24 March 2023

Voice referendum question revealed by tearful PM

| Chris Johnson
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Flanked by members of the Referendum Working Group, an emotional Prime Minister Anthony Albanese reveals the proposed question for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum. Photo: Screenshot.

Australians now know what question they will likely be asked to vote on in this year’s Voice to Parliament referendum.

An emotional Prime Minister used a media conference to announce the proposed question on Thursday (23 March), following the unanimous passage in the Senate the evening before of the machinery bill stipulating how the referendum will work.

Through a breaking voice, Anthony Albanese stressed the simplicity of the question.

It will read:

A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?

“That’s the question before the Australian people. Nothing more but nothing less,” Mr Albanese said.

Australians will vote to amend the Constitution to include a new chapter titled Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The provisions Australians will be voting to approve are:

  1. There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
  2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and
  3. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.

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Before revealing the question and provisions, Mr Albanese outlined some of the journey that brought the nation to this point.

“The Uluru Statement from the Heart invites all Australians to walk together to a better future. Today, we take a very important step forward on that journey,” he said.

“After many months of careful consideration on the draft form of words that I presented at Garma last July, the referendum working group and the government have agreed on the provisions that all Australians will vote on in this year’s referendum.

“I want to thank, sincerely, all the members of the working group and all who have engaged with them.

“For many, this moment has been a very long time in the making. Yet they have shown such patience and optimism through this process.

“And that spirit of cooperation and thoughtful, respectful dialogue has been so important at arriving at this point in such a united fashion.”

After revealing the question Australians will vote on, Mr Albanese fought back tears asking them to support it.

“If not now, when? This is an opportunity that doesn’t belong to the politicians, it belongs to every Australian equally. One person, one vote,” he said.

“People from all faiths, backgrounds and traditions, all of us will have an equal say. All of us can own an equal share of what I believe will be an inspiring and unifying Australian moment … This is a modest request. I say to Australia, don’t miss it. Don’t miss it.

“This is a real opportunity to take up the generous invitation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. This is about the heart, but it’s also about the head.

“If you think things have been working up to now, look at the closing the gap issue. If you want to look at the best programs for Indigenous Australians that have been successful, they have all been characterised by having that sense of ownership.

“They’re the things that have worked. They’re the things that will work in the future. This is not about symbolism.

“This is about recognition, something that’s far more important, but it’s also about making a practical difference which we have, we have, a responsibility to do.”

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The government will now introduce legislation with the proposed wording to the parliament next Thursday.

It will also establish a joint parliamentary committee to consider the wording and receive submissions before the parliament votes on it in June.

The Prime Minister said there was no circumstance under which the Voice would not be voted on.

“You only win when you run on the field and engage, and let me tell you, my government is engaged. We’re all in,” he said.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the Liberal Party remains undecided over whether to support the Voice.

“We want to contemplate, consider what the government’s putting forward and look at the pros and cons,” he said.

The government and the opposition struck a deal on Wednesday over the machinery bill, with Labor agreeing to the Coalition’s request for an official pamphlet to be distributed outlining the yes and no cases, but the government did not agree to publicly fund the respective campaigns.

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Capital Retro9:44 am 28 Mar 23

That’s an inconvenience for the YES team but don’t expect any comment from them.

“The loudest demands for the Voice come from a minority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elites from organisations that already sit at the table with governments and have been amply funded to deliver improvements people for years with little to show for it.”

Interesting article, particularly the video of that well know racially tolerant and totally objective commentator on indigenous matters, and former Senator, Corey Bernardi.
@Capital Retro – given it’s a Sky Right at Night report, the audience was never going to be in the Yes camp anyway … so probably not even an inconvenience.

Has it been made clear yet what is the scope of “matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”?

Arguably (and the High Court loves exploiting these grey areas) that could include huge amounts of legislation.

Change the GST amount? It could be argued that this relates to Aboriginal people.

Mess around with Superannuation, or voting ages or Medicare or the current government’s housing legislation, etc and potentially any of them might be considered to be of interest to the Voice.

And without a clause in the constitution about the timeline for the Voice to submit its views, couldn’t this turn into a huge blackmail scheme where the Voice members hold up legislation unless the government gives into their other demands?

