Reflections on The Voice

3 September 2023

ACA NSW/ACT Committee member Stephen Pearse reflects on the upcoming referendum, outlining the direct connection between The Voice and Designing with and for Country, and the day to day lives of architects in practice.


Vote YES! It’s good for the profession, business and the community.

I am supporting the Voice to continue the evolution of Australia towards a fairer and progressive nation.

I am also supporting the Voice with a view formed by working as an architect, and the benefits I believe this progression can have directly related to our day to day lives, business relationships and activities.

I have shared below examples of this direct action and benefit  from my own experience.

I am sure you will all have other examples that I would encourage you to share.

  • Designing with and for Country on projects – I have seen how empowering it is to First Nations groups involved in Designing with Country. The local participation, at the very minimum, binds a sense of community as well as developing shared knowledge and deeper understanding of the place.
  • The inclusion of the need to understand First Nations view of land and Country have already and will continue to develop Indigenous consultancies. This access to new knowledge is enlightening and empowering in the development of true site understanding and concept for any new development.
  • The growth of these new Indigenous consultancies provides structured access to the knowledge and provides pathways for all Indigenous people to bring their skills and enthusiasm into the development industry, both in rural and urban environments. This will be extremely important in providing identifiable pathways for young people to grow, earn and participate.
  • It also provides a strong platform for the participation of First Nations people through their intellectual and cultural input within a structured format into an important economic driver within the community.
  • It provides a value for the knowledge they share and will further provide engagement and breakdown stereotypes.
  • Designing with/for Country assists us and our clients to focus on the site and relationship with land, sky, natural systems and cultural/spiritual layers as a standard part of any site analysis,  adding depth to our design development and the outcome of an accurate understanding of the value of Country/the site. This is often under stress or even passed over under the weight of our technical process/value driven development of the project.

By supporting the YES vote and with follow-up direct action, we can continue to assist in an equitable society and the creation of new opportunities which will expand contact and understanding.

We will also learn and develop new lines of thought and analysis by working together re-interrogating old and imagining new solutions, by listening and engaging.

It will deliver a strong consistent voice that assists our government in maintaining the focus in the development of new pathways. We need to encourage consistent development and avoid political cycle swings and whims.

YES will be good for the profession, business and the community.


Stephen Pearse
stephen pearse architect pty ltd