Media Release: Clayton Utz brings community together to show the path towards an Indigenous voice to government

15 Nov 2019

Perth, 15 November 2019: Today Clayton Utz will bring together members of Perth's business community to hear perspectives on why Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians is important, and whether Australia can achieve an Indigenous voice to government as the country continues to work towards true reconciliation.

Over 50 guests will attend including the chief executives of several Perth corporates, members of Indigenous organisations, leaders from schools and universities, and lawyers to hear from a panel comprising the Hon Fred Chaney AO, former Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (1978-1980), Federal Member for Curtin the Hon Celia Hammond MP, Reconciliation WA Chair Carol Innes, and writer, lawyer and philosopher Damien Freeman from Australian Catholic University, on the topic: How can our Constitution guarantee that Indigenous Voices are heard by Parliament?

Sean Gordon, the Chair of not-for-profit Uphold and Recognise, will moderate the discussion. Tonight, his fellow director Rachel Perkins will deliver the first of ABC's Boyer Lectures "The End of Silence".

Among the issues that will be discussed includes why Constitutional recognition of a First Nations Voice is important, and how the Australian Government's co-design process would work in practice. The Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, announced on 30 October a co-design process that will develop models to enhance local and regional decision-making and provide a voice for Indigenous Australians to government.

Clayton Utz Perth partner Simon Taskunas said the firm organised the event to continue to raise awareness and promote a great understanding of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

"Clayton Utz joined 16 other law firms in March this year in responding to the Uluru Statement from the Heart by supporting the call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution and for a referendum as a national priority. In the months that followed, other industry leaders and organisations also heeded the call and it became clear that there is strong support for taking this important next step towards reconciliation," said Simon.

"We want to be part of continuing to drive the discussion towards action and bringing others on board."

Clayton Utz Chief Executive Partner Rob Cutler said it was important for the business community to maintain the momentum around the issue. "Ultimately, we want to see positive and lasting change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We need to work together to achieve this."

Clayton Utz launched our Reconciliation Action Plan in 2010 to continue to strengthen our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, charities and businesses through our Pro Bono work, community partnerships, procurement practices, and the Clayton Utz Foundation

In Western Australia, we have built richly rewarding partnerships with Wirrpanda Foundation, the Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health (FISH), and the EON Foundation.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a national Indigenous consensus position on Indigenous constitutional reform, drafted at the May 2017 constitutional convention of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates.

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