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Scott Morrison reemerges from the backbench to call out the Indigenous Voice to Parliament


Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison returns from the backseat to call the Indigenous vote to parliament

  • Scott Morrison has spoken out against the Voice
  • The former prime minister says it poses “constitutional risk”.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison has used a rare speech in parliament to oppose the upcoming Indigenous vote referendum.

Mr Morrison said the proposal was ‘ill-defined’ and would create constitutional risks by enshrining an indigenous voice in parliament and executive government.

“It is not necessary to enshrine the vote in the Constitution to constitutionally recognize Indigenous Australians. That enjoys broad support,’ he told the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Scott Morrison (pictured) criticized the Albanian government’s Voice proposal on Wednesday in a rare contribution to the public debate

It is wrong to confuse the issues of the vote with constitutional recognition and treat them as inseparable.

“The impact of the vote on the functioning of the executive government and parliament is also unknown, which poses significant and unknown risks that cannot be easily remedied.”

It was only the third time Mr Morrison has spoken in parliament since losing last year’s federal election, the other occasions being after the Queen’s death, and defending himself against censorship following his multi-ministerial scandal.

The former prime minister also denounced the Albanian government for not being receptive to amendments to the proposal, which he deemed “ill-constructed.”

He said all Australians wanted to support and do everything they could to recognize and improve the lives of Indigenous Australians, but that was not what the government intended to do.

“Permanently amending the constitution in the way the government is proposing will sadly not change the desperate conditions experienced in so many Indigenous communities across Australia,” Morrison said.

“I understand that this is the hope of this proposal, and hope is a good thing, but disappointed hopes will crush the soul, and such disappointment can be reasonably foreseen by proceeding with the government’s proposal.”

The former prime minister expressed his view that Voice's proposal divided Australians and posed a 'significant risk' to the constitution

The former prime minister expressed his view that Voice’s proposal divided Australians and posed a ‘significant risk’ to the constitution

Mr Morrison is one of more than 100 MPs who will speak for or against the Voice proposal this week.  Opposition leader Peter Dutton (pictured) spoke first on Tuesday

Mr Morrison is one of more than 100 MPs who will speak for or against the Voice proposal this week. Opposition leader Peter Dutton (pictured) spoke first on Tuesday

Mr Morrison also targeted sporting codes and corporate groups that have publicly supported the referendum.

“While I am very interested in the NRL’s views on hip-drop tackles and the six-to-one rule, I don’t think I will be referring to them for constitutional advice when making my decisions on this issue” , he said.

While Prime Minister, Mr Morrison rejected calls to include a vote for parliament in the constitution, but supported work to establish local and regional voting mechanisms.

A proposal to have the body made legal fell through.

Indigenous Labor MP Marion Scrymgour said the vote was not a political campaign, but an extension of Aboriginal leaders’ advocacy, and represented a significant step forward.

“This constitution, this birth certificate, which we are now trying to amend in such a modest way, was based on the fact that the participating colonies could complete the project of eliminating Aboriginal people that they had already begun,” she said.

“Giving our people a real voice now is the least this country can do to right the injustice that has existed at the core of our founding document.”

Ms Scrymgour denounced opponents of the vote that said the constitutional amendment would divide the country by race.

“It’s disgraceful that people use that as a means to sow doubt and division in people’s hearts and minds,” she said.

MPs will face another long night of talks over the vote ahead of a vote next month on the final form of the referendum.

Parliament will vote on the final wording of the referendum question, along with amendments to the constitution, should the proposal succeed.

The lower house is not expected to vote on the voting bill until next week, when debate will shift to the Senate.

The bill is expected to be finalized in June ahead of the referendum, which will be held between October and December.

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