Liberal MP backs Indigenous bid
A new Liberal MP has become the latest conservative to back an Indigenous advisory body in the constitution.
Indigenous delegates at a landmark conference at Uluru proposed creating an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice to Parliament in 2017.
Many Coalition conservatives oppose the idea – falsely arguing that it would create a ‘third chamber’ of Parliament.
The actual proposal is for an advisory board to review any policy or legislation that impacts on First Nations people, but with no veto powers and not ability to change or enter legislation into the parliament.
It would have the same recommendation powers as parliamentary committees, making suggestions that the parliament can adopt, or reject.
There has been some pushback against the inaccurate and misleading ‘third chamber’ claims this week.
Freshly-elected New South Wales senator Andrew Bragg says Australia “should not wait any longer” to recognise over 60,000 years of Aboriginal sovereignty in the land now known as Australia.
“Almost every comparable nation has landed some form of legal recognition of First Peoples,” Senator Bragg said in his first speech to Parliament.
“The issue of proper recognition in the Constitution will not go away. It shouldn't.
“A First Nations Voice would not be a third chamber.
“It will not have the standing, scope or power of the Senate or the House of Representatives.
“Further, the campaign that 'race has no place' in the Constitution may sound good.
“[But] our present Constitution already contains race in several places.”
Many in both the Liberal and National parties want only symbolic recognition of First Australians in the Constitution.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says plan for a new Indigenous advisory structure is not being considered “within the constitutional context” — suggesting it could be established by legislation.
The Federal Government included more than $7 million for efforts to outline the voice to parliament proposal in its most recent budget.