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Fr Frank Brennan SJ (Facebook)

Jesuit priest and author Frank Brennan has told a joint select committee the Indigenous Voice should be able to advise executive government via ministers only. Source: The Australian.

Words of the proposed amend­ment agreed to by the Albanese government and Indigenous leaders in the referendum working group on March 22 include that the “Voice may make representations to the parliament and the executive government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”.

Father Brennan, a long-time participant in the public discourse on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, has made his suggested change as the joint select committee on the Voice prepares to begin public hearings today.

“Process and wording matter if we are to get to ‘Yes’ as resoundingly as possible,” Father Brennan writes in his submission.

“For that reason, I urge the committee to recommend that the words ‘executive government’ be replaced with ‘ministers of state’.”

However, two constitutional experts who advised Indigenous leaders on the voice question and amendment – George Williams and Anne Twomey – have written to the parliamentary inquiry giving reasons why the amendment is sound in its current form.

Professor Twomey says the amendment is worded in such a way that parliament can decide how the Voice’s advice is received.

Professor Williams writes in his submission that the proposed voice amendment strikes “an ­appropriate balance between establishing the constitutional param­eters of the body while leaving key design features to parliament”.


Voice should advise ministers only, says Frank Brennan (By Paige Taylor, The Australian)