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Uluru Dialogue says Liberal position "ignores majority of First Nations Peoples"

Emma Ruben -

The Uluru Dialogue have expressed their disappointment at the Liberal Party's decision to oppose the Voice at the upcoming referendum.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton confirmed the party will campaign for the "no" case against a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

Uluru Dialogue co-chair Pat Anderson said the Uluru Statement from the Heart was an invitation to the Australian people, not politicians or any one party.

"After 12 years, seven processes and ten reports, the Liberal Party have made a decision to campaign for a 'no' vote," Ms Anderson said.

"This ignores the majority of First Nations Peoples at the grassroots across the country, ignores the months of work done by three referendum working groups to ensure the wording is sound, and ignores the majority view of their own constituents."

While Mr Dutton said the Liberal Party would not support a constitutionally enshrined Voice, the party's view is local and regional Voice bodies, operating without the protection of the constitution, would be a better way for Indigenous people to interact with government.

Ms Anderson said this was a vote for Canberra bureaucrats.

"Their decision is a vote for business as usual. It is a vote for the domination of Canberra politicians and Canberra bureaucrats in the lives of grassroots communities," she said.

"It seeks to entrench the status quo which is failing our people.

"Legislative bodies have come and gone, only constitutional enshrinement will guarantee First Nations Peoples will have an enduring say and ultimately improve First Nations lives."

Ms Anderson noted according to an Ipsos survey in January of this year, 80 per cent of First Nations people support the Voice.

During his press conference, 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.

Despite the Liberal Party's stance, Ms Anderson said the Uluru Dialogue will not be deterred.


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