Danny King Legal: The Firm that gave me a voice on The Voice

Anshika Sharma

The following should not be considered legal advice and is for general use only.

The First Nations Voice to Parliament (The Voice) is not only significant due to its constitutional implications, but also because it is the only Australian referendum to be held in the 21st Century. Since the last referendum in 1999, the makeup of the Australian public has changed significantly, along with the way in which we consume information. 

The ‘what is The Voice?’ conversation began with my immigrant parents, and I soon realised that many others had similar questions. For this reason, I remain passionate about ensuring my peers, colleagues, and hopefully the Australian public are able to make an informed decision before we cast our vote on an issue that directly impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.   Our firm is the perfect representation of the cross-section of Australian society, consisting of a variety of ages, nationalities, and cultures. With 10 different backgrounds represented within the firm and an age range between 20 and 40, everyone has varying degrees of understanding of The Voice – but amazingly, were keen to learn more. Supported by the firms’ partners, Danny, Kevin, and Sonia, I was encouraged to spearhead an initiative that focused on educating the firm on what The Voice is, what a referendum is, and what it all means for Australians come vote time.  

Earlier this year I conducted a firm-wide presentation on what The Voice is and how it might operate, the Uluru Statement and its historical context, and potential ways the constitutional amendment could be phrased.  ‘Lawyer brain’ can be both a blessing and a curse, and many of us subconsciously analyse situations through a legal lens. The presentation opened up an important discussion on non-legal topics related to The Voice, like comparisons to indigenous constitutional recognition in other countries, understanding and respecting the different perspectives indigenous people have on the referendum, and simply why The Voice, in my opinion, is an important proposed amendment.   Over the past few months, DKL has taken active steps in not only ensuring employees are informed about The Voice, but also in supporting indigenous businesses and the wider indigenous community. The firm has a list of local businesses and suppliers for commercial purposes, and has publicly endorsed the Uluru Statement from the Heart through social media channels and in its email signatures.  

Upon seeing my interests and passion, Danny King invited me to join an initiative she has undertaken alongside the Molly Wardaguga Research Centre, to design a ‘de-colonised’ employment law model better suited to the needs of remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. This has given me an opportunity to learn directly from indigenous leaders and experts, who are essential in understanding ways in which we can successfully Close the Gap.  During this ‘Year of the Voice’, I hope the Australian public will go beyond simply supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to actively promoting and working alongside Indigenous Australians. Understanding the cultural and social dynamics that exist within indigenous communities, and consulting with them, is essential in creating policies, legislation, and aiming for equality. I for one, am excited to be part of a firm that not only supports my passions but gives me the platform to learn about it, speak about it and live these passions in my every day work.  

The above should not be considered legal advice and is for general use only.