The Federal Liberal Party has confirmed its position on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. It will oppose the Voice, which will be the subject of a referendum later this year.
Liberal Party leader Peter Dutton said the proposed Voice to Parliament would be “divisive, and not a system that would serve our country well”.
The National Party also opposes the Voice.
What is the Voice to Parliament?
The Government wants to put a Voice to Parliament in the Constitution to give First Nations people a say in laws and policies that affect them.
Changing the Constitution requires the approval of a majority of voters in a majority of states via a referendum.
The Government has released its proposal for the referendum question and for the Constitutional change itself.
What is the Liberal Party’s position on the Voice to Parliament?
Dutton said the Liberal Party supports constitutional recognition of First Nations people. However, it does not support a constitutionally-enshrined Federal Voice to Parliament. Dutton said he believes the current proposed model would divide the country.
Instead of a constitutionally-enshrined Voice, Dutton said the Liberals support an Indigenous Voice at a local and regional level.
“We want to make sure we can get the best possible outcomes for Indigenous Australians, and we do that through recognising Indigenous Australians in the Constitution… [However,] having a Canberra Voice won’t resolve the issues on the ground for Indigenous communities,” Dutton claimed in a press conference.
The decision means Liberal frontbenchers will be obligated to oppose the Voice, but backbenchers will be free to advocate for their personal position ahead of the referendum.
The Liberals’ announcement will not affect the referendum going ahead later this year. The referendum question has already been finalised, and legislation to trigger the referendum was introduced to Federal Parliament last month.
Labor and The Greens both support establishing a constitutionally-enshrined Voice to Parliament.