Eighteen of the nation’s top law firms have supported the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The firms supporting the call for the First Nations to have their voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution are:
Here is the joint response from the firms:
To the First Nations of Australia:
Thank you for your Uluru Statement From the Heart, an invitation to Australia and the Australian people.
Thank you for your invitation to walk with you in a movement of all Australian people for a better future.
We recognise the Uluru Statement From the Heart as an historic mandate to create a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
We hear and support your call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution and for a referendum as a national priority.
We look forward to working with and supporting you, governments and all Australia to take this next step towards reconciliation.
A culmination of 13 regional dialogues held across the country for a year, the Uluru Statement from the Heart was released in May 2017 by delegates to a three-day constitutional convention of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates. It outlined the desire of the First Nations to have their voice enshrined in the Constitution, as well as establish a Makarrata Commission, to better solve these communities’ concerns and problems.
Brooke Massender, head of pro bono at Herbert Smith Freehills, said on behalf of the firms: “The historic consensus reached at Uluru was a major milestone in the journey towards achieving substantive constitutional reform. Through this broad collaborative response we are signalling clearly that First Nations voices matter and should be heard.”
Joanna Renkin, pro bono and community partner at Lander & Rogers, said: “The Uluru Statement represents an invitation for all Australians to come together in a national dialogue that will help to positively shape our national identity. As lawyers, we felt that we were well placed to respond to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and we were very keen to do so. We encourage other law firms, professional services firms and corporations across the country to join this important conversation.”
Megan Davis, pro vice chancellor indigenous at UNSW and a member of the Referendum Council, said that endorsement of the statement by 18 of Australia’s leading law firms is a historic development toward the constitutional recognition of First Nations.
“Constitutional change is a formidable task in Australia. We have been working on this process for almost a decade. To have our leading law firms support the referendum as a national priority should inspire great confidence in the Australian community that this reform is modest and achievable,” Davis said. “I applaud these 18 law firms to show this leadership in their moving collective response to our call at Uluru for Australians to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”