If it’s so good why are there large banners saying don’t vote for it at the aboriginal tent embassy?

@L Angers
It’s called freedom of speech, L Angers.
Also, given the occupants of the aboriginal tent embassy do not acknowledge the legitimacy of the Constitution it’s not surprising they would not support the referendum.

Bob the impala11:08 am 26 Mar 23

I spoke earlier about race-baiting. I found this description from a speech earlier this year by Tony McAvoy SC.
“The insistence of some in casting the debate in terms of “dividing us by race”, or “special treatment for one race”, is race-baiting or, in the vernacular, “dog-whistling”. … it appears to be premeditated, strategic and wholly intended to appeal to racists and play on Australians’ conscious and unconscious biases.”

The status of First Peoples in Australia is well recognised, legally as well as morally uncontroversial, yet they are not recognised in our constitution. If the question truly were about race rather than historical status then you could equally transfer Voice arguments to, randomly, Vietnamese, but that would obviously be meaningless, by definition an action based on race because they have no prior claim, 50,000 years of history, culture or sovereignty here before the English arrived. The Voice is explicitly a step towards integrating people in this country and is fully under the control of our elected parliament.

IF you define the Voice as racist then that just defines the terms in which you think: of race, not of issues; otherwise known as racism and in this context, pretty useless. No credibility can be held by those who do so.

@Bob the impala
I’m afraid your preaching to the converted, Bob. Those who hold the alternative view are not, and never have been, interested in any furthering of the case which might promote the positives of the referendum – in particular recognition in their hallowed (white) constitution. The mere fact that so many people need to be convinced “why”(and formost amongst them is the Leader of the Opposition), rather than adopting a starting position of “why not”, says a lot about the type of person they are with respect to First Nations people.

Very well stated, Bob.

What many nay-sayers here just don’t understand (or care about) is that the Voice is only just that – a body of First People with the ability to input to matters in Parliament affecting them. It will have no voting rights – just be a Voice. Members of Parliament, who are voted in by their own electorates which may comprise numerous races and cultures, will consider all relevant input (from the Voice and otherwise) and guide the running of this nation accordingly.

So why won’t some First People support it? Potentially that’s because some believe it doesn’t go far enough, and will water down their percieved right of sovereignity.

If the Voice is voted in, watch for the data coming out of the next census. Carpet baggers, start your entitlement engines

@Futureproof Hmmmm with people like you around, why would anyone want to falsely claim to be indigenous in the census?

So you haven’t noticed the exponential recording of people claiming to be indigenous from the last Census? You need more to read more than the Canberra Times and the Guardian.


Relevant paragraph below:. Oh, and detail is from the government website, not Murdoch Press

“812,728 people identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in 2021 – up from 649,171 in 2016”

Hi Futureproof, one of our local Indigenous representatives in the workplace told us of their family background; this included 30 years of pretending to be Indian, yep the original inhabitants of this land had to pretend to come from the Indian sub-continent; otherwise they couldn’t get a job. This was due to the racist beliefs of some people whose beliefs are, sadly still prevalent in parts of Australian society. Let’s hope that this type of racist behaviour is seen for what it is and that it is a fading part of our history.

So the number of people prepared to acknowledge their First Nations heritage has increased by 25% in the 5 years between the 2016 census and 2021 census. So what? Are you worried about the threat to your natural order of things?Sounds like something from the QAanon handbook that says it must be protected?

He’s set this referendum up to fail. I’d like to see a royal commission into the blatant waste of taxpayer money and time when this is all over, someone needs to be held to account.

Bob the impala4:17 pm 25 Mar 23

So your vigorous endeavours to help it pass will help to ensure money is not wasted after all, won’t it Sam Oak.

@Sam Oak … so will you actually pay extra taxes to fund the Royal Commission? (Actually I’d just like you to pay taxes commensurate with your real income that’d be a help in funding it)

JustSaying – Pot and Kettle

You want to claim your Pot and Kettle as tax deductions?

JustSaying – Why not?

why bother with a referendum? because although Albanese has said he will legislate if the referendum fails, that legislation can be repealed at any time. meanwhile Barr and the South Australian government are going ahead with local Voice type legislation. might have been nice to ask us first.

