Indigenous Voice to Parliament: Nationals leader David Littleproud, Jacinta Price say Party will oppose plan

Home Politics Indigenous Voice to Parliament: Nationals leader David Littleproud, Jacinta Price say Party will oppose plan
Indigenous Voice to Parliament: Nationals leader David Littleproud, Jacinta Price say Party will oppose plan

Nationals leader David Littleproud has scuppered hopes of bipartisan support for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament after he announced the party will oppose Labor’s proposal.

The Albanese government is planning to hold a referendum during this term of parliament which if successful would see the “Voice” enshrined in the Constitution.

Mr Littleproud said the Nationals didn’t believe having the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory body would close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

Mr Littleproud made the announcement speaking alongside his Nationals team at Parliament House in Canberra after the junior coalition partner’s party room meeting on Monday.

“We believe in empowering local Indigenous communities, giving them the power at a local level, not creating another layer of bureaucracy here in Canberra,” he told reporters.

Mr Littleproud and other Voice sceptics have pressed the federal government for more detail on how the Voice would operate.

Mr Littleproud said the Nationals had consulted with architects of the Uluru Statement from the Heart Pat Anderson and Professor Megan Davis before making their decision to oppose the Voice.

The Uluru Statement, signed in 2017 by more than 250 Indigenous leaders, called for a Voice to be enshrined in the Constitution to provide advice to government on issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The statement also called for the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to oversee “truth-telling” and work on a treaty between the commonwealth government and Indigenous people.

Anthony Albanese promised before the federal election to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full.

The Prime Minister has said a referendum will be held sometime in the 12 months after July 2023 to ask Australians whether the constitution should be amended to include the Voice to parliament.

Country Liberal Party senator for the Northern Territory Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who sits in the Nationals party room, said she hoped the referendum on the Voice failed.

Senator Price, a Warlpiri-Celtic woman from Alice Springs, said there was no evidence the Voice would support marginalised communities and that it would instead “divide on the lines of race”.

“I hope the Voice is not successful,” she told reporters.

From the Heart director Dean Parkin, who is spearheading the “Yes” campaign for the Voice to Parliament, said the Nationals’ decision was “rash, illogical and vastly out of step with Australians”.

“Politicians, often with the best of intentions, have tried for decades to devise policies to produce better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within existing processes,” he said.

“The failure on this front has been indisputable.

“The Nationals MPs in the federal parliament stood today in Canberra and made the case for more of the same.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton is yet to reveal his own position on the Voice and whether or not the Liberals will be allowed a conscience vote on the matter.

Read related topics:Anthony Albanese

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