Latest committee for ‘Voice to government’ pathway announced

Article by Shahni Wellington for NITV

The newly announced committee is the second of three to be established to work towards delivering the co-designed ‘voice’ to government component of the pathway to constitutional recognition.
Chief executive of Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia, Dr Donna Odegaard, will co-chair the group. Source: Facebook


Larrakia woman and chief executive of Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia, Donna Odegaard, has been announced as the co-chair of the latest ‘Voice to government’ advisory group.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Ken Wyatt, named the list of 16 members on Wednesday, who will design proposed models for a legislated Indigenous advisory body.

It is the second panel announced as part of the co-design process, with the senior advisory group announced in November last year and the Local and Regional group still to come.
Dr Odegaard will be joined by members such as palawa Elder and Indigenous rights activist, Rodney Dillon, and Wiradjuri woman and Australian Rugby League Indig­en­ous Council chairwoman, Katrina­ Fanning.

The group will also be chaired by an as yet un-named senior official from the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

Dr Odegaard described the year-long process of consultations that lay ahead as an “unprecedented opportunity” to bring together the many voices of Indigenous people.

“We cannot expect to succeed in changing our future as Indigenous Australians if we do not bring each other along.

“Working together towards the same goal, within the same framework that we establish, gives us a greater chance of success but we must expect hard work, determination and dedication,” Dr Odegaard said.

“We can do it, we just have to be genuinely committed. I have been committed to this for most of my life and I’m certain most of us are”.

Other members of the group include CEO of the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children (SNAICC), Richard Weston, Co-chair of the First People’s Assembly of Victoria, Marcus Stewart, CEO of the National Native Title Council, Jamie Lowe and Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation deputy chair, Joseph Elu.

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, and Fraser government ­Aboriginal Affairs minister­, Fred Chaney, are also part of the latest group.

Mr Kennet made headlines last year for his remarks in regards to security guards at major sporting stadiums, saying they were unable to properly fulfil their role because they appeared to be “new arrivals” to Australia.

A full list of the national group is below:

  • Dr Donna Odegaard AM
  • Mr Jamie Lowe
  • Mr Rodney Dillon
  • Prof Gracelyn Smallwood AM
  • Mr Richard Weston
  • Prof Cheryl Kickett-Tucker
  • Ms Katrina Fanning PSM
  • The Hon Jeff Kennett  AC
  • Mr Damian Griffis
  • Mr Steve Wanta Patrick Jampijinpa
  • Ms Fiona McLeod SC
  • Mr Marcus Stewart
  • Ms Kristal Kinsela-Christie
  • The Hon Fred Chaney AO
  • Mr Joseph Elu AO
  • Ms Zell Dodd
The senior advisory group co-designing the Indigenous Voice to government has meet for the first time. Source: SBS News


Last year, it was revealed that the federal government would not pursue enshrining an Indigenous Voice to parliament in the constitution, as proposed in the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart, which also advocated to include truth-telling, and a Makaratta, or treaty commission, to the outcomes of constitutional amendment.

The Morrison government has, however, promised a national referendum on recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution inside of its three-year term.

Once the co-designed model for a Voice has been created, the new three tiers of committees will then begin “Stage 2” of the government’s preferred strategy, which it has labeled, “consultation and engagement”.

The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, has outlined the new groups key objectives.

“This group will work on options to have Indigenous voices heard on the national stage and take a model to Indigenous leaders, communities and stakeholders around the country to refine,” he said.

“The group will be assisted by the Senior Advisory Group, co-chaired by Professor Dr Marcia Langton AM and Professor Tom Calma AO, who will continue to advise and guide the process and keep it moving forward.”
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