“why bother with a referendum? because although Albanese has said he will legislate if the referendum fails” If you mean he will still legislate on the voice to parliament, did I miss something … or are you simply being loose with the truth?

Wow … constitutional change is not an insubstantial thing in Australia, but all the RiotACT ‘intelligensia’ (and I definitely use the term loosely) can concentrate on, is Albo’s emotion (theatrical or not) during the press conference.
I doubt the majority of negative commentators were ever going to vote Yes at the referendum this just gives (in their mind) further justification. The thought of giving any recognition whatsoever to indigenous people as the first settlers is anathema.

“I doubt the majority of negative commentators were ever going to vote Yes at the referendum this just gives (in their mind) further justification. The thought of giving any recognition whatsoever to indigenous people as the first settlers is anathema.”

As one of the intelligentsia, perhaps you can explain how the “Voice” provides recognition that indigenous Australians were the first people of this continent?

It’s a neat slight of hand to move the goalposts but extremely transparent in the lazy attempt to discredit those opposed.

But as you say, that’s just your opinion.

“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.”
… that’s not my opinion but a fact.

Strange, not one mention of the Voice in your comment. You make my point for me.

Sorry, not one mention of how the Voice provides recognition that they were the first people on this continent. It’s the exact type of bait and switch I mentioned previously.

Bob the impala10:20 am 27 Mar 23

From the proposed constitutional amendment:
“In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia”
Reference here: https://theconversation.com/we-now-know-exactly-what-question-the-voice-referendum-will-ask-australians-a-constitutional-law-expert-explains-202143

How does it provide recognition that indigenous Australians were the first people of this continent? It puts it right there in the constitution.

Some people haven’t a clue.

As this section of the thread was apparently turning into an unproductive discussion I am unable to make further comment.

Perhaps read the words and the question asked first.

How does the “Voice” specifically provide recognition that Indigenuous Australians were the first people of this nation?

To explain this simply, consider the two statements:

1.We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of Australia.

2.We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of Australia.

There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.


Provide with specific reasoning how the second statements provide more recognition of the fact that Indigenuous Australians were the first peoples of this land than the first.

In realty, there is no direct link to the Voice and the fact that Indigenuous Australians were here first.

The idea of including the first type of statement (in the preamble or elsewhere) to provide recognition was rejected because, whilst factual, it would be purely symbolic. Whereas real power and effect was wanted in the constitutional amendment by those supporting such a proposal.

Attempting to claim they are the same or the Voice somehow recognises a historic fact better than a simple factual statement is extremely disingenuous.

@Bob the Impala
As you know, half baked reporting from a sloppy journalist does nothing to disprove the validity of your statement.

I prefer to consult more credible sources such as the PM & C media release of 23-March (https://www.pm.gov.au/media/next-step-towards-voice-referendum-constitutional-alteration-bill):
“This referendum will give Australians the chance to write a new chapter into our Constitution:

“Chapter IX Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:
1. There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice; …”

So your comment ‘It puts it right there in the constitution.’ is 100% factual. Well done.

John Koundouzis10:39 pm 24 Mar 23

Hi I am new here…Has anyone heard of the National Indigenous Australian Agency?
They currently sit within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. $270 Millionin funding. Is this not the same thing as the voice? Why in a time when people are struggling with the cost of living is the Federal government spending an exuberant amount of money on replacing something already in place.

Capital Retro4:14 pm 28 Mar 23

Apparently Sky News set up the NIAA because they are the only media reporting it.

The voice makes legal racism. 18C prevents you talking about the voice.

Bob the impala1:13 pm 25 Mar 23

You just did talk about it, ignorantly as it may be.

Do you understand 18c?

” (1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people”
What are you offended and/or insulted that if the referendum is successful, your natural order of things will be disturbed? How dare we regognise the First Nations people as the original inhabitants of the land – right?

Bob the impala10:51 am 26 Mar 23

“Do you understand 18c?”
Better than you, evidently. Go ahead to answer JustSaying’s question.

You are telling us as clearly as you may that you have no arguments, so it seems you wish to use derogatory invective to intimidate, and are saddened that doing so happens to be unlawful as well as vacuous. Any other laws you would like to break to vent uncivil rage?

