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The Voice

Regrettably there has been some disingenuous commentary today in the media emanating from the mouths of some members of the Federal opposition about the proposed referendum to amend the constitution, so that there is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament (the Voice) enshrined within the Commonwealth Constitution. It is disingenuous commentary because not only are the questions for the referendum which have been posed by the Prime Minister plain and simple to understand, but also because the Federal opposition when they were members of the former Morrison Government received in July 2021 the detailed 272 page report from the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process (the Report).

The Federal opposition also have access to the Voice Co-Design Process website, a website they also had access to whilst they were members of the Morrison Government.

Chapter 1 of the Report explains how the Voice will work in the context of legislative consultation, including the details regarding dispute resolution between local and regional members to the Voice as well as with governments. Chapter 2 of the Report records the details of the membership of the Voice, including the selection process.

Some of the commentary in the media today also suggested there had been a lack of consultation about the Voice. That suggestion is ludicrous, as there has been substantial consultation throughout the community via submissions being tendered to the Voice Co-Design Process, webinars, community group consultations, social media and other forms of consultation. Chapter 3 of the Report which commences at page 187 of the documents sets out within the 24 pages of that chapter the extent of the substantial consultation which has taken place. Comments in the media regarding an alleged lack of consultation is just misleading the Australian public, and is simply untrue given the extent of the consultation around Australia.

So, in summary regarding the commentary in the media (both mainstream and social media) by some members of the Federal opposition, and other people in the community, alleging a lack of detail and lack of consultation about the Voice is not just misleading, but it also appears to be an attempt to create division and confusion about a simple constitutional amendment to cause the referendum to fail.

The implementation of the Voice to be a constitutionally enshrined right for Aboriginal and Torres Strait members of our society is one of the necessary steps we need to undertake in this nation. It is not a third chamber of Parliament; the Voice is a respectful consultation process about legislation which affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people. As the Prime Minister Mr Albanese said yesterday, “If not now, when?


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  1. New England Cocky

    There are other amendments to the Australian Constitution that should also be addressed with this matter, including the ”race sections” that identify Australia as a firmly racist society.

    While Australia is definitely a racist society, as shown by the joint party approach to legal refugees, these same persons could be put to good use in Australia by releasing them, supporting them while training them to participate in the wider Australian economy, firstly as the very scarce ”unskilled” labour, then as happened after WWII, progressing to build the Australian economy as happened after the Vietnam American Imperialist War.

    Cooperation Creates More than Competition.

  2. Terence Mills

    Oddly all the talk so far has omitted reference to removing the race provisions in the constitution, during the referendum ( sections 25 and 51 (xxvi)) although Marcia Langton has mentioned this – perhaps it got obliterated in the red dust of Garma.

  3. Geoff Andrews

    Gosh, I’m just as surprised as you appear to be Mr Springer that Her Majesty’s opposition would adopt this attitude: they are usually so caring & inclusive with a social conscience that was almost Christlike. I do hope that this example of the politics of envy is not a reflection of that of the new management.

  4. Graeme

    There is confusion however, stemming from the Recognise Campaign and then a large piece of prose disseminated as part of the “Statement from the Heart” with notions of “Sovereignty is a spiritual notion” which certainly didn’t please many.
    Is the only Constitutional change being asked for, just this Voice?
    Have all those “preambular recognition” parts been dropped?

  5. Douglas Pritchard

    While we decide who`s voice is the dominant one, it should be noted that during this conference the flag flying alongside our own was the stars and stripes. Depending on the news source, this was edited out!
    In US it is virtually mandatory to display their flag otherwise you are not sufficiently patriotic. Bonkers.
    Have we learned anything at all, or do we continually shoot ourselves in the foot?

  6. A Commentator

    This is a critical step for Australia. The issue is ours to screw up.
    Albanese has shown great leadership, and those advocating the change will win if they demonstrate the same calm rationality and avoid the trap of politicisation

  7. Michael Taylor

    OMG, AC. I was just thinking of you. Was going to ask if you got away OK.

  8. Michael Taylor

    But you’re right, it is ours to screw up.

  9. Terence Mills

    Last night on Sky-after-Dark, Paul Murray was setting the scene for opposition to the ‘Voice’ as only Newscorp can do by spreading conspiracy theories.

    They introduced ‘reparations’ as part of the objective but reparation is defined as the action of making amends for a wrong one has done, by providing payment or other assistance to those who have been wronged.

    That’s just being mischievous, it’s the first I’ve heard of reparations !!

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