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Aboriginal senator Lidia Thorpe critcises Anthony Albanese’s selected leader for an Indigenous Voice

Aboriginal Senator Lidia Thorpe calls Anthony Albanese’s task force for the Indigenous Voice ‘captain’s picks’ that don’t represent First Nations people

  • Aboriginal Senator Lidia Thorpe criticized selected Indigenous voice leaders
  • She said the prominent leaders selected for The Voice do not represent everyone
  • Ms Thorpe believes that the Voice leaders should have been grassroots advocates
  • She has said the Voice was a ‘waste of money’ and wants a treaty to be prioritized

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Aboriginal Senator Lidia Thorpe has dismissed the Indigenous leaders who will send the Indigenous Voice to parliament as ‘captain’s picks’.

Indigenous Australian minister Linda Burney launched a working group on Thursday to push the issue to a referendum over the next two years.

The group included prominent leader Noel Pearson, human rights lawyer Megan Davis and health lawyer Pat Anderson.

Aboriginal Senator Lidia Thorpe said Anthony Albanese's selected leaders for an Indigenous vote to parliament are 'the captain's choice'

Aboriginal Senator Lidia Thorpe said Anthony Albanese’s selected leaders for an Indigenous vote to parliament are ‘the captain’s choice’

Others involved include anthropologist Marcia Langton, and social justice advocate and Chancellor of the University of Canberra, Professor Tom Calma.

But Senator Thorpe said they were “captain’s picks” that didn’t reflect Indigenous voices and that the focus should have been on grassroots leaders and activists instead.

“I mean, we want to talk about the basics. I don’t see anyone else in the list I’ve seen so far, so they haven’t gone very far,” she said.

“There is a lot of work to be done and people from the base have been contacting me since the announcement – they are not happy and they need to do better.”

Indigenous Australian minister Linda Burney (left) launched a working group Thursday to push the Voice to a referendum, and will be joined by fellow MP Pat Dobson (right)

Indigenous Australian minister Linda Burney (left) launched a working group Thursday to push the Voice to a referendum, and will be joined by fellow MP Pat Dobson (right)

Indigenous Australian minister Linda Burney (left) launched a working group Thursday to push the Voice to a referendum, and will be joined by fellow MP Pat Dobson (right)

“We need to determine who the Aboriginal leaders in this country are, because it’s very easy to name one, and we also need to determine who the base in this country is.

‘The base has no well-paid jobs; they are not CEOs or chairmen of organizations, the base is the people you never hear from and they are the people who should be behind the microphone these days.’

The left-wing firefighter has previously said The Voice was a ‘waste of money’ and wants a treaty between Indigenous Australians and the government to take precedence.

Senator Thorpe complained that she was “locked out of the conversation” with the Albanian government, but would soon meet with Ms Burney on “truth, treaty and vote.”

Ms Thorpe said leaders for the group should have been chosen from among local leaders representing all Indigenous voices

Ms Thorpe said leaders for the group should have been chosen from among local leaders representing all Indigenous voices

Ms Thorpe said leaders for the group should have been chosen from among local leaders representing all Indigenous voices

The group, which also includes Ms Burney and Western Australian Senator Pat Dodson, will meet with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Canberra on Friday to discuss progress on the initiative.

Ms Burney said the group would work with the government to determine the timing for a successful referendum, fine-tune the proposed question and provide the public information necessary for it to succeed.

A second team – the Referendum Engagement Group – will advise on the campaign for The Voice, reach out to indigenous communities and advocate for the advisory body.

Addressing the CEDA State of the Nation event on Thursday, Ms Burney said these were the “necessary ingredients to win the referendum.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanian has pushed for a referendum for an indigenous vote in parliament as part of an election pledge

Prime Minister Anthony Albanian has pushed for a referendum for an indigenous vote in parliament as part of an election pledge

Prime Minister Anthony Albanian has pushed for a referendum for an indigenous vote in parliament as part of an election pledge

“The Voice is a nation-building project… we need a unified ‘yes’ campaign that captures the attention and imagination of the Australian people,” she said.

“In the coming years, we will measure the success of the referendum not only by the number of people who vote for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander votes, but also by the lives the Voice helps improve.”

The Albanian government has pledged to hold a referendum in the first term.

The draft question to be asked to the Australian people is: ‘Do you support an amendment to the Constitution that introduces an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vote?’

Opposition leader Peter Dutton accused Labor of rushing creation of Indigenous vote to parliament

Opposition leader Peter Dutton accused Labor of rushing creation of Indigenous vote to parliament

Opposition leader Peter Dutton accused Labor of rushing creation of Indigenous vote to parliament

Opposition leader Peter Dutton said voters were cautious about constitutional changes and the government had been unable to answer “basic questions” about The Voice.

“We want to listen respectfully, reconciliation is important,” he told 2GB Radio.

“I think they’re making it up on the run at the moment… they’re trying to rush it and want to get through it before the next election and bask in its glory.

“But if they organize a referendum that fails because it wasn’t properly explained by the Prime Minister, that’s a bad day.”

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