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WA Liberals respond to Indigenous Voice to Parliament plans

The exact details of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament need to be made “crystal clear” before Australians are asked to participate in a referendum on the issue, according to WA Senator Michaelia Cash.

Federal Liberal deputy Sussan Ley also strongly hinted her party would oppose a vote on constitutional change that did not spell out how the long-talked about Voice would work.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese used a speech at Garma Festival in the Northern Territory on Saturday to unveil the draft wording of a “yes” or “no” referendum question asking whether an Indigenous Voice should be enshrined in the constitution.

“We should consider asking our fellow Australians something as simple as ‘Do you support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?’” Mr Albanese said.

He also revealed three draft sentences to be added to the constitution:

  • There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to Parliament and the Executive Government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
  • The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Responding to the proposal outside the WA Liberal State Conference on Saturday, Ms Cash pointed to the maiden speech of Senate colleague and Warlpiri-Celtic woman Jacinta Nampijinpa Price who slammed the Voice as a “virtuous act of symbolic gesture”.

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