Aboriginal Australian opposition spokesperson Jacinta Nampijinpa Price offered an olive branch to the Yes camp ahead of the referendum on the Indigenous voice in Parliament.
Senator Price, a staunch No campaigner, told Voice Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was losing Australian support because he was not prepared to compromise.
She said the only way to succeed in the Yes campaign was to adjust the October 14 constitutional referendum to “focus only on recognition and drop the vote”.
“I think the Prime Minister has made it very, very clear that he is doing everything in his power,” she told Australia’s second Great Voice debate.
“He takes everyone with him. And I think he should take responsibility for the division he has caused in our nation.
“This has been the most controversial referendum we have faced in our country’s history.”
Senator Price urged the Prime Minister to amend the referendum to include recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but leave out voice.
Mr. Albanese has repeatedly stated that the Voice would be an advisory body to Parliament that would allow First Nations people to participate in a discussion about the laws that affect them and what is needed in their communities.
But the wording that will be added to the Constitution, while very deliberate and precise, could be tested in the High Court, whose decision would then have to be followed by Parliament.
According to the Parliamentary Education Office: “The primary task of the High Court of Australia is to interpret the Australian Constitution and resolve disputes over its meaning. »
Some No supporters argue that the language could have far-reaching consequences that would be extremely difficult to remove.
Senator Price’s compromise of recognizing Indigenous peoples in the Constitution without mentioning The Voice is seen by some as more stable constitutional ground.
In a speech to the National Press Club this week, the country’s Liberal Party senator argued that none of the words “council”, “advisor” or “advisory” appeared in the proposed change to the constitution . Instead, the word used is “representations.”
“Nowhere in the question that will be asked of Australians or in the proposed chapter on which we are voting do the words ‘advisory’, ‘advisory’ or ‘advisory’ appear,” Senator Nampijinpa Price said.
“If the Prime Minister really wanted this body to be a simple consultative body… then this would have been stipulated in the proposed chapter.
“You see, words matter. The words proposed to amend the Constitution of our country are very important.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says Voice would simply be an advisory body
Senator Nampijinpa Price also slammed accusations that the No campaign was “fear-mongering” about The Voice, arguing that their concerns stem from comments made by the government’s hand-picked advisers.
She highlighted comments from Yes campaigners Teela Reid and Thomas Mayo on how the Voice would work.
“What we do know is that many of The Voice’s most prominent advocates have very different views from those of the government.
“No matter what the government, advocates and activists say about what Voice will or won’t do, the fact is they don’t know,” Ms Price said.
“They don’t know who will be on Voice. They don’t know what they will choose to make representations about.
“They talk about it as the first step towards establishing a treaty, reparations, compensation and a mechanism to punish politicians. This probably means that politicians like me are not afraid to stand up to them .”
Ms Nampijinpa Price said suggesting all Indigenous Australians think the same and support the same policies is a “backward, neocolonial and racial stereotype”.
“Whatever the outcome of October 14, it is imperative that we examine the failures of our past to understand how to do better. Our nation’s rules belong to every Australian. And it is not a document to be taken for granted or jeopardized for the sake of ambiance.
“To undertake such an important amendment, the Prime Minister owes it to the Australian people a clear, concise and realistic demonstration of how his Voice will deliver the results all good Australians want for our marginalized people.”
The question of the wording of The Voice will be asked of every Australian and the constitutional change
Referendum question: “A Bill: to amend the Constitution to recognize Australia’s first peoples by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice.”
Do you approve this proposed change?
Relevant amendment to the constitution:
“Chapter IX Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, 129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voices
In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia:
there will be a body, which will be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to Parliament and the Commonwealth Executive Government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have the power to legislate on matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.