Why an Aboriginal elder votes No in Voice’s referendum: ‘What do we say Yes to?’
- Aboriginal elder to vote No for lack of information
- Claims local tribes could not be represented by The Voice
An Aboriginal elder has revealed he will vote against Voice to Parliament unless it is delayed so Australians have more time to find out why they are voting.
Ned Hargraves, a Warlpiri village elder in a rural area of the Northern Territory northwest of Alice Springs, argued that there is a significant lack of information about the Voice.
Hargraves called on the government to delay the referendum, which will take place in the last quarter of 2023, as several questions on Voice remain unanswered.
The elder wants to know how an advisory body can ensure that important issues in the indigenous community are addressed.
He is also trying to understand how he can ensure that the laws and traditions of each Aboriginal tribe are recognized, with more than 400 different tribes spread across Australia.
While the majority of Aboriginal Australians continue to support Voice, polls suggest that residents across the country are increasingly opposed to it.
An elder from the Warlpiri village in a rural part of the Northern Territory, Ned Hargraves (pictured), reveals that he will vote no in The Voice to Parliament due to a lack of information.
Hargraves told the abc he was concerned about the ramifications of passing the referendum without indigenous communities being properly informed about what it entails.
My people need to know exactly what we want. What are we saying yes to? he said.
‘If I give you a paper written in my language and you try to read it and try to understand it, would you sign it?’
The Aboriginal elder highlighted concerns that Voice would have little impact in curbing problems currently facing Indigenous Australians, such as the disproportionate percentage of First Nations people in prison.
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics in June last year, 31 per cent of all prisoners were Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islanders, despite the fact that the Aboriginal community makes up 3.1 per cent of the total population.
Of those in prison, 78 percent had already spent time in the prison system for prior crimes.
Mr Hargraves also said that specific issues relating to individual tribes could be miscommunicated if only a ‘broad’ Voice to Parliament is passed.
“When you look at… our dreams, our laws, we don’t want someone else who doesn’t know my Tjukurpa, my dreams, to drive them,” Mr. Hargraves said.
Although she is currently on the same side of the debate as MP and No campaign leader Jacinta Price, Hargraves said she did not endorse her.
‘I’m not a fan of Jacinta. But I am for my people,’ she said.
Mr. Hargraves expressed concern that The Voice might fail to achieve change on current Indian issues and miscommunicate issues raised by individual tribes.
According to a poll by the national broadcaster, which averages the national polls on Voice, support for the referendum has begun to wane.
The binary poll shows that Australians are becoming more conditioned to vote no in the referendum as the vote date approaches.
A March poll by YouGov, which surveyed 732 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, showed that 83 percent of Indigenous Australians support Voice.
Australian Indigenous Minister Linda Burney had recently claimed that the No campaign had adopted “Trump-style politics” to derail support for Voice.
“The goal is to polarize, to sow division in our society by making false claims,” he told the Press Gallery last week.
‘Don’t let the No campaign get away with using Trump-style politics. Don’t let them divide us.
In June, a Newspoll showed that overall support for Voice fell three points to just 43 percent.
The No vote rose four points, to 47 per cent, putting him ahead since Newspoll began tracking support.
What we know about Voice to Parliament so far
Here Daily Mail Australia takes a look at some of the key questions about Voice so far and how the government has addressed them:
What kind of advice can La Voz provide to Parliament and the Government?
La Voz will advise on matters directly related to indigenous peoples.
You will respond to requests made by the government while also having the power to proactively engage in matters that you believe affect them.
The group will have its own resources to research issues and engage with communities at the grassroots level to ensure it best reflects their needs.
How will the members of the Voice be chosen?
The members of the Voice will be appointed by the indigenous communities and will serve on the committee for a fixed period of time, yet to be determined.
The way in which the communities elect their representatives will be agreed by the local communities together with the government as part of a ‘post-referendum process’ to ensure cultural legitimacy.
Who can be a member of the committee?
Members of the Voice must be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
They will be elected from all states and territories and will have balanced gender representation at the national level.
The government has also guaranteed that youth will be included in the committee to ensure representation throughout the community.
Will the Voice be transparent?
The government claims Voice will be subject to scrutiny and reporting requirements to ensure it is held accountable and transparent.
The members of the voice will be subject to the standards of the National Anti-Corruption Commission and will be sanctioned or removed from the committee if there is any misconduct.
Will the Voice have veto power?
Will La Voz function independently of other government agencies?
The committee must respect the work and role of existing organizations, says the government.
Will the Voice handle any funds?
The Voice will not directly manage any money or provide any services to the community.
Their sole role will be to make representations about improving existing government programs and services, and to advise on new ideas emerging from the parties.