‘Why?’: Labor’s Jenny McAllister and Liberal’s Jane Hume butt heads over Voice to Parliament weeks out from referendum

‘Why?’: Labor’s Jenny McAllister and Liberal’s Jane Hume butt heads over Voice to Parliament weeks out from referendum
  • PublishedSeptember 15, 2023

A Labor and Liberal Senator faced off in a debate over the Voice to Parliament as the latest polling showed the referendum is likely to fail.

Labor’s assistant climate and energy minister Jenny McAllister and Liberal’s shadow finance minister Jane Hume appeared on Sky News Australia on Thursday to debate whether the Voice will pass.

Ms McAllister said Labor was “not planning for it to fail” but instead “working for it to win”.

“The reason that we’re doing that is because we know we can get better results if we listen to people… We’re focused now on ensuring that the Voice does succeed,” she said.  

Labor’s assistant climate and energy minister Jenny McAllister said the Voice proposal was "intuitively sensible". Picture: Sky News Australia

Labor’s assistant climate and energy minister Jenny McAllister said the Voice proposal was “intuitively sensible”. Picture: Sky News Australia

Ms Hume argued the Voice could fail based on its implementation through constitution rather than legislation.

“You’re right Jen, we do make better decisions when we listen to people but why is this the only way we can listen to people,” she said.

“Why is that a constitutional change that is as radical as the Voice proposal is the only way to listen to people and don’t you feel that maybe you have sacrificed the opportunity for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians by attaching the Voice to that?”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton earlier this month announced, if the Voice fails and he is voted in next federal election, he will take Australia through a second referendum for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The pledge drew criticism from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who said the Opposition wanted to see Indigenous Australians but not listen to them.

No one is asking for a second referendum,” he said in parliament last week.

Ms McAllister defended the Voice proposal, declaring it as “intuitively sensitive”.

“To go back to some of Jane’s earlier remarks, the reason that this is the proposition that we are pursuing is because this is the proposition that has been worked up over a long period of consultation,” she said.

“It comes from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the ground who discussed how they wanted to be recognised and the answer was through a Voice to Parliament and the Executive that can make a practical difference.”

Australians are four weeks out from voting on whether to enshrine an independent advisory body into the constitution on October 14.

The body, comprised of Indigenous Australians, would advise the government on matters and policies affecting them. Mr Albanese reiterated on Thursday the Voice would not have veto powers. 

The latest polling showed national support dropped again in its fifth consecutive month from 46 per cent to 43 per cent, according to SMH’s survey results published on Monday. Meanwhile the No vote has grown from 54 per cent to 57 per cent. 

On referendum day, voters will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a single question.

The question on the ballot paper will be: “A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”

SOURCE: SKYNEWS

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