We have heard in Estimates this morning that Minister Scullion thought it “most unfortunate” that the cabinet brief on the Referendum Council was leaked.
“What is “most unfortunate” is how this Government has failed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by dismissing the Referendum Council’s recommendation for a Voice to Parliament.
"Before making the decision to dimiss the concept the Government didn't consult or talk to key Aboriginal bodies or representatives, nor go back to the Co-chairs of the Council.
“In Estimates this morning the Government tried to tarnish the Referendum Council by saying the “terms of reference weren’t met”. What utter nonsense.
“To pre-empt failure of something that our First Peoples have been working so hard on for some so many years is a devastating blow and frankly patronising. The Referendum Council undertook extensive consultation and the result was clear and that was reflected in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Council's report.
“This Government hasn’t even bothered to try and measure community feelings or support for a voice to Parliament before ruling it out.
“The Coalition wants to go back to the drawing board and have yet another committee, but claims that the Voice isn't off the agenda.
“It’s just so insulting to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that Mr Turnbull won’t even come out and have a dialogue about this. He just keeps sending out his Ministers to front for him.
“This “judgement” by Mr Turnbull will go down in history as a huge failure and a missed opportunity."