Questions and answers about the proposed First Nations Voice to Parliament

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Questions and answers about the proposed First Nations Voice to Parliament

5.    Excerpts from the public debate

5.1.    What are the arguments for voting Yes?

References

  • Bronwyn Fredericks and Abraham Bradfield, ‘More than a Thought Bubble … : The Uluru Statement from the Heart and Indigenous Voice to Parliament’, M/C Journal 24,1 (2021).
  • Mike Seccombe, ‘The Uluru statement and Indigenous recognition’, The Saturday Paper, July 29, 2017.
  • Michael Kirby, ‘Time to listen to Uluru’s big ideas’, 2018, michaelkirby.com.au.
  • Kim Rubenstein, ‘Power, Control and Citizenship: The Uluru Statement from the Heart as Active Citizenship’, Bond Law Review 30,1 (2018).
  • Pat Anderson and Paul Komesaroff, ‘Why a First Nations Voice should come before Treaty’, The Conversation, October 21, 2022.
  • Dani Larkin and Kate Galloway, ‘Constitutionally entrenched Voice to Parliament: Representation and good governance’, Alternative Law Journal 46,3 (2021).
  • George Megalogenis, ‘Dutton is forgetting one major detail, and it’s nothing to do with the Voice’, The Age, January 28, 2023.
  • Fiona Stanley, Marcia Langton, James Ward et al., ‘Australian First Nations response to the pandemic: A dramatic reversal of the “gap”’, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 57,12 (2021).
  • Brigitte Archer and Fiona Martin, ‘Voting yes to the voice is a liberal act to empower Indigenous Australians to take responsibility for their lives’, The Guardian, April 14, 2023.
  • Marion Scrymgour, ‘Why an Indigenous Voice to parliament would have helped in Alice Springs’, Opinion, The Age, January 28, 2023.
  • Gabrielle Appleby and Megan Davis, ‘This is Australia’s opportunity to reset its relationship with the Indigenous community’, Australian Institute of Company Directors, 2019.
  • Ian Anderson, ‘Voice will give Indigenous people rights that others take for granted’, Opinion, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 5, 2023.
  • Biwa Kwan and Monique Pueblos, ‘The Voice to Parliament “no” camp is targeting migrant votes, but community groups say it is a “distraction”’, SBS News, January 31, 2023. *This excerpt is also in ‘What are the arguments for voting No?’

What are the arguments for voting Yes?

 

Bronwyn Fredericks and Abraham Bradfield, ‘More than a Thought Bubble … : The Uluru Statement from the Heart and Indigenous Voice to Parliament’, M/C Journal 24,1 (2021)

https://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/2738

Summary

This article discusses political reactions to the Voice; the way the media portrays the referendum; the need for a Voice; and further reforms in the form of a treaty and truth-telling commissions. According to Fredericks and Bradfield, the Uluru Statement from the Heart was originally treated as a ‘thought-bubble’ by government, but should be considered a ‘gift to the nation’. The article denounces misinformation spread by the media and claims from Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce that the Uluru Statement is not a viable proposal. The article emphasises the ‘decades of work’ that has gone into the formation of the Statement, and explains the potential effectiveness of the Voice, despite its inability to veto legislation.

Fredericks and Bradfield also describe parliament as existing within a ‘self-referential bubble’, where discourse revolves around non-Indigenous members. For this reason, they argue, parliamentary structure must be altered; the inclusion of a Voice would mean greater and more informed discussion of the views of and issues facing Indigenous peoples. Despite ongoing debates about the structure and details of the Voice, the establishment of a Voice to parliament is still a popular proposal among Indigenous communities.  

The establishment of a Voice would mean a clearer and more effective path to treaty, wherein Indigenous voices would be better heard by parliament. The article discusses the Yolngu word ‘Garma’, meaning ‘knowledge is attained from a point where differences converge’ as an explanation of how the Voice may benefit future discussions.Fredericks and Bradfield conclude by emphasising the need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be included in discussion and decisions that directly impact the livelihoods of their communities.

Excerpt

‘Throughout the ongoing movement towards constitutional reform, extensive effort has been invested into ensuring that the reforms proposed are achievable and practical. The Uluru Statement from the Heart represents the culmination of decades of work and proposes clear, concise, and relatively minimal constitutional changes that would translate to potentially significant outcomes for Indigenous Australians.’

