The legislation to set up the referendum on enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution has passed the House of Representatives. Source: ABC News.
The bill still needs to be dealt with by the Senate, which is likely next month, before the Albanese Government sets a date for the poll later this year.
The final vote in the lower house was 121 in favour of the bill and 25 against — with the Nationals and a handful of Liberal MPs voting to block the referendum going ahead.
The Liberals were not prepared to stand in the way of the referendum going ahead, despite their broad opposition to the proposed change to the constitution.
However, some Liberal MPs needed to vote against the bill to ensure the party had representation on the committee which will draft the formal No campaign’s material in a pamphlet to be distributed to households.
Other Liberals, including Tasmanian backbencher Bridget Archer, have publicly backed the referendum proposal.
Ahead of the final vote, former shadow minister for Indigenous Australians Julian Leeser proposed amendments to “improve the referendum’s chance of success at the ballot box”.
Mr Leeser, who quit the Liberal frontbench to back the Voice, wanted references to the Voice advising “executive government” removed from the proposal put to the Australian public.
While praising Mr Leeser’s support of the Voice, the Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said they were “neither necessary nor desirable”.
The legislation will now be debated in the Senate, which is next due to sit in June.
Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum bill passes lower house (By Matthew Doran, ABC News)