Lidia Thorpe has been campaigning against Voice to Parliament for months. Now, two days before every Australian goes to the polls, she says she ‘absolutely’ supports a Voice guy
Lidia Thorpe has made it clear that she will not support any version of Voice in its current form proposed by the government.
It comes hours after the Greens-turned-independent senator said she would support a legislated vote, despite her opposition to enshrining the proposal in the constitution.
When asked if she had any qualms about a Legislated Voice, she replied: “Why not?
“If legislation comes before Parliament saying they want to create another advisory body and it will be fully representative of the people, as long as we are not in this constitution, I will support it,” Ms Thorpe said. .
“We need all the help we can get there.”
She then clarified that her comments must be understood in the broader context of her “consistent position that truth and treaties are the first steps to bring peace to this land.”
“I do not support the Government’s proposed Voice and no representative body should be established, in any form, unless it is the product of the free, prior and informed consent of the first peoples of this country” , she said on Twitter.
The Green senator who became an independent led an active campaign against the Indigenous Voice in Parliament alongside the Blak Sovereign Movement.
She said: “The Sovereign Blak Movement and the popular crowd have been consistent in their rejection of the current proposal for a powerless consultative body enshrined in the colonial constitution.
“Whatever the outcome, the path forward begins with healing, revealing the truth, reaching a treaty, implementing the recommendations of the report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and their return home, and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The concept of a Legal Voice is that it would perform the same functions as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s proposed body, providing advice to the government on ways to improve services to Indigenous people.
But the main difference is that it would not be enshrined in the constitution.
In its current form, Ms Thorpe does not want to take part in the One Voice campaign. But she also repeatedly said during the year that she had not aligned herself with the conservative No vote.
“I oppose the Voice because the Voice is just a front for constitutional recognition. And that’s what we’ve been opposing for over a decade,” she said.
But Ms Thorpe said Indigenous Australians who resisted colonization and constitutional recognition would be able to begin “a real journey of healing… and truth-telling” in an unsuccessful vote .
Mr Albanese has categorically ruled out considering legislating for a Voice if the referendum fails, arguing that it is not what indigenous people asked for in the Uluru Declaration from the Heart and that it would go to the against the wishes of the Australian public.
Aunty Pat Anderson, staunch Yes campaigner and co-chair of the Uluru Dialogue, said the reason a legal Voice “doesn’t work for us” is because it would be “subject to the whims and fancies of the politics of the day”.
“Our organizations don’t know if they are being funded from one government to another and when there is a change of government we are back to square one.”
But Ms Thorpe said Indigenous Australians who resisted colonization and constitutional recognition could begin “a real journey of healing… and truth” in a successful negative vote.
“Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want the truth to be told in this country, which, after all, was part of the Uluru Statement that we no longer hear in this debate.
“We’re not talking about a treaty either… so I think there’s a lot to look forward to and rather than thinking we’ve been defeated, consider this a victory.”
For Saturday’s referendum to be successful, a majority of yes votes are needed in at least four of the six states.
The Indigenous senator said the referendum had given a platform to racists and her life was in danger after being targeted by a neo-Nazi video.