Conversations About The Voice

Walking Tracks by Ande K Terare
Image by artist Ande K Terare (Language group: Bundjalung; Tribe/clan: Minjungbal)

Conversations About The Voice is a series of events exploring and explaining the proposal to change the Australian Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia. The series is organised by the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Melbourne Law School.

The series is a public-facing initiative which aims to inform public understanding of, and public debate about, the proposed constitutional change, including the process of change, over the course of the referendum year, with a particular focus on the constitutional and legal dimensions of The Voice proposal. Each event will be dedicated to a core aspect of the reform proposal, and feature leading thinkers and a range of perspectives. The series is intended to be interactive, and to provide an opportunity for members of the audience to contribute to the conversation and have their questions answered.

The series is convened by Timothy Goodwin (List A Barristers), Laureate Emeritus Professor Cheryl Saunders AO (Melbourne), and Professor Jason Varuhas (Director, CCCS).

Tim Goodwin
Cheryl Saunders
Jason Varuhas

The next seminar in the series will address The Voice, the courts and the rule of law, considering what role the courts might play if the referendum is passed and The Voice established. The event will take place on Monday 5 June at 6.00pm at Melbourne Law School. The event will be held both in person and online.

The presenters for this seminar are:

  • Professor Cheryl Saunders AO, Melbourne Law School
  • Liz Bennett SC, List G Barristers, Victorian Bar
  • Taryn Lee, General Manager, Social Impact and Policy, Collingwood Football Club
  • Professor Jason Varuhas, Melbourne Law School

Register for the seminar here

To get the conversation going, we have prepared an InfoSheet that sets out the terms of the proposed change, what it means, and what the process is likely to be over the referendum year. Feel free to use it and distribute it as widely as you like. It will be amended from time to time during the course of the year, to make sure it is up to date.

The InfoSheet is available here

Seminar recordings

The first conversation in the series took place on Monday 3 April 2023. Why The Voice?  A discussion of the history of The Voice proposal, the rationale for the proposed model, the rationale for constitutional reform, and comparative lessons from other countries with experience of consultative processes with Indigenous peoples.

The second conversation in the series took place on Tuesday 2 May 2023. About government, Parliament and the Voice. What would it do? How would it work? This conversation explained and explored the roles that the institutions of Parliament and government might and could play in relation to the Voice.

Image credit:

We are grateful to artist Ande K Terare (Language group: Bundjalung; Tribe/clan: Minjungbal) for permission to use his painting, ‘Walking Tracks’, in relation to the Conversations About The Voice series. The painting is on display in the Melbourne Law School building.

Ande K Terare was born in 1970 on the North Coast of New South Wales. He gained knowledge of traditional culture from older siblings and other relatives in his family. His paintings depict the traditional ways of life: the land, the natural resources, ceremonies, stories and legends, and contemporary works that are largely influenced by his Aboriginal heritage.