Anthony Albanese writes to Peter Dutton to salvage deal on Voice in Parliament

“A constitutionally enshrined voice is a means to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“It will provide those with local knowledge and experience an opportunity to advise the government and parliament on the federal laws, policies and programs that affect their lives.

“We know that the most effective results for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities come when their voices are heard and they take ownership of the policies that affect them.”

Dutton plans to meet with members of the referendum working group on Thursday. The group is co-led by Indigenous Australian Minister Linda Burney and Special Envoy for Reconciliation Pat Dodson.

Uluru Declaration Co-Chairs Pat Anderson and Megan Davis are expected to attend a presentation with Cape York Institute’s Noel Pearson to explain to Dutton why they believe the Voice would make a difference for communities.

“I’m confident it will help him show how important a constitutional voice is to our people and to the nation,” said Davis, a professor at the University of NSW.

The Uluru Declaration co-chair, Professor Megan Davis, is part of a group that will present to Dutton.

The Uluru Declaration co-chair, Professor Megan Davis, is part of a group that will present to Dutton.Credit:Edwina cucumbers

Parliament will resume next week, with the Nationals pledging to oppose the vote and many Liberals trying to do the same, but some Liberals want to support the proposal, or at least reach an agreement on a conscience vote, in much the same way as the Conservatives are divided. sex marriage five years ago.

One of the Liberal Party’s most respected activists, former federal director Tony Nutt, supported the Voice on Wednesday by joining the expanded board of Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition, which aims to raise millions of dollars for the Yes campaign.

Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg said he supports the Voice but wants the government to do a better job of explaining to Australians how it would work.


“I think it would be catastrophic for race relations in the country if the referendum were rejected. It is
last thing we want to see in this country,” Bragg told radio station 2GB.

A key issue for Dutton and other Liberals is their stated concern that over time the power conferred by the vote could be extended by the High Court into areas outside of politics that directly affect First Australians.

“I want to understand from the Prime Minister what the Legal Council is saying,” Dutton said on Jan. 24.

“Could the Supreme Court rule that the voice can have a say on defense matters, or can it have a say on the budget priorities that the Treasurer will deliver? What would it mean for a minister who has to make a quick decision when there is a consultation with the Voice?”


Albanese used the letter to Dutton to emphasize that the vote would offer practical results on policy, a key issue for both sides during the Alice Springs community safety debate, when alcohol bans were lifted without a formal body on the change would be advised.

However, Albanese reiterated that the structure of the vote would be decided by law by Parliament after the referendum, saying it was “the usual way” and in line with the constitution.

“Once the referendum is decided and the Australian people agree to the Voice principle, the Voice model will be passed by Parliament in the usual way. That’s how the Constitution works,” he wrote. Anthony Albanese writes to Peter Dutton to salvage deal on Voice in Parliament

Callan Tansill

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