Michael Kirby, ‘Time to listen to Uluru’s big ideas’, 2018,

https://www.michaelkirby.com.au/

Summary

Michael Kirby is a former Justice of the High Court. His speech was given at the launch of a collection of policy documents, Upholding the Big Ideas, published by Uphold and Recognise (www.upholdandrecognise.com)  and the PM Glynn Institute, the public policy think-tank of the Australian Catholic University. This collection ‘offers proposals for implementing the recommendations contained in the Uluru Statement from the Heart’. Kirby calls for a more thoughtful response to the Uluru Statement and its proposals than was shown by Malcolm Turnbull when he was Prime Minister. He argues that if Indigenous voices had been listened to much earlier in Australia’s history many mistakes and injustices would have been avoided. He rejects an approach that makes only symbolic gestures.

Excerpt

‘After 230 years of substantially ignoring their voices; after 200 years of rejecting their land rights until the High Court’s Mabo decision in 1992; after 150 years of representative government, substantially without hearing such voices; and in the light of so many persisting problems and injustices, the request for a non-binding voice to the federal parliament on matters that are important to our Indigenous people does not seem an excessive or unreasonable demand. It is one that a self-confident and just parliamentary democracy should be willing to deliver. If we had adopted this big idea much earlier, we might have avoided the many mistakes and injustices that have marred Australia’s relationship with its Indigenous peoples until now. Parliament has not made such a good fist of things that it can fairly reject this proposal as unnecessary or premature. The best place to locate an obligation to hear such voices in parliament would be in our national Constitution—where many other provisions concerning the parliament are found. That would ensure that the proposal could not be abolished or diluted through the vicissitudes of partisan politics. It would emphasise the unique, historical and corrective character of the reform that marks off our Indigenous people from other groups and minorities in Australia. The proposal for a direct voice to parliament is the central call of the Uluru Statement.’

Kim Rubenstein, ‘Power, Control and Citizenship: The Uluru Statement from the Heart as Active Citizenship’, Bond Law Review 30,1 (2018), p.21,

https://search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/

Summary

‘Abstract: … This article argues that the Uluru Statement from the Heart affirms a commitment to “active citizenship” that draws from a belief in the equal power of the governors and the governed. This understanding of the Uluru Statement from the Heart enables it to be promoted as a document for all Australians, both in the spirit of reconciliation and in its affirmation of a commitment to an equality underpinning Australian citizenship in the 21st century. By examining how citizenship in Australia has evolved as a legal concept and by reflecting on how law is a fundamental tool for providing a “meaningful limitation of the lawgiver’s power in favour of the agency of the legal subject”, this article examines the Uluru Statement from the Heart as commitment to the importance of recognising the nature of the proper relationship between the lawgiver and those subject to the law — the citizenry. To exercise power within a democratic framework, as opposed to brute force or sheer will over the subject, involves recognising the agency of the citizenry.’

Excerpt

‘… the Uluru Statement from the Heart affirms a commitment to “active citizenship”  —  a term that will be further explained but draws from a belief in the equal power of the governors and the governed. Active citizenship is a necessary element of maintaining a democratic society. It is as true for Indigenous Australians as it is for all Australians.

This understanding of the Uluru Statement from the Heart enables it to be promoted as a document for all Australians, both in the spirit of reconciliation and in its affirmation of a commitment to an equality underpinning Australian citizenship in the 21st century. I make this argument by examining how citizenship in Australia has evolved as a legal concept and by reflecting on how law is a fundamental tool for providing a “meaningful limitation of the lawgiver’s power in favour of the agency of the legal subject”. I elaborate my definition of active citizenship and examine the Uluru Statement as a commitment to the importance of recognising the nature of the proper relationship between the law giver and those subject to the law — the citizenry.

By acting on this commitment, Australia has a better chance of creating a more democratic community. A commitment to democracy includes placing meaningful, lawful limits on the exercise of power. To exercise power within a democratic framework, as opposed to brute force or sheer will over the subject, involves recognising the agency of the citizenry. This idea not only enables reconciliation to be a meaningful and restorative act but one that recalibrates the exercise of power in Australia to benefit all Australians by affirming a commitment to all Australians’ equal citizenship as active agents.’