Capital Retro10:51 am 26 Mar 23

Actually, it is believed there were 500 different “first nations” so this will mean 500 different voice agreements will be needed.

It is based on the “Uluru statement” which means nothing to the other 499 first nations.

It’s a scam.

@Capital Retro
Thank you for your opinion. I was never in any doubt as to where you would stand on indigenous recognition.

Bob the impala12:43 pm 26 Mar 23

Capital Retro, your claim is false, unsurprisingly. “Delegates were selected from participants in regional Dialogues held around the country.” else you may take it the High Court.

All the best with that scam.

Bob the impala12:47 pm 26 Mar 23

Accidental post there, so excuse any solecisms

I intended to add about the 250 delegates from around the country, and refer to source documents, but when did Capital Retro last bother with inconvenient facts?

Capital Retro6:14 pm 27 Mar 23

Still waiting for the links.

This is the wording of the question for the vote, not the wording to change in the constitution.

When was the last time you accepted a quote where did you didn’t have agreement on whats done?

Albo has had every opportunity to make this open and transparent on what they want. They have been shady and closed off. There is no link to how the voice will work that helps anyone.

How can you vote for something so instrumental that is not detailed.

We already have an aboriginal agency.

Hansen has papers on the voice, might be worth looking that up

Bob the impala10:15 am 27 Mar 23

gooterz, your premise is wrong. If you are concerned about the words to be in the constitution you will find them here as one instance: “https://theconversation.com/we-now-know-exactly-what-question-the-voice-referendum-will-ask-australians-a-constitutional-law-expert-explains-202143”
Parliament has the opportunity to confirm or amend the exact wording prior to the referendum.

You will know the amendment, a fact obvious to most people.

HiddenDragon7:35 pm 24 Mar 23

A more honest formulation of the question to be put to Australian voters would be – “Something needs to be done, this is something, should we do it?”

Anyone listening carefully to yesterday’s performance and looking for a clear, logical explanation as to why there needs to be a thing called the “Voice” (not to be confused with the TV talent quest), and why it needs to be enshrined in the Australian constitution, would have been left wondering.

There was the observation that collaborative initiatives have tended to be more effective, but no explanation as to why a system which is supposedly intransigent and out of touch has managed to produce those initiatives while also (this being the obvious implication) blocking and suppressing other such initiatives.

On the question of constitutional enshrinement all that was put forward was the claim that abolition of previous consultative bodies had become some sort of political sport, with promises to axe them being made to buy votes in federal election campaigns. That claim is deluded bulldust and ignores the inconvenient truth that the dismantling of ATSIC (the most significant effort at collaboration to date) was begun by the Keating government, which decided (and not in an election campaign) that one of ATSIC’s major responsibilities – delivery of health programs – would be better handled by the federal Health department.

Rather than a self-indulgent emotion-fest, of the sort we witnessed yesterday, what we need (to plagiarise, in a sense, the words which Albanese famously plagiarised in 2012) is serious answers to serious questions.

It wont solve anything. The apology solved nothing. Until it is accepted the real reason for indigenous disadvantage then nothing changes. I work with plenty of indigenous men and women that are no different from me.

They are over represented in the prison system because they commit crime in an over represented way. Why, lack of education, being raised by parents that they should be removed from and being raised with a chip on their shoulder.

There are 11 indigenous representatives in Federal Parliament including that Thorpe woman who does their cause no good. The other 10 have plenty of opportunities to speak up on indigenous issues to make a difference if one could be found.

