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Liberals formally oppose constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament

Callan Morse -

Opposition leader Peter Dutton has confirmed the Liberal Party will campaign for the "no" case against the national Voice to Parliament.

The position was determined following a more than two hour party room meeting, where the Liberals formalised their opposition to a constitutionally enshrined Voice to the Parliament and executive government.

Although showing bipartisan support in recognising First Nations Australians in the constitution, Mr Dutton said he and his party did not believe a constitutionally enshrined national Voice was in the best interest of Indigenous Australians.

"We want to make sure that we can get the best possible outcomes for Indigenous Australians," Mr Dutton claimed.

"We do that through recognising Indigenous Australians in the constitution and by providing for their say, their voice to be heard by government, in a very clear way but at a local level."

During the press conference, Mr Dutton made it clear the Liberal party did not support a constitutionally enshrined Voice.

Instead, he said the Liberal Party's position is that legislated local and regional Voice bodies would be a better way for Indigenous Australians to interact with government, rather than a national Voice enshrined in the constitution.

"Having a Canberra Voice is not going to resolve the issues on the ground in indigenous communities," Mr Dutton said.

"We went to the last election with local and regional voices, that is essentially the policy we continue on with, it has been well worked through."

Deputy opposition leader Sussan Ley denied the Liberal Party's position was a "no" stance, instead stating it was a "day of many yeses".

"Yes to constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, yes to local and regional voices, yes to better outcomes for Indigenous Australians," Ms Ley said.

Mr Dutton confirmed that unlike previous referendums, Liberal frontbenchers who support the government's current Voice proposal will be required to vote along party lines or resign from the shadow cabinet.

However Liberal backbenchers will be allowed a conscience vote, meaning the party will not prevent party members including Andrew Bragg and Bridget Archer from campaigning and voting for the "yes" vote.

More to come.


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