Australians to go to the polls to vote for an Aboriginal Voice to Parliament

Indigenous affairs minister Linda Burney has delivered a powerful speech about the importance of an Voice to Parliament, encouraging Australians to ‘get this done together’.

Ms Burney delivered her address during Question Time on Monday after attending the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory with Anthony Albanese over the weekend. 

There, the Prime Minister revealed the possible question that could be asked in a referendum, which was: ‘Do you support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?’  

During her address, Ms Burney referred to a promise made by former Prime Minister John Howard back in 2007 about holding a referendum within 18 months to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution.

The Indigenous Australians minister Linda Burney (pictured) has encouraged Australians about voting for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament during question time in Parliament on Monday

Ms Burney attended the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory with Anthony Albanese on the weekend (pictured)

Ms Burney attended the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory with Anthony Albanese on the weekend (pictured)

‘I want to conclude by quoting another former Prime Minister, and I quote, ‘The Australian people want to move. They want to move towards a new settlement on this issue. I’ll put to the Australian people within 18 months a referendum to formally recognise Indigenous Australians in our constitution’.’ 

‘That Prime Minister was John Howard in 2007. 15 years ago. If not now, when? If not now, when? Let’s get this done together,’ Ms Burney said.

The Indigenous Australians minister recalled to the senate the ‘overwhelming sense of excitement’ from the Indigenous community when the idea of an Indigenous Voice was put forward by the Prime Minister.

While Ms Burney said the process to enshrine a Voice in the constitution would not be rushed, but now was the time to act.

‘A Voice to Parliament is about both symbolism and practical outcomes, practical outcomes like education, housing and family violence,’ she told parliament.

‘A Voice to the Parliament means that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders will be consulted and heard on policies that affect them, practical outcomes that will make a real difference to people’s lives.’

Mr Albanese said details about the Voice, such as its function and how it operated, would be worked out following consultation but it would only act as an advisory body and not as a third chamber of parliament.

Ms Burney said previous work about the Voice by Aboriginal leaders would not be jettisoned and would be part of the government’s consideration.

The Prime Minister revealed the possible question that could be asked in a referendum: 'Do you support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?'

The Prime Minister revealed the possible question that could be asked in a referendum: ‘Do you support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?’

Ms Burney referred to a promise made by former Prime Minister John Howard about holding a referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution. She then added: 'If not now, when? If not now, when? Let's get this done together'

Ms Burney referred to a promise made by former Prime Minister John Howard about holding a referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution. She then added: ‘If not now, when? If not now, when? Let’s get this done together’ 

While a timeline for the referendum has not been finalised, Labor reportedly prefers holding the vote next year.

Mr Albanese said the move to enshrine a Voice to Parliament would be a way of advancing reconciliation.

‘Five years on (from the Uluru Statement), it’s time that we all walked the walk with Indigenous Australians,’ he told parliament.

‘It is not a matter of special treatment. It is not a matter of preferential power, it is about consulting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on decisions that affect them.’

The prime minister said the Voice would be an opportunity to ‘uplift our nation’.

‘The primacy of the Parliament is not affected … it is a matter of a Voice being a vehicle to advance practical measures to gap,’ he said.

Greens First Nations spokeswoman Lidia Thorpe said she welcomed the referendum and wanted all elements of the Uluru Statement to be enacted.

However, she called on the government to implement a treaty with Indigenous people and to follow through on all recommendations from the royal commission into deaths in custody.

While a timeline for a referendum on the matter has not been finalised, Labor reportedly prefers holding the vote next year (stock image)

While a timeline for a referendum on the matter has not been finalised, Labor reportedly prefers holding the vote next year (stock image)

Anthony Albanese said the Voice to Parliament would be an opportunity to 'uplift our nation'

Anthony Albanese said the Voice to Parliament would be an opportunity to ‘uplift our nation’

‘Our priority should be black justice in this country, our priority should be about saving lives today, not waiting for a referendum,’ she told ABC radio.

First Nations Country Liberal Party senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price branded the bill ‘virtue signalling’ and called for more practical action.

‘This bill is an unnecessary distraction from the important work that needs to be done that we as a coalition have invested heavily in,’ she said.

Senator Thorpe also led a push in the Senate for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People through her private senator’s bill.

She earlier made a stand in the Senate while being sworn in, raising her fist – often seen as a symbol of resistance – and branded the Queen a ‘coloniser’ while referring to herself as ‘sovereign’.

Senator Thorpe was then forced to recite the oath of allegiance without the additional words.

Her bill will establish a framework to implement UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and put in place annual reporting mechanisms.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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