WA Liberals Respond to Indigenous Voice Plans in Parliament
According to Senator Michaelia Cash, the exact details of an Indigenous voice in Parliament must be made “crystal clear” before Australians are invited to take part in a referendum on the issue.
Federal Liberal MP Sussan Ley has also strongly hinted that her party would oppose a vote on constitutional change that does not specify how the long-talked-about voice would work.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese used a speech at the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory on Saturday to unveil draft wording for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ referendum question asking whether an indigenous voice should be enshrined in the constitution.
“We should consider asking our fellow Australians something as simple as ‘Do you support a change to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice? “said Mr. Albanese.
He also revealed three draft sentences to be added to the constitution:
- There will be an organization called the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice can intervene with Parliament and the Executive Government on issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Parliament, subject to this Constitution, has the power to make laws in relation to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice.
Responding to the proposal before the WA Liberal State Conference on Saturday, Ms Cash pointed to the maiden speech of Senate colleague and Warlpiri-Celtic woman Jacinta Nampijinpa Price who criticized the vote as a “virtuous act of symbolic gesture”.
“(Senator Pryce) made it very, very clear: there is no consensus among Indigenous communities when it comes to a voice,” Ms Cash said.
“And as our deputy federal leader said, this is not a vanity project. This is serious constitutional reform and the details should be crystal clear.
Ms Ley – attending the WA Liberal State conference in place of Federal Leader Peter Dutton – said it was ‘disappointing’ the debate over the vote had been ‘politicized’ by Mr Albanese.
“Constitutional reform must be considered,” she said.
“You have to be careful and it has to be advisory.
“So the headlines and the questions to get that media outlet – great. But you know, we’ll take our time to look at the details.
Pressed on whether the Liberals would only support a referendum question detailing how a vote works, Ms Ley said it was ‘too early’ to say what her party’s position was.
“But we need to know how this organ would work,” she said.
“And a main question proposed by the Prime Minister does not give us the answer to that.
“How would the body be constituted? Who would participate? How would this work in practice and how would it address the real issues that Indigenous women are asking the government to (address)? »