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MPs calling for Voice details are the ones who will determine the details, says Noel Pearson

Dechlan Brennan -

Indigenous leader Noel Pearson has labelled politicians' calls for more details on the Voice to Parliament a "furphy," arguing that it would be those very MPs who would be responsible for designing the body after the referendum.

The Cape York leader and architect for the voice was speaking at a Yes23 event at Beercroft in Sydney's north on Saturday.

He said the Voice give advice on "collective issues" facing Indigenous Australians - "Not on submarines, not on parking tickets, not on all the crazy things suggested over the last six months."

Mr Pearson was appearing alongside Liberal MP and long-time voice supporter Julian Leeser, who represents the local electorate of Berowra. It comes as Liberal MP Sussan Ley repeated the federal Opposition's call for more detail on the voice.

He said that whilst he had his own ideas about how the voice should function, the proposed constitutional amendments would leave it up to parliament to design its composition, powers, and function.

"We've done a lot of work on the detail, but they can only ever be proposals… If a parliamentarian is asking where's the detail, he's being disingenuous, because he knows it's his or her job to supply the detail," Mr