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Linda Burney promises release of Indigenous Voice details before referendum

Tom Zaunmayr -

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney has slapped down suggestions Australians will be asked to support a constitutionally-enshrined Voice to Parliament without knowing the details.

Her comments come as Yolngu Elder and independent Territory MP Yiniya Mark Guyula says his people are ready for a Voice, but that Treaty also needed to be progressed.

Speaking on ABC's Q&A hosted at Garma Festival in Arnhem Land on Monday night, Ms Burney said it would be "nuts" not to give Australians the details before going to an expected referendum next year.

"What we are talking about here is a permanent Voice that no government, like they did to ATSIC, can be got rid of," she said.

"The design of the Voice will happen after respectful consultation with First Nations people and with the Australian community and across the Parliament.

"It won't be me deciding - that would be so wrong - it wont be the Prime Minister deciding, it will be people we consult with and build a consensus with.

"There will be a lot of information to the community about what people are voting on."

Concerns were raised during the broadcast about the lack of consultation and understanding of the Voice.

When the live audience was asked - a large portion of whom were Indigenous - who had a good understanding of how the Voice would work, fewer than half raised their hands.

Mr Guyula said Yolngu communities had not been properly consulted but, after nearly 30 years waiting for Treaty, were ready for change.

"They wont understand, people in communities, simply because there is no proper consultation going on around Aboriginal communities and homelands around here," he said.

"My people here in East Arnhem Land and in the Yolngu region we have been ready for a long time.

"I know very well people in East Arnhem Land... we are ready for this one."

Fellow panellist and Country Liberal Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price said she was unlikely to support the Voice, describing it as another layer of the bureaucracy which had driven Indigenous misery.

"It also suggests that as Indigenous Australians we are always going to be marginalised and always going to need something like this," she said.

"We can all get on board with recognition but I dont trust a bureaucracy to be enshrined in our constitution."

Uluru Statement From the Heart director Dean Parkin said the proposed model would ensure community people's voices would be heard in Canberra.

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