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Senator to outline 'hard truths' on reconciliation

Maeve Bannister -

Independent senator Lidia Thorpe plans to reveal "hard truths" for Australians about what will be needed for the nation to move forward with reconciliation.

In a speech to the National Press Club on Wednesday, Senator Thorpe will reflect on the history of the Blak Sovereign Movement, explain why she thinks the upcoming referendum is not a step in the right direction and propose an alternative.

"I'll take people on a bit of a journey so that we can educate on the effects of invasion, particularly, deaths in custody, removal of children, the destruction of land and water - they are all effects of genocide and invasion of this country," she told ABC radio.

"I think hard truths need to be told and people in this country should accept what is going on so that we can move forward together."

A referendum on an Indigenous voice is expected to be held in October.

If the referendum is successful, the voice would provide advice to government about matters that affect Indigenous Australians.

Senator Thorpe quit the Greens due to her opposition to the proposed voice, but confirmed she would not actively campaign for a 'no' vote in the lead up to the referendum.

"I'm investing in campaigning on a way forward, which is the alternate way than what the voice is proposing and that is peace and treaty," she said.

"We just want peace and we want justice, we don't want a powerless voice.

"I feel like we're being conned, we're being set up and it's not good enough ... 230 years and they give us a voiceless, powerless advisory body that has parliamentary supremacy over it at all times."

Senator Thorpe said grassroots communities and the Blak Sovereign Movement had been excluded from talks on the voice proposal.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the referendum was an opportunity to unite the nation.

"If we keep doing the same thing we should expect the same outcomes and the truth is the outcomes aren't good enough," he told Triple M Hobart.

"We know that when we have listened to Indigenous Australians about matters that affect them we've got better outcomes, so that's what this is about."

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the voice will not produce the positive outcomes needed for Indigenous communities.

"People are rightly forming a judgement that they'll vote 'no' and I hope that they do because it will change forever our system of government," he told 2GB on Wednesday.

"It will give rise to a 20 to 30 year process for the treaty ... which will be lawyers sitting around tables in Sydney and Melbourne at the cost of billions of dollars for decades to come."

Maeve Bannister - AAP


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