SYDNEY, 18 March 2021 – From The Heart and the Uluru Dialogues at the Indigenous Law Centre at UNSW note the comments from Prime Minister Scott Morrison today that there is “no clear consensus proposal” for constitutional recognition of Australia’s First Nations people.
Polling has repeatedly shown a Voice to Parliament is supported by Australian voters, and overwhelmingly by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
From The Heart and the Indigenous Law Centre affirm the following:
- Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been a standing promise every election since John Howard first promised it in 2007. Not one Liberal leader has repealed that promise.
- There is no other acceptable form of constitutional recognition other than enshrinement of the Voice. The vast majority (as high as 80%) of submissions to the government’s own consultation process on the Voice support an enshrined Voice.
- The government seems out of step with public opinion at this time and is certainly out of step on this, with our own polling and other independent polling suggesting the majority of Australians would support a Voice at a referendum as it is fair, it is practical, and it is now time to make it happen.
- The PM committed to a two-stage process at his Closing The Gap speech last year. We hold him to that and earlier commitments to constitutional recognition from both Coalition and Labor leaders since 2007.
- Governments have been claiming to be focused on “practical solutions” on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues for decade after decade, and failing decade after decade. This is because nothing compels them to speak to the experts on the front line in communities rather than the Canberra bubble, in this case Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves. Only an enshrined Voice to Parliament ensures voices outside the Canberra bubble are heard on health, jobs and the rule of law.