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Federal opposition ‘respects intent’ of Indigenous Voice to Parliament, but demands details


The Coalition says it is keeping an “open mind” but has raised questions about how the proposed Voice to Parliament would work.

Nationals Leader and Shadow Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the opposition “respects the intent” of the movement but is concerned about a lack of detail.

Nationals Leader David Littleproud
Nationals Leader David Littleproud said the issue has been “littered with good intentions” for many decades. (9News)

“This issue has been littered with good intentions for many decades and we haven’t necessarily got the outcome,” he told Today on Sunday morning.

“Now is the time for the government to tell us the detail of what they’re picking out of that report, how this is going to operate, who’s going to be on it, how will that go to building trust, and not just across Australia but also with Indigenous communities.”

“It would be a lost of opportunity if the government doesn’t get this right,” Littleproud said.

However, Labor’s Northern Territory Senator Malarndirri McCarthy encouraged the opposition to go through the “15 years” of documentation surrounding Indigenous constitutional recognition for the answers to their questions.

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy (9News)

“Constitutional recognition has been talked about for over 15 years and there’s been many parliamentary committees, First Nation committees,” she told Today.

“Those reports are there and so the opposition and others in the parliament are very welcome to go and read them.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced yesterday a suggested wording for a referendum question to be put to Australians:

“Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at Garma festival in Northern Territory
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at Garma festival in Northern Territory (Getty)

Albanese also outlined three sentences which would drive discussion around the proposed constitutional amendment:

  1. There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
  2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice make representations to Parliament and the Executive Government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
  3. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

In order to create the Voice to Parliament, Australia’s constitution must be changed through a referendum.

A referendum requires the majority of people and the majority of states to vote in favour of a yes/no proposal.

Of the 44 referendums in Australian history, only eight have been successful, and none have carried since 1977.

The last referendum was in 1999, when Australians voted against becoming a republic.



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