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Three former Liberal Indigenous affairs ministers unite in support of the Voice

Giovanni Torre -

Three former Liberal Indigenous affairs ministers have thrown their support behind a constitutionally enshrined national Voice to Parliament.

Ian Viner, Fred Chaney and Peter Baume, who all served in the Indigenous affairs portfolio under Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser in the 1970s and '80s, issued a brief joint statement: "We support Ken Wyatt and ­Julian Leeser and intend to vote 'yes' in the referendum."

They join former Liberal Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt and former shadow minister in the portfolio, Julian Leeser, in rejecting Peter Dutton's position and backing Constitutional reform to establish a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative body to parliament.

Mr Wyatt had long urged his former colleagues to read the detailed reports produced on the proposal, and to support the Voice. He resigned from the Liberal Party earlier this month over the federal parliamentary party's decision to oppose the Voice.

Last week Mr Leeser resigned from the Opposition front bench and announced he would campaign for the Voice.

The only Liberal Premier in Australia, Tasmania's Jeremy Rockliff, and the leaders of the Western Australian Liberal and National parties have also broken ranks with Peter Dutton over his rejection of a Voice to Parliament.

Mr Chaney, who held the Indigenous affairs portfolio from 1978-1980, told The Australian he ­believed the concerns over the ­inclusion of "executive government" in the Constitutional amendment were exaggerated.

"It reminds me of the concerns after the Mabo decision that we were all going to lose our backyards," he said.

"I think we should start listening to Aboriginal ­people more keenly in the future than we have in the past."

Earlier this month he described the Liberal Party's opposition to the Voice as "sad and pathetic", and in March said the case against the Voice was "largely rubbish".

Prime Minister Albanese will speak in Hobart on Tuesday at the launch of ultra-marathon runner and former Liberal MP Pat Farmer's bid to run 14,4000km around Australia to raise awareness and support for the voice.

It is understood Mr Albanese will say Australians everywhere are responding to the "gracious, generous, patient invitation" of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

"It's why I have always been optimistic about this referendum because I've always been optimistic about the generosity of the Australian people."

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