“I work with plenty of indigenous men and women that are no different from me.” Oh believe me they are very different from you

I am not indigenous, but have always supported indigenous rights and am fundamentally in favour of an indigenous voice, but there are indigenous anti-Voice voices out there. They may be a vocal minority, but they exist and highlight that our indigenous population is not one homogenous community; as I understand, it never has been and to treat it as such ignores important aspects of indigenous history. My question is how will this professed ability to “make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government” be different from the advisory roles of the FCAATSI, the NACC, the NAC, the ATSIC and the myriad of other defunct and current government departments and ministerial portfolio responsibilities dedicated to indigenous affairs? We are beyond the time for tears and we are beyond paying lip service by elevating this to a constitutional issue unless it unites the voices of our indigenous communities and has teeth. Explain how enshrining an indigenous voice in the Constitution that is for all citizens is the means to an end rather than a ‘feel good’ means to more loose ends. I want my vote to count towards something different and something concrete for our indigenous brothers and sisters. I need to understand how my vote will achieve this. Until the Government can provide that level of clarity (without the emotion) and until the Government can engage me (without the rhetoric) I am sorry to say that the Government, itself, has put me on the fence.

I feel the same. I want my vote to count and be a way to advance Indigenous Australians, not tokenism for the a political party. I trust people like Noel Pearson and Marcia Langton and they approve of the voice so I will continue to listen to them.

Frankly, I could care less about the cost of the myriad government departments set up to implement programs to address Indigenous disadvantage. It’s up to the minister and heads of departments to work cross portfolio to ensure funding is effective and efficient, this should not be used as a justification to deny the Voice to parliament. (That’s a general reply to sentiments here not your comment geebs)

Trevor Willis4:30 pm 24 Mar 23

What a disgraceful performance by our elected Prime Minister. I sincerely trust that everyone who witnessed this outrage votes NO at the possible referendum– it may now not happen if he wakes up to himself and recognises that it would lead to APARTHEID in our great country if it were to succeed.

@Trevor Wills
Your desire to maintain the status quo with respect to First Nations people has been made clear in several posts, as has your regular bleating that a successful vote in the referendum will lead to apartheid. While I have serious doubts about your ability to do so coherently, I’ll ask anyway … perhaps you can explain how the road to apartheid would be an outcome?

“The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.”

We are told that The Voice will be purely advisory. What ‘powers’ will they need?

You may have misunderstood that statement. It says the Parliament will have the power to make laws, which it already does, but will just now incorporate advice from the Voice. The Voice can provide the government with whatever advice they wish, but the government has no obligation to act on it by changing or making laws.

It is the latter phrase “… including its composition, functions, powers and procedures”, where “its” refers to the Voice, that is the cause of the question. What powers will the Voice have, which implies that it is more than just an advisory body?

You need to read the whole statement. It’s saying that the Parliament shall have the power to make laws with respect to the Voice including about its composition etc.

I can’t read it any other way. It’s not saying the Voice has powers to make laws.

Bob the impala4:10 pm 25 Mar 23

DJA, the body which is the Voice will need to run itself. You need certain “powers” to do that. As Hoppingmad suggests, it is always under parliamentary control in terms of such capabilities.

GrumpyGrandpa9:52 am 24 Mar 23

On the surface, the wording appears benign. My concern is that I am not a constitutional lawyer and don’t understand the implications of this proposed change.

What will the supporting legislation look like, who will be on the The Voice and how will they be elected or appointed? There are a myriad of unanswered questions and we are being asked to vote Yes, without those answers.

Of course, we already have State and Federal Departments and Health facilities. We have Indigenous “councils” representing the interests of Indigenous Australians. All Indigenous Australians are represented in our various Parliaments, via their local members etc.

I guess the key question is, will The Voice make a meaningful difference to the retention of kids at school, alcohol abuse within communities, improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians etc?

I’ll read the cases for and against and hopefully make an informed decision, but from the outset, I’ve seen this as nothing more than a political feel good electoral stunt and I’m yet to be convinced otherwise.

“… but from the outset, I’ve seen this as nothing more than a political feel good electoral stunt and I’m yet to be convinced otherwise.”
So, it seems your default position was to oppose the idea unless you could be convinced otherwise.

I have the exact opposite perspective. I think it’s the first step in the right direction towards recognition of the fact that they are (and were) the first occupants of this country. Absolutely it’s a kind of lip service (after all the whole thing is framed in Brisitsh Colonial infrastructure), but it’s a start. If we leave it up to the lawyers to get it ‘perfect’ we’ll still be here in 100 years.
I remember one of the objections to The Apology when it was first proposed – “It’ll leave the Australian government exposed to litigation from those who were affected as ‘Stolen Generation’ kids.” Didn’t happen.
Sometimes sybolism speaks loudly.