Pat Anderson and Paul Komesaroff, ‘Why a First Nations Voice should come before Treaty’, The Conversation, October 21, 2022, 

https://theconversation.com/why-a-first-nations-voice-should-come-before-treaty-192388

Summary

This article for The Conversation opens by noting that the doctrine of terra nullius has ensured that  First Nations people have not been heard, they have been subject to a vox nullius, and ‘this malign strategy has produced centuries of unspeakable suffering, sickness and death’.

However, some sections of the population — both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal — have dismissed the Voice as inconsequential, arguing the focus should instead be on establishing a treaty. It has been argued that a Voice will lead only to talk, whereas the real goal should be a law that guarantees the civil rights of First Nations peoples.

According to Anderson and Komesaroff this argument is mistaken because it fails to understand the potential power of the Voice not only to lay a foundation for a movement towards reconciliation and truth, but also act as a tool to craft novel solutions to the problems created by the unique circumstances of Australia’s history and culture. They argue that a treaty would operate only as an element within the system of colonially-derived law. It would utilise concepts within a system of thought that few would argue has served our country well in relation to the treatment of First Nations people, not to mention refugees and other vulnerable minorities.

The Uluru Statement on the other hand provides an approach that draws on the creative resources of dialogue fundamental to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. There will be a secure channel of communication that will open up new ways for all members of the Australian community to negotiate their differences and discover novel solutions to our common challenges.

Excerpt

‘Establishing the Voice will lead to immediate, important outcomes. It will set the scene for addressing the centuries of injustice. It will create an effective process to address the intergenerational disadvantage many communities suffer. It will help overcome the historical exclusion of First Nations people from public forums. And crucially, it will offer an important symbolic gesture of acknowledgement and recognition that the days of vox nullius, the primary intention and consequence of terra nullius, are at last over.

It is, of course, unlikely that all First Nations people will speak with one voice — indeed, that would be undesirable. However, creation of a secure channel of communication will open up new ways for all members of the Australian community to negotiate their differences and discover novel solutions to our common challenges.

First Nations people will therefore not be the only ones to gain from the Voice. A vibrant, living platform for vigorous dialogue that addresses fundamental political issues will also benefit the wider society. It will help revive the ailing public sphere in Australia, restoring trust in institutions that have been degraded and depleted as a result of a deeply-established focus on personal ambition, vested interests and loss of shared ethical vision.’        

Mike Seccombe, ‘The Uluru statement and Indigenous recognition’, The Saturday Paper, July 29, 2017, 

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/indigenous-affairs/

Summary

In this piece for The Saturday PaperSeccombe notes that the proposal to formally recognise Australia’s Indigenous peoples in our Constitution has had a long history, with change still waiting to happen. Striking a note of optimism Seccombe cites lawyer Mark Leibler, co-chair of the Referendum Council, saying that the Voice proposal represents the result of a process to find out what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander want and is simple and conservative. Seccombe also cites constitutional lawyers Anne Twomey — who says that the proposal is modest, pragmatic, and would be a living, ongoing process — and Shireen Morris who notes that previous bodies such as ATSIC have been abolished rather than reformed and that that is ‘why we need a constitutional guarantee’. Seccombe concludes that, until now, Indigenous recognition has only been ‘countenanced’ as something that should be seen but not heard.  

Excerpt

‘Uluru brought clarity and coherence to a discursive process that has rambled on for 10 years. Such clarity and coherence, indeed, that [ lawyer Mark] Leibler, who was not sure going into the process “whether anything would come out of it”, now sees only two options: “Either take it or take Indigenous recognition off the agenda … Because the reality is these are the only alternatives unless one is prepared to contemplate a form that they, those being recognised, oppose”.

Anne Twomey, a professor of constitutional law at Sydney University, who provided drafting advice to the group, is impressed by the pragmatism of the proposal. “The original idea of recognition in the constitution was indeed symbolism, if you go back and look at what John Howard was saying or Kevin Rudd was saying. But we’ve had Aboriginal recognition put into nearly all the state constitutions, but nobody knows about it … because nothing really changed as a result. Nothing. Zero”.’        

