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Australian Greens table minority report to Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 29 Nov 2018

The Australian Greens have tabled a minority report to the final report of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

"We have sought through the years of discussion on constitutional recognition to get multiparty support for constitutional recognition in a form that is supported by First Nations Peoples and capable of being supported by an overwhelming majority of Australians.

"Through this committee process we have worked for consensus. However, we are unable to achieve consensus at this point and consider it is important to remark on the issues where there are points of difference.

"We disagree that the design of the Voice should come first and are disappointed that the majority report is unable even to agree to support constitutional entrenchment of the Voice despite the clear support by First Nations Peoples for the Voice and constitutional change.

“The Greens do not agree that the design of the Voice should be finalised prior to a referendum on the concept itself and neither does the submission from the First Nations representatives of the former Referendum Council. It is clear from their submission that they support the development of a process for the design of the Voice – but not the design itself – prior to a referendum.

“No constitutionally-mandated institution exists where the legislation has preceded the creation of the power. For example, the establishment of the High Court of Australia. Why would the establishment of the Voice be the one exercise of a power where the institution will be created prior to the power?

“The Joint Select Committee heard that there is strong support in First Nations’ communities for the Voice. 

“The Greens wholeheartedly support the establishment of a constitutionally-enshrined Voice to Parliament.  It is a critically important means of ensuring that First Nations Peoples have a voice in decisions that affect them, and a significant say in their future. 

"The Australian Greens call on the Government, Opposition and crossbench to work together with First Nations Peoples and the community to enshrine a Voice to Parliament as soon as possible."

The reports are available on the committee website

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