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Tony Abbott expresses concerns over an Aboriginal Voice to Parliament

Tony Abbott has argued against the proposed Indigenous vote to parliament, claiming the current plan is “fundamentally wrong” and imploring the Liberal party to oppose it.

The former prime minister gave his views on the matter in a piece for which he wrote: the Australian on Wednesday, by saying the body was racially divisive, it risked overthrowing our system of governance and would do nothing to solve the problems of Aboriginal communities.

“I’m all for recognizing indigenous peoples in our constitution, but not if that means including a race-based body in our parliament and not if it means changing our system of government,” he began.

Mr Abbott claimed the “problem” with an Indigenous vote to parliament is that “race makes an element” in who is eligible to serve in a body that has broad powers to change laws.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott (pictured) has opposed an Indigenous vote in parliament.  He claimed he was not in favor of 'making a race-based body part of our parliament'

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott (pictured) has opposed an Indigenous vote in parliament. He claimed he was not in favor of ‘making a race-based body part of our parliament’

Abbott applauded Anthony Albanese (pictured at the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory last weekend) for 'wanting to do the right thing' but suggested it wasn't the right way

Abbott applauded Anthony Albanese (pictured at the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory last weekend) for ‘wanting to do the right thing’ but suggested it wasn’t the right way

He also said that it’changes the way our government works” by replacing or competing with parliament as the supreme body for deciding the laws and regulations of the country.

Added to the potential danger is that the body’s powers will remain undefined in the run-up to a referendum on whether it should be established, as the government doesn’t want that plebiscite to fail over disputes over fine details.

Abbott said this meant The Voice would have “unspecified control over unspecified topics with unspecified ramifications.”

Mr Abbott praised Anthony Albanese for “wanting to do the right thing by the Aborigines” but wrote that it was not the lack of legislature that gave rise to the problems plaguing indigenous communities.

“We all deplore the ugly fact that Indigenous people, on average, die younger and live worse than the rest of us. But it is no mystery why this is so.

‘People with much poorer educational outcomes, with much lower job prospects and living far away from the services most Australians take for granted will always have shorter, poorer lives than people in better circumstances.’

Anthony Albanese attended the Garma festival last weekend where he revealed the potential question that could be asked in a referendum for a vote to parliament.

The possible question was, “Do you support a constitutional amendment that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?”

The Liberal opposition’s initial reaction is that it will broadly support the proposal, but Mr Abbott has begged his former party colleagues in Canberra to oppose it.

Mr Abbott’s public opposition to the change would cause some concern among supporters of The Voice as he has had success rallying support against a referendum in the past.

In 1999, the loyal monarchist led a successful campaign against Australia becoming a republic.

Mr Abbott claimed that close consultation with native elders and leaders through representative bodies “has been going on for decades,” but that it was excessive and dangerous to establish a new body with constitutional power that could rule parliament.

If this body really wants, in the Prime Minister’s words, ‘to end 121 years of Commonwealth governments that arrogantly believe they know enough to impose their own solutions on the Aborigines,’ it will clearly have something that comes close to vetoing decisions that parliament might otherwise make.’

How would this additional mechanism improve the end result or add something to the 11 indigenous voices already present in parliament?

Anthony Albanese (pictured) attended the Garma festival and revealed the possible question that could be asked in a referendum for an indigenous vote to parliament

Anthony Albanese (pictured) attended the Garma festival and revealed the possible question that could be asked in a referendum for an indigenous vote to parliament

Mr Abbott (pictured) claimed the 'degree of separation' between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people was at the heart of the issue behind The Voice, adding that the government's pressure was on 'transforming governance'

Mr Abbott (pictured) claimed the ‘degree of separation’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people was at the heart of the issue behind The Voice, adding that the government’s pressure was on ‘transforming governance’

“However, what it would certainly do is complicate the legislative process and invite legal interventions about how much weight can be given to the opinion of the Voice versus that of Parliament; and on matters that may (or may not) concern indigenous peoples.’

The former prime minister said having a rival body in parliament that represents the interests of the indigenous people would divide the population on racial grounds rather than bring them together.

“Everything about the proposed vote is dripping with entrenched separatism as an atonement for dispossession, even though Indigenous people can never expect to achieve Australian results without also embracing Australian norms,” ​​he said.

“Inevitably, any referendum campaign will seek to exploit guilt about the past to overcome fears about the future, even though nothing this generation is doing now can change the past, but it can certainly damage our future.”

He concluded his piece by claiming that the constitutional amendment was about ‘transforming governance’

“The last thing we should do is allow goodwill to cloud judgment and be morally bullied to become a country more divided and less well-governed.”

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