Dani Larkin and Kate Galloway, ‘Constitutionally entrenched Voice to Parliament: Representation and good governance’, 

Alternative Law Journal 46,3 (2021), p.197, DOI: 10.1177/1037969X211019807

Summary

In 2017, the Uluru Statement from the Heart provided a consensus position on constitutional reform derived from Regional Dialogues drawing on experiences, views and aspirations of First Nations people. Among its recommendations is a constitutionally entrenched Voice to Parliament. This article identifies the key features of constitutional enshrinement that would enhance Australia’s institutions of governance. It focuses on its capacity for representation and its contribution to good governance and articulates the imperative for Voice to be an institution under the Australian Constitution, outlining the risks of settling for a legislated body alone.

Excerpt

‘The three key reform proposals, Voice, Treaty and Truth-Telling, make clear that the path towards conciliation between Australian institutions and First Nations is for the old structures to change, allowing for new structures that politically and constitutionally incorporate First Nation perspectives in the very fabric of the nation’s law-making.

The Voice to Parliament is thus an institutional response to questions of good governance. Its very presence — an institution established under the Constitution and comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people — legitimises the place of First Nations peoples within Australian government. Its collective cultural representation can afford legitimacy to laws and policy affecting First Nations people, empowering a collective voice hitherto not uplifted within colonial institutions of government. The legitimacy that is central to good governance, and the exercise of collective self-determination that comes with that, are afforded in particular through the referendum process necessary for constitutional enshrinement of Voice to Parliament. Legitimacy is important not only within First Nations communities but also throughout the wider Australian polity.’

George Megalogenis, ‘Dutton is forgetting one major detail, and it’s nothing to do with the Voice’, Opinion, The Age, January 28, 2023 

https://www.theage.com.au/national/dutton-is-forgetting-one-major-detail-and-it-s-nothing-to-do-with-the-voice-20230126-p5cfo0.html

Summary

Megaloginis is a columnist for The Age newspaper and a ‘child of Greek migrants’. In this piece he uses the metaphor of a tree with roots, trunk and branches corresponding to Indigenous Australia, Old Australia (Europeans whose families have been on the continent for ‘at least 3 generations’) and New Australia (people who were born overseas or ‘have at least one migrant parent’) to criticise Peter Dutton’s support for a referendum No case. Arguing in terms of population developments and voting trends, Megaloginis writes that by supporting a no case for the referendum Dutton is stuck in ‘Old Australia’ in more than one sense. He says that, ‘Dividing the country to achieve a short term political goal on the referendum’ will do a lot of damage and wreck an opportunity for the three components of the Australian population to ‘walk and work’ together.  

Excerpt

‘The conservative argument for the Voice understands the consequences of a No vote for social cohesion. The defeat of the referendum, by whatever margin, would split the country and damage the interests of Old Australians just as surely as it would crush the collective spirit of First Australians.

It would leave unresolved the existential questions of identity and national purpose for the 21st century.’

Fiona Stanley, Marcia Langton, James Ward et al., ‘Australian First Nations response to the pandemic: A dramatic reversal of the “gap”’, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 57,12 (2021), pp. 1855, 1856,

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jpc.15701

Summary

One of the questions asked about the Voice is what difference it would make to First Nations people in Australia. An example is presented in this article which provides evidence that an approach by government that recognises Aboriginal wisdom and hands control to those with deep cultural knowledge can produce palpable results. The medical researcher Fiona Stanley and others show that, where it has been applied, the model on which the concept of the Voice is based has produced very favourable outcomes in relation to the impact of the COVID pandemic.

Excerpt

‘We believe that the First Nations response to the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be seen and judged in the context of this request for a voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution. If First Nations people are given a voice, more power and responsibility to act for their own populations, their outcomes will improve.

