Legislation has passed the Australian Senate that sets in motion the referendum to add the Voice to Parliament into the Constitution in Australia.
If Australians vote ‘yes’, the Voice will be able to make proactive representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Dwayne Coulthard, a South Australian representative of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, has spent recent years advocating for serious change.
The young proud Adnyamathanha/Kokatha man, who works in policy, law and social services in SA, says he agrees with changing the Constitution as there has been an “urgent need for substantive structural reform” for many years.
“The Commonwealth have power… a race power in the Constitution, Section 51 (26)… Unfortunately since 1967, that power has only been used in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. If the Commonwealth Federal Parliament hold a power that has only been used against a certain community, wouldn’t you think they should actually have a seat at the table to advise about those laws?” Dwayne Coulthard said to ARN Radio’s Jennie Lenman and Adam Connelly this morning.
Section 51(xxvi) enables the Commonwealth to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to the people of any race for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws.
Coulthard has told Reconciliation SA he was honoured to be a part of the Uluru Statement from the Heart movement from 2017 on and wholeheartedly believes in the movement for “Voice, Treaty and Truth”.
“The Statement from the Heart is an invitation to the Australian people to embark on this journey with us. To create substantive reform. In order to stay true to and fulfill the spirit and mandate of the Statement from the Heart, a First Nations Voice to Parliament must be enshrined in the Australian Constitution,” he said.
Hear more from Dwayne Coulthard speaking with Adam Connelly and Jennie Lenman in the audio play window below: