This week, Australians will vote on whether to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First First Peoples of Australia, through a First Nations Voice enshrined in our Constitution.
At the heart of the Voice are its design principles which ensure Indigenous Australians are empowered to provide insights and advice on the decisions that impact them directly. As we consider what a Voice would mean to the Parliament and our nation, it is worth reflecting on how the principles of the Voice apply in the context of our University.
How can we enable Indigenous students, staff and communities to have a Voice, and what impact does listening to – and learning from – that Voice have in practice?
The first key principle is advice and consultation. This is provided to leadership and relevant governance structures at the University through the office of the Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) and Wirltu Yarlu.
The Voice seeks to ensure representation and inclusion of First Nations perspectives and there has been an increased appreciation of the value of this at the University in recent years. By ensuring that their perspective and standpoint is embedded across the University of Adelaide, our activities and initiatives are culturally informed and empowering for our First Nations community.
Accountability and transparency are further design principles of the Voice. This is reflected in the University context by alignment with existing strategies and structures, and compliance with current policies and procedures.
Regardless of the outcome of the Referendum, the University of Adelaide remains committed to the Principles of the Voice and to embedding them across our institution. They are informing the design of a new First Nations Strategy with the final version scheduled to be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor in December.
Professor Steve Larkin | Kungarakan
Pro Vice Chancellor – Indigenous Engagement