Friday, 12 April 2024

Reception for the Members of the First Nations Voice to Parliament

Rod and I welcome Members of the Voice to Government House and congratulate you on your election to this historic body.

It was with a deep sense of pride that a year ago on the steps of Parliament House, in front of First Nations elders, First Nations people, the Premier, ministers, parliamentarians and thousands of South Australians, I gave Royal Assent to the First Nations Voice Bill 2023.

Such signing into law is usually done behind closed doors here at Government House, but this historic occasion warranted a public event.

After all, taking another step in a long tradition of South Australian social and legislative firsts, South Australia is the first state in the nation to legislate a First Nations Voice.

It was a moment of immense pride and importantly, hope.

It was plain that all assembled could sense the significance of the occasion.

I trust that you have equal pride and hope for your roles in making the Voice a reality.

As is often the case when new ground is broken, there has been both support and criticism about the path that has been undertaken.

But in your hands, I have every confidence that the Voice will be heard and will make the difference that is needed.

Undoubtedly, there is a lot expected of you: I congratulate you all for standing up and taking on the challenges ahead.

You are representatives of peoples who have demonstrated resilience over more than 60,000 years.

Now, through you, First Nations voices will be elevated.

Through you, First Nations voices will be heard by decision makers at the highest levels.


Nearly 200 years ago, good intentions towards First Nations people – proclaimed by our first Governor – were encompassed in the foundational documents of our State.

History shows, regrettably, they did not come to fruition.

I restate my commitment to supporting reconciliation in South Australia by working, in ways appropriate for the Governor, side by side with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

As Rod and I have met First Nations people across the State, we have witnessed what is possible when South Australians listen to each other with respect and work together.

Just two days ago at the Kaurna Shelter Tree – Willawilla Karra Kuu, we witnessed what is possible when South Australians simply share their love of country.

I wish all the Members of the First Nations Voice to Parliament well for your roles ahead.

Already you have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of First Nations people in South Australia.

Thank you all for being trailblazers.

Rod and I hope to continue to engage with you as we walk together.

Coming events