Thursday, 23 March 2023

MEDIA STATEMENT: The proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament

While the Prime Minister has finally revealed what the Australian people will be asked in the referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament later this year, there are questions that remain unanswered.

I, along with others, are yet to see any detail that explains how the proposed Voice will help with the challenging situations in Aboriginal communities right across Australia.

How will it help children who are being sexually assaulted? How will it help stop domestic violence? How will it help people get an education or a job? How will it tackle crime and issues around alcohol dependency?

The proposed changes to the Australian Constitution state the Voice may make representations to the Parliament and Executive Government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Isn’t that what any Member and Senator – including the 11 Indigenous Australians who were democratically elected by their communities – already does?

We all speak with the people who chose us as their representative in Canberra and act as a conduit for that information.

There is any number of stakeholder groups, organisations and Government Departments which provide an avenue for representations on matters relation to Indigenous Australians.

How will the members of the proposed Voice be selected? What is the difference between the members the Voice making a representation to the Parliament and an elected MP or Senator making a representation to the Parliament?

I was out in my electorate last week speaking with constituents and the overwhelming majority do not agree with the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

Changes to the wording of the Australian Constitution is not something that should be based on a feeling, but that’s what Labor wants you to do: vote on a feeling.

A change to our founding document which means Australians won’t be treated equally is not something that I can support.

My view remains steadfast: we are one people, we are one country, we are all equal. I will be voting no at the referendum and encourage you to have your say.

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