Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is being pushed to publicly release the Solicitor-General’s advice after the wording of the Voice to Parliament referendum was unveiled.
Mr Albanese on Thursday morning announced the referendum question would read: “A proposed law to alter the constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve of this proposed alteration?”
He also revealed the amendments which would be embedded into the Constitution, should the referendum be successful.
Speaking shortly after the Prime Minister’s announcement, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton demanded the release of the Solicitor-General’s advice, flagging there were “concerns about these very words”.
“I think it’s absolutely essential that the Prime Minister releases the Solicitor-General’s advice,” he said.
“The Prime Minister owes it to the Australian public to release that advice and there’s precedent for it.
“It’s not just millions of Australians who are not Indigenous that want the detail but many Australians of Indigenous heritage also want the detail and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for.”
Despite the latest announcement by the Prime Minister, Mr Dutton reignited calls for more evidence to show how the Voice would improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
“There’s no evidence, in what the Prime Minister has put on the public record so far, as to how that would work and where would the practical outcomes be,” he said.
“I think the detail is required. It’s essential that the Solicitor General’s advice is released and then Australians can make an informed decision.”
Asked what level of detail would then satisfy him, Mr Dutton pointed to a series of questions he’s posed to the Prime Minister.
“I’ve written to the Prime Minister and proposed 15 basic questions pretty common-sense questions that Australians are asking and the Prime Minister hasn’t responded to the detail even to this very day,” he said.
“I think it is incumbent upon the Prime Minister to explain to the Australian public if you’re proposing a very significant change to our founding document, how it will provide outcomes for Indigenous Australians?
“And if you can’t provide that detail then he needs to explain why.”
The proposed amendments that would be added into the Constitution if the referendum is successful will be:
- 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 the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth 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 matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.
Australians are expected to head to the polls between October and December for the first referendum since 1999.
News Source: www.skynews.com.au