Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has ruled out legislating a Voice to Parliament if the referendum is defeated, pledging that he will honour a No vote and the decision of the Australian people. Source: The Australian.
In his most definitive comments to date on the issue, Mr Albanese said that simply legislating a Voice, rather than enshrining the advisory body in the Constitution, was not the outcome Indigenous leaders had asked of the Australian people.
“The Australian people – we are giving them a say,” he told an extended podcast with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell. “The idea that the Australian people vote No and I say, ‘well, that’s OK, thanks very much for participating in the referendum, we are going to do it anyway’. No. I won’t do that.”
Mr Albanese made clear there was no point legislating a Voice that could not be enshrined in the Constitution because “that is not what they (Indigenous Australians) have asked for”.
He said putting the Voice in the nation’s foundational document was “such a modest request”.
“What’s happening with the Voice here and this constitutional change is that Indigenous Australians – in spite of what has occurred to them – are putting out their hand in a gesture of friendship and reconciliation and engagement.”
The clarification from Mr Albanese came as Indigenous leader Tom Calma, a Voice co-architect, called out the No campaign for “total inconsistency” after Warren Mundine, one of the leading opponents of the Voice, reaffirmed his ongoing support for the treaty process.
Mr Mundine, a leading a spokesman for the No campaign, told ABC radio on Tuesday he supported “treaties between the First Nations and the Commonwealth” and had done so consistently for the past three decades.
The stance puts him at odds with Peter Dutton, who has warned the treaty process would involve “billions and billions and billions of dollars” and “lawyers sitting round tables in Sydney and Melbourne negotiating this”.
Albanese rules out legislating the Voice if No campaign prevails (By Joe Kelly and Sarah Ison, The Australian)