“symbolism” doesn’t belong anywhere near our Constitution.

And including further racist division in the document does nothing to move us forward as one nation, it exacerbates and locks in division with an “us” and “them” mentality.

If the idea is to fix specific issues, why do you need to include it in the constitution, which requires a referendum to change? The underlying assumption being that this is a permanent requirement and the issues will never be resolved.

And that doesn’t even begin to answer the legitimate questions raised on the detail of what exactly is being proposed and how it will positively benefit people of Indigenous heritage and the nation as a whole. Lots of emotional based feel good statements but very little logical and reasoned arguments as to why it’s a good thing.

If it was truly needed and will achieve results, why not enact the legislation for the voice now and run a trial on its effectiveness before enshrining it in the constitution?

It’s a poorly thought out idea from the start and it can already be seen that those who are opposed to it get derided as “racists” for simply questioning the validity of a change that by definition is racist itself.

Thank you for your opinion … I guess you’ll be voting No.

calyptorhynchus2:00 pm 24 Mar 23

‘“symbolism” doesn’t belong anywhere near our Constitution.’
Funny that, because to me the Constitution perfectly symbolises the world of 1901.

Jenny Graves2:29 pm 24 Mar 23

This is an article that tells you in simple terms what a constitutional lawyer says about the proposed change – https://theconversation.com/we-now-know-exactly-what-question-the-voice-referendum-will-ask-australians-a-constitutional-law-expert-explains-202143

The whole point of this change is to enable indigenous people to advise the government on matters that affect them. There’s no question of The Voice having any part in legislating or vetoing any legislation. There’s absolutely no way that it can adversely affect anyone else. But most indigenous people believe that it will enable the government to understand the particular problems of their people, and thus to help solve them.

Why anyone would object to that is beyond my comprehension.

Bob the impala2:36 pm 24 Mar 23

The Constitution is about principles. The Parliament determines legislation.

In the words for former High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne,
“The constitution sets out principles, not machinery … Asking for details is a distraction. It asks for a prediction of what parliament will do in the future. That is for parliament to decide.”

Calls for legislative specificity in the Constitutional amendment are legally unsound attempts to curtail the power of parliament, and to derail the proposal without reason.

I’ll bet on legal views of Hayne over the usual grab-bag of oppositionists here.

Just saying,
Not really an opinion, more an evidence based, factual position.

Can’t see where anyone here has asked for legislative specificity in the constitutional amendment.

That link states:
“it is a matter for parliament to decide whether the representations of the Voice must be considered by decision-makers when making administrative decisions.”

If parliament can decide whether to follow the advice from the Voice, why does it need to be in the Constitution?

Why doesn’t the current government just set up a Voice committee now and take its advice when appropriate?

What benefit does having it added to the Constitution provide?

Just because you pontificate on something, it doesn’t make it fact … it’s still your opinion and it is only a single vote

That’s two comments without addressing the points and facts raised. Waffling on about opinions doesn’t substitute for an argument.

Yes, I agree you have an opinion and that even the most uninformed citizen has one vote.

Perhaps if people think more closely about why they have a specific opinion and the evidence they used to support it, we might have more informed debate.

“we might have more informed debate” That’s side-splittingly laughable … your definition of debate is that you will give everybody your opinion and they need to accept it. No thanks, I’ll stick to ignoring your self aggrandising opinions.

Bob the impala1:12 pm 25 Mar 23

chewy14, at the time, I was non-specific about what I was addressing. I read more widely. For this thread I will draw your attention to GrumpyGrandpa’s second paragraph as an apt example of someone requesting something which cannot usefully be delivered, an otiose attempt at prior constraint of parliament, demonstrating a lack of understanding of the machinery of government. If you do not understand that yourself, join him and vote as you please.

Your own contributions show no evidence, discussion or consideration of the facts that the first peoples and culture in Australia were formally recognised as prior holders of the land by the High Court over thirty years ago, a sovereignty not formally ceded despite invasion. The Uluru Statement From The Heart proposes a Voice and Makarrata, with the explicit aim of ultimately bringing all of us together more effectively, not separation.