This is the unfinished business in Australia. Enshrining the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice into the Australian Constitution will mean that the First Nations response to the pandemic is not a one-off historical moment but rather normal business for Governments and how they work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and organisations. Until this is resolved, business will remain as usual and, because of Government-generated policy, impact will be minimal. The evidence supporting the effectiveness of giving First Nations people a voice is now overwhelming. Their response to the pandemic is an outstanding example of how services work when organised and overseen by those who need them most. Costly, useless and even harmful policies have been thrown at our First Nations populations for decades by successive Federal and State/Territory governments, with little improvements in any of the Closing the Gap targets. The strong message from the pandemic and the First Nations response to it is to support the Uluru Statement’s request for a Voice enshrined in the Constitution. The question that should be asked is, without significant Indigenous input (voice), would we have had more severe outcomes? We believe so and we need the Statement from the Heart to be constitutionally enshrined for “us to be heard, to have impact on our livelihoods”.’

Marion Scrymgour, ‘Why an Indigenous Voice to parliament would have helped in Alice Springs’, Opinion, The Age, January 28, 2023

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/why-an-indigenous-voice-to-parliament-would-have-helped-in-alice-springs-20230128-p5cg5k.html

Summary

In this opinion piece published in The Age, Marion Scrymgour, a Labor member of the Northern Territory parliament and herself a First Nations woman, reflects on the problems of alcoholism and violence in Alice Springs, which she argues are the result of housing shortages, inadequate health services, lack of employment opportunities and other forms of disadvantage. She contends that these are in turn the result of longstanding failures of governments to consult with Aboriginal people and to listen to their concerns and concludes that a Voice to Parliament would facilitate the development of policies that responded to community needs and lead to progress towards solving the problems.  

Excerpt

‘Alice Springs just can’t cope with the influx of people from remote communities. A housing shortage out bush, alongside a lack of power, air-conditioning, health services and employment opportunities, has led to a large movement of people into Alice. If a Voice had existed in 2014, at the very least it would have been able to provide advice to government and the parliament on the impact of budget cuts, like Abbott’s damaging cuts to support services in communities like mine.

If we had been listened to, and if policies had been designed in partnership with local communities to tackle the underlying disadvantage experienced by remote communities more than a decade ago, then perhaps many of the issues that have erupted now would not have occurred.

It’s why we need constitutional recognition through a Voice.’

Gabrielle Appleby and Megan Davis, ‘This is Australia’s opportunity to reset its relationship with the Indigenous community’, Australian Institute of Company Directors, 2019

https://www.aicd.com.au/corporate-governance-sectors/indigenous/business/first-nations-voice.html

Summary

This article opens by documenting increasing support for the Voice to Parliament from a variety of different sectors: from politicians, the Australian public, unions and within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. The article also recounts recent history leading up to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, specifically, the Kirribilli Statement and the rejection of symbolic gestures in favour of a different form of recognition. This led to the Referendum Council and the dialogues which contributed to the Uluru Statement. The article details the three reforms called for in the statement — voice, treaty and truth — and asserts that ‘the strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural authority sits behind the statement’. The authors also explain why constitutional enshrinement of the Voice is necessary and debunks common misconceptions, stating that the Voice will not have veto power and that details on the Voice will be decided after a referendum takes place. The article concludes by describing the Voice as ‘an opportunity … to shift the relationship between First Nations people and the government’.

Excerpt

‘A constitutional First Nations Voice can be justified on the basis of the need to respect the self-determination of Australia’s Indigenous peoples, as recognised under international law. It can also be justified on economic rationalist grounds as a mechanism of good governance that will vastly improve the quality and effectiveness of policies and laws.’

Ian Anderson, ‘Voice will give Indigenous people rights that others take for granted’, Opinion, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 5, 2023

https://www.smh.com.au/national/voice-will-give-indigenous-people-rights-that-others-take-for-granted-20230202-p5chgc.html

Summary

In this article for The Sydney Morning Herald Anderson argues against views that cast the Voice to Parliament as a racist proposal that would ‘give rights to Indigenous Australian not enjoyed by others’. Indigenous Australians lack the kind of access to politicians enjoyed by big business, their views and advice are systematically ignored and laws currently passed on their behalf do not have to benefit them. Anderson argues that a Voice to Parliament would actually redress the significant disadvantage currently systemically experienced by Indigenous communities.

Excerpt

‘Just like all other Australians, Indigenous Australians have a right to advise governments on matters that impact on their lives.

Non-Indigenous Australians have organisations that represent their views to government on all aspects of their life, including work, business and culture. Business groups such as the Business Council of Australia and Australian Industry Group, professional associations, trade unions and arts bodies represent a huge range of interests of the Australian community. Many well-funded organisations also have permanent lobbyists who have the ear of governments.

