As part of accepting the invitation for reform in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the Australian government has committed to a referendum on whether to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution through an enshrined First Nations voice. The Indigenous Law Centre (UNSW) has released three issues papers, addressing critical matters in the lead up to the referendum.
This issues paper considers the question of how and when to finalise the design of the model of the voice. We propose that these issues should be resolved by reference to three principles: respect for the Australian people as voters in the referendum, assurance to First Nations that the design of the voice will not be imposed on them by the Parliament without their input, and flexibility in the future design of the Voice. We recommend, in advance of a referendum, the release to the voting public of a set of design principles and a timetabled process for finalising the Voice design in accordance with these principles should a referendum be successful.