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Ken Wyatt resigns from Liberal Party over Dutton's opposition to Indigenous Voice

Giovanni Torre -

Former Liberal Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, announced his resignation from the Liberal Party on Thursday in response to the federal party's decision to oppose a constitutionally enshrined national Voice to Parliament for Indigenous people.

"I still believe in the Liberal Party values but I don't believe in what the Liberals have become," Mr Wyatt told The West Australian.

"Aboriginal people are reaching out to be heard but the Liberals have rejected their invitation."

Mr Wyatt, who was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the federal House of Representatives in Australian history, has long urged his former party colleagues and coalition colleagues to educate themselves on the role of the Voice and support the historic proposal.

Earlier this week he renewed those calls ahead of Wednesday's special party meeting at which the decision to oppose the Voice was made official.

Last month he said Mr Dutton's tactic of demanding more detail was a "smokescreen".

"I think if Peter was given the answers to the 15 questions in tablet form from Moses, he still would not accept them," he told Guardian Australia.

Mr Wyatt said he believed it would be a mistake "globally" for the Liberals to not support the referendum, adding to a perception the party was "racist", citing incidents he had experienced as a minister in the Morrison government.

He said he was often asked 'How do you cope working in a racist party like yours?' while in government.

In December 2021 Mr Wyatt, then Minister for Indigenous Australians, released a 272-page report on the Indigenous Voice co-design process.

In late November last year Mr Wyatt urged Nationals MPs to read the report after the federal party announced it would oppose the Voice.

More to come.

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