Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Albanese releases draft term for indigenous ‘Voice to Parliament’ referendum

Anthony Albanese will propose an indigenous “voice” in parliament on Saturday, addressing the Garama Festival in Arnhem Land, to propose a draft wording to be included in the constitution.

The prime minister is also releasing a draft of the question that will be put to the public for changes to the referendum.

The new provision in the constitution will have three sentences:

There would be a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voices

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voices may represent Parliament and the executive government on matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Parliament, subject to this Constitution, has the power to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voices.

In his speech released before the delivery, Albanese says that this may not be the final form of the words, but it is the next stage of the discussion.

His draft referendum would ask the question: “Do you support changes to the constitution that establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?”

To pass, a referendum needs to win both a majority as well as a majority in most states. In 19 referendums 44 proposals for constitutional changes have been put forward, of which only eight changes have been passed.

Although Albanese is concerned about next year’s referendum, he only talks of being in the current parliamentary term in his speech.

“I believe the country is ready for this reform,” he says. “I believe there is room for this in Australian hearts [Uluru] Heartfelt statement.”

“We’re looking for a significant change – but it’s also a very simple one.”

“It is not a matter of special treatment, or preferential power. It is about consulting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on decisions affecting you. It’s simple etiquette, it’s common decency.”

Albanese says that putting a voice in the constitution means “willingness to be heard will not depend on who is in government or who is prime minister”. Such a voice “cannot be silent”.

“The voice will exist and exist outside the ups and downs of the election cycle and the fragility of short-term politics.

“It will be an inexhaustible source of advice and accountability.”

It would not be a “third chamber”, but “a body with the power and forum to tell the government and parliament what is working and what is not”.

Albanese says the “best way to seize the momentum” is to reach agreement on the question of a proposed referendum as soon as possible.

“I call on all Australians in good faith to get involved on this,” says Albanese.

“Respectfully, purposefully we are seeking to secure support for the timely question and related provisions for a successful referendum in this term of Parliament.

“It is an improvement I believe every Australian can adopt from all walks of life, in every part of the country, from every religion and background and tradition.

“Because it speaks to the values ​​we all share and respect – fairness, respect, decency.”

Albanese says that while there may be fear campaigns to combat, perhaps the greatest threat to success is indifference—the belief that symbolism without practical benefit, or that the voice advocates expansion of economic opportunities or improvement of conditions. is at the cost of.

“Let us all understand: Australia does not have to choose between improving people’s lives and amending the constitution. We can do both – and we have to.”

Issues of life expectancy, incarceration, disease and other problems will get worse if “governments simply insist they know better”.

World Nation News Desk
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