Anthony Albanese has again cut down his Indigenous Vote proposal to parliament after being summoned by Today Show host Sarah Abo, who says Aussies are ‘confused’ by it.
Ms Abo grilled Mr Albanese on Monday morning about the proposal, claiming it had become ‘quite a mess’ as the federal opposition calls for more details on the proposed body, which would be set up following a successful referendum.
“Why don’t you sit down and discuss this so there’s more clarity for the public so we can actually get the results you’re looking for?”
“You have the community trying to get a consensus between you and the opposition. Why don’t you sit down and discuss this so you can achieve the results you’re after,’ Mrs Abo asked.
Anthony Albanese (pictured) has again cut The Voice after opposition complaints that the proposal was ‘confusing’ and needed further details
“I’ve had five meetings with Peter Dutton, Sarah, five meetings,” the prime minister replied.
“And last July I put forward the actual questions that will be asked in the referendum.”
But Ms Abo claimed Aussies were ‘still confused’ about the proposal and a deeper explanation was needed.
“You don’t need all the details, but you do need a little more detail to make it easier to digest. Is it even necessary?’ she asked Mr Albanese.
“The two simple things that people will be asked to vote yes to in the referendum are, firstly, the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our Constitution,” the Prime Minister reiterated.
“The second is to allow an advisory body called “The Voice” to be set up to advise the government, to parliament, on issues that directly affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. ‘
‘A Voice to Parliament will not be a financier. It will not run any programs, it will simply be a source of advice for the government,” Albanese explained.
He added that no changes had been made to the proposal since he announced it in July.
Asked whether the government would pass legislation if the referendum failed, Mr Albanese said he preferred to focus on ensuring a successful vote.
The Prime Minister appeared on The Today show on Monday to discuss The Voice, as well as the state of the economy, cost of living pressures and energy
Australians are asked to vote on the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution and the formation of an advisory group to advise the government on matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (pictured, protest against the date of Australia Day in Melbourne)
Mr Albanese explained that no changes had been made to the proposal since he announced it in July (pictured, Mr Albanese at the Garma festival last year)
It comes as both Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Environment Secretary Tanya Plibersek weighed in on the debate.
The environment minister warned Australians not to confuse the status of the proposed Indigenous vote in parliament.
“This is a vote, not a veto,” she told The Seven Network on Monday.
“It’s a very important vote. It will be an opportunity for Australians to talk about the kind of nation we want to be in the future, to send a message to the world and get more hands-on healthcare and education and so on for First Nations Australians.”
Dr. Chalmers refuted opposition leader Peter Dutton’s claims that the proposal did not contain enough detail.
“Peter Dutton isn’t really looking for more detail, he’s looking for more division and in that I think he’s a similar kind of leader to Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison,” said Dr. Chalmers at a press conference on Sunday.
No wonder they’re talking about bringing Tony Abbott back, then they’d have the full set, three peas in a pod.
“They’re all practicing this kind of divisive and destructive politics that says the surest way for them to succeed politically is by breaking down these kinds of opportunities that Australia faces in 2023 and beyond.”
Peter Dutton (pictured) said he was focused on whether The Voice would take action to tackle racial inequality
Treasurer Jim Chalmers (pictured) has rejected the opposition leader’s calls for more details, saying Mr Dutton was only divisive
Dutton said on Sunday that any proposal must address racial inequalities and improve reconciliation.
However, he stopped short of officially endorsing the need for a voice, saying tangible action was needed first.
“I don’t think so much if there is a vote, but if there is any action from the government,” he told Sky News Australia.
“I want a result that will end the violence, the sexual assaults against children that are currently taking place in Alice Springs.
“Their voice is not being heard now.”
Indigenous voice in parliament explained
What is the referendum about?
A referendum will be held to change the wording in the Australian constitution to recognize Indigenous people and gain a voice in parliament.
When is it held?
No date has been set, but Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed a referendum will take place before the end of the year.
What will be the referendum question?
The draft referendum question reads: “Do you support an amendment to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vote?”
What is a vote for parliament?
An advisory body that would consult Parliament on legislative issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
It would not be able to veto decisions made by the federal government or the cabinet.
The federal parliament will record details of how the body will be formed and operate if the referendum is successful.
What other changes will be made to the constitution?
The federal government will recommend adding three sentences:
1. There will be a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice.
2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices can protest to Parliament and the Executive Government on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters.
3. Parliament, subject to this Constitution, shall have the power to make laws relating to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vote.
Do the Liberal and National parties support the vote in parliament?
The National Party has formally announced that it will oppose the referendum, while the Liberal Party Chamber has not made its position known.
Nationals Leader David Littleproud said his party did not believe a vote would help close the gap to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton has not yet revealed whether the Liberal Party would support a referendum, but has called for more details on the advisory body.
Will there be more details on how the voice will work?
A referendum working group chaired by Linda Burney, Minister for Indigenous Australians and made up of representatives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia, will release more details ahead of a vote.