this call. The Anglican Church Southern Queensland believes that constitutionally enshrining a First Nations Voice will be a significant step forward in enshrining long overdue fairness. It is only fair that our First Nations peoples have a genuinely independent and genuinely representative body that sits alongside Federal Parliament and Government to advise on legislation and policy that impact their communities now and into the future. Ensuring this constitutional guarantee will help provide our First Nations leaders and their communities with stability and longevity, particularly across election cycles and changes of Government.
The Anglican Church Southern Queensland seeks to uphold the value of meaningful change. In this context, we believe that a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution will support the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to make decisions at a local level and to have the autonomy to meet their social, cultural and economic needs. First Nations communities have a right to be able to effectively and efficiently influence the laws and policies that will impact their capacity to keep community life going. Through our national Church’s Synodical resolutions, we have long upheld this right, including in 2017 when General Synod resolved to “support the recommendation of the Referendum Council for a constitutionally-entrenched First Nations’ Voice to the Commonwealth Parliament.”
The Anglican Church Southern Queensland seeks to uphold the values of peace and reconciliation, as expressed in the fourth Anglican Communion Mark of Mission. Reconciliation is about strengthening and healing relationships with First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the common good of all Australians. In order for us to be sincere in our commitment to reconciliation, the Anglican Church Southern Queensland stands with our First Nations peoples to seek relationships built on mutual trust, equality, institutional integrity, unity and historical acceptance, as outlined by Reconciliation Australia. As such, we see enshrining a First Nations Voice as a significant unifying opportunity in the reconciliation journey.
The Anglican Church Southern Queensland also seeks to uphold the value of integrity and thus calls upon the Federal Government to honour its election commitment to a referendum once a model for the Voice has been agreed to. We believe that this model must reflect diverse First Nations voices, and that membership of the representative body should be open to new and previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders. We also believe that legislation for the Voice must only be passed after a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament.
The Most Reverend Dr Phillip Aspinall
Archbishop of BrisbaneJump to next article