indigenous voice in parliament

Shorten Pushes for Indigenous Voice in Parliament

The idea of an indigenous voice in parliament was already rejected by the government.

While recognising Australia’s first people remains an important issue, giving a certain group of people special representation was deemed undemocratic.

The government also noted that a separate voice in parliament would essentially be creating a third chamber of parliament.

However, closing the gap and officially recognising the indigenous people is still high on the agenda.

A parliamentary committee will soon be established to investigate recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the constitution.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the committee, which has the backing of the federal opposition, will bring together the earlier work of the Referendum Council and other expert panels.

We can now progress this important matter,’ Mr Turnbull told parliament on Monday.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the committee should focus on establishing a constitutionally enshrined indigenous voice to parliament, which was rejected by the Turnbull cabinet last year.

In this place we don’t get to choose what the people tell us, in this place we listen to what the people want us and we implement their choice,’ Mr Shorten told parliament.

Mr Shorten pledged to legislate an indigenous voice to parliament if there wasn’t a bipartisan commitment to hold a referendum.

I say to the prime minister and the government — we will work with you, but we will not wait for you,’ he said.

The Australian Tribune with AAP

The Australian Tribune with AAP

The Australian Tribune with AAP

Comments: 2

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  1. The fact that Aboriginals have qualified for entry to the parliament on their own merits does not negate the possible need for ongoing representation of an Aboriginal voice in parliament. The NZ example of designated Maori seats, while permitting Maori to sign on for either the general or Maori roll, results in a guaranteed minimum of Maori representation while leaving open the possibility that other Maori will be in parliament as representatives of particular constituencies or the general list. Given the proportion of Aboriginal in the total population, it is possible to envisage about 4 Aboriginal seats in the HR and 2 in the Senate, although determining particular electorates for them might pose a difficulty.