By leaping to claims of racism in almost every post, as you do, you are simply race-baiting; a falsely diversionary attack of which PHON would be proud. I have more interesting and useful things to do than engage further with your unwavering prejudice.

Grumpy Grandpa’s second paragraph is an attempt to consider what the supporting legislation and function of the Voice will look like in reality. It’s not remotely an attempt to add legislative specificity to the constitutional amendment or to constrain the parliament. It’s an attempt to understand the detail of what is being asked in the referendum.

But what it seems you are actually saying is that the proposed amendment is deliberately vague but still conveys extremely broad powers that will be shaped by the government over time. That no detail can be provided and people shpuld vote on a vague concept.

Your own point highlights the problem with the entire design of the proposal and why people should reject such a proposal with no solid reasoning, no direct purpose and no direct link to desired outcomes.

“The Uluru Statement From The Heart proposes a Voice and Makarrata, with the explicit aim of ultimately bringing all of us together more effectively, not separation.”

You can never bring people together by deliberately creating division as these proposals do. The idea that creating groups of citizens with different rights will somehow create unity is ridiculous.

“By leaping to claims of racism in almost every post,”

The proposal is by definition racist, It’s not remotely provocative to note that simple fact.

When the idea of constitutional change was first mooted i was extremely hopeful that they would include the removal of the existing race powers to remove any form of racism in the document. Instead they’ve perplexingly decided to add more. It’s extremely regressive thinking.

Enjoy your day Bob.

Hi GrumpyGrandpa, in reference to the key question you raised about whether the Voice will make a meaningful difference; the main point here is that to have constitutional recognition of First Nations people and a voice to Parliament of those people, is a step in the direction that we need to be taking. Of course no one could say ‘well if the referendum is passed, school retention rates will increase by 43.6% as that would not be possible with any type of referenda change. So what you are voting for, if you vote yes, is that you acknowledge the need for the voice as part of the process of reconciliation as acknowledged by most Indigenous groups. The Constitution doesn’t encompass all the required legislation that flows from it – that’s a different process enacted by our Parliament. So, for instance, the Constitution empowers the Federal Parliament to enact laws relating to taxation – it doesn’t go into detail about what those laws are; for instance, we didn’t need to have a referendum to change the constitution to allow for the Goods and services Tax (GST). Hope this clarifies things.

Well put – an erudite summary of the situation … but prepare yourself for the barrage from the usual nay sayers.

GrumpyGrandpa4:20 pm 25 Mar 23

My initial response to The Voice announcement was that it sounded like a “thought bubbles” during an election campaign.

I’m yet to be convinced otherwise, simply because other than the wording of the Referendum question, we know nothing and for reasons unknown to me, the PM is not prepared to give Australians any details of how it would work.

I will conceived that with all political promises or “thought bubbles” their are risks, because politicians never disclose legislation during a campaign.
The difference is that with most political promises or “thought bubbles”, we all have a general idea of what is being offered and how it will be delivered. ThatNot

so much with “The Voice”.

Symbolism doesn’t improve school retention rates, stop alcohol abuse or lift life expectancies.

“Symbolism doesn’t improve school retention rates, stop alcohol abuse or lift life expectancies.” You are right, but symbolism is a way of expressing an intent. I believe that that symbolism is to just acknowledge the special place First Nations people have in our history – and for mine, no better place than to enshrine it in the Constitution.
I mentioned the Apology above – it had no impact on my life, and it certainly didn’t change a lot to improve the every day lives of indegenous people, but having spoken to a lot of people who were effected by it, the sybolic nature of it was not lost on them.
“I’m yet to be convinced” – so rather than thinking “why not?”, you simply thought “why?” from the outset.

Hi grandpa, thx for being upfront and open about what your initial response was. Hopefully, after doing a bit more reading, you’ve moved on from those initial expectations? If not, and you do genuinely want to know more about the background to the Referendum, then reading the documents coming out from the Uluru Statement from the Heart would be a great starting place. I can search out links to the documentation around this – and there is a lot – so certainly not a “thought bubble” as you initially thought. There is a lot of documentation to get through in the background to the referendum questions and you certainly don’t need to read it all; however if this helps you then it’s easy to send through links.

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