News that polling has been done that shows strong support for an Aboriginal "voice" to Parliament makes a mockery of the Government's claim that such a proposal would not get popular support, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues said today.
"At Estimates last Friday I asked Minister Scullion how he and his colleagues had arrived at the opinion that the Australian people would reject a referendum on constitutional reform for a ‘voice” to Parliament.
"Minister Scullion told the committee that this was a decision that the Government had come to. He said they had done no polling themselves and obviously hadn't looked for what had been done. How or why they had reached this decision is impossible to understand given there was no basis for it.
"With news today that a survey in August of more than 1500 people across Australia for the University of NSW and Griffith University, found strong support from voters across the political spectrum for a “voice” to Parliament, shows just how out of touch this Government is.
"It’s really another insult to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples by this Government. The bottom line is the Government just didn't support a "voice" and are refusing to give Aboriginal people a level of control over decision making over matters affecting their lives.
"Working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community to act on the recommendation of the Referendum Council is not “reckless”, however, ignoring the work and achievements of the Referendum Council is extremely reckless and a lost opportunity for this country.
"It's not the community that “doesn’t want it”, it is this Government that doesn't want a "voice" and they need to rethink their opposition."