The Uluru Statement from the Heart painting. (Image credit: The Uluru Dialogue)
Co-Chairs of the Uluru Dialogue, Professor Megan Davis and Pat Anderson AO, have congratulated a group of former leading judges who have publicly declared their combined support for a “Yes” vote at the upcoming referendum on the Voice to parliament.
This week the eight judges, who are members of the National Integrity Committee, said in a moving, open letter to the Australian people – which appeared in newspapers across the country – that a Voice to Parliament would enhance Australian governance.
“We confidently believe that, by raising the quality of our public debate, the proposed Voice will both enrich our democracy and increase the likelihood of governments making correct decisions about matters that affect Indigenous peoples,” the judges’ open letter stated.
“The call for the Voice was made in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which is the product of the widest survey of the views of First Nations peoples ever undertaken and which is a deeply respectful call ‘from all points of the Southern Sky’.
“It includes an invitation to all Australians to create a better future. We think that that invitation should be accepted.”
In response, Professor Megan Davis said the message from the co-signatories, a gathering of some of Australia’s most astute legal minds, again confirms the Voice is not only legally sound but will be a positive outcome for our democracy.
“The open letter by the judges should give Australians confidence to vote yes to giving First Nations people a Voice in matters which affect their lives,” Professor Davis said.
“The list of names at the bottom of the letter are some of best legal minds this country has produced. To have such respected identities offering up their support and assurance that what’s being proposed for constitutional recognition in the Voice is a fair request from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a wonderful action.”
Pat Anderson AO said the open letter was further evidence, amid the spreading of misinformation, that Australians are not going to lose anything following a successful “Yes” result at the upcoming referendum but in fact as a country we have much to gain. “It was very important for the group of former judges to do what they did,” she said.
“It goes to show that Aussies really have nothing to fear in the lead-up to this vote. What’s being asked of them to accept isn’t anything cutting-edge or risky in a legal sense. It’s a very generous, honest and moving request for Australia to move forward as one people.
“The legal world had already almost over-analysed, chopped and dissected both the statement and the constitutional changes being proposed; they had concluded many times that this is a safe development to Australia’s founding document. But to see such highly esteemed authority figures from the legal world lend their moral support in such a public display was beautiful,” Ms Anderson said.
The Co-signatories of the open letter were: The Hon Mary Gaudron KC, The Hon Carmel McLure AC KC, The Hon Stephen Charles AO KC, The Hon Paul Stein AM KC, The Hon David Harper AM KC, The Hon Anthony Whealy KC, The Hon Robert Redlich AM KC and The Hon Margaret White AO.