Some of these bodies fund themselves. Others have government support. Indigenous communities don’t have the financial resources to fund lobbyists. They sometimes require government assistance.

The proposal to create an Indigenous Voice to Parliament simply strengthens the right of Indigenous Australians to be heard and consulted. Their views are not binding on governments. The Voice simply provides advice in much the same way as many other non-Indigenous organisations …

The Voice does not give Indigenous Australians rights that other Australians do not have. It is not a racist proposal.’

Brigitte Archer and Fiona Martin, ‘Voting yes to the voice is a liberal act to empower Indigenous Australians to take responsibility for their lives’, The Guardian, April 14, 2023

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/apr/14/voting-yes-to-the-voice-is-a-liberal-act-to-empower-indigenous-australians-to-take-responsibility-for-their-lives

Summary

In a short article for The Guardian newspaper two Liberal Party MPs reflect on the history of Indigenous ‘dispossession and discrimination’. They argue that voting Yes in the referendum is entirely consistent with liberal commitments and values. They disagree strongly with the often dishonest approach and ideological position of some of their Liberal Party colleagues and the Party’s decision to ‘bind itself to a no case’. They note that supporting the Voice would be consistent with values of mateship and pragmatism.

Excerpt

‘For us, voting yes is a liberal act to solve this. Liberal leaders, from the trailblazing Ken Wyatt to the intellectually brilliant Julian Leeser, have been shaping and refining it for many years.

There are many Liberals and former Liberals who know in their heart the burning desire to do better, to be better and to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians toward a future that rights the wrongs of the past in a practical and proportionate way.

It is consistent with our commitment to liberalism because it empowers families and communities coming together to take responsibility for their lives. It is an opportunity to stand as Australians who put country first and party second.

But it is only now — as it becomes clear Australians are open to a new way of addressing the burning injustices against Indigenous people — that we hear dishonest claims which ignore not only fact, but also electoral realities.

It was dishonest to claim that the national apology to the stolen generations would lead to a wave of litigation, and today it is deeply cynical to claim the voice will lead to an inundation of litigation against defence contracts, interdepartmental committee decisions and technology contracts.

It is deeply devoid of pragmatism to reheat a policy rejected at a federal election and present it as a credible alternative.’

Biwa Kwan and Monique Pueblos, ‘The Voice to Parliament “no” camp is targeting migrant votes, but community groups say it is a “distraction”’, SBS News, January 31, 2023,  (Also in 5.2 Excerpts: ‘What are the arguments for voting No?’)

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/australias-migrants-to-vote-yes-for-indigenous-voice-as-peak-body-rejects-call-for-constitutional-preamble-proposal/nm4ri985d

Summary

Australia’s diverse society is made up of communities from many cultural groups, including migrants and their descendants and refugees, in addition to First Nations people. Despite attempts to use the Voice proposal as a source of division there is a strong sense of unity and common purpose that is reflected in this article in which the chairperson of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, Mr Carlo Carli is interviewed.  

Excerpt

‘Indigenous advocates supporting the ‘no’ campaign in the upcoming Indigenous Voice referendum appealed to migrant voters in their launch on Monday, saying they should vote no for the Voice. They should instead back a proposal for a statement in the preamble of the Constitution to recognise “the migrants and refugees” who had “contributed to this country”. “It’s about complementing”, said the leader of the ‘no’ campaign, former Australian Labor Party president turned Liberal candidate Warren Mundine.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are very open to the multicultural community”, Mr Mundine said. “When we look at Australia we are a liberal democracy in a plural society, so we have many faiths, many cultures, we have many ethnicities. It’s a population of around 26 million. I think the constitution should reflect that and be very praiseworthy of it”.

Mr [Carlo] Carli said the lived experience of migrants and refugees had informed their perspective to embrace the Indigenous Voice. “There’s a direct understanding, they’ve experienced dispossession, they’ve experienced marginalisation. And they’ve found refuge in this country”, he said. “And I think they now see the refuge they found in a country which itself has seen colonialism and a brutal impact on the First Nations people. And I think they want to see that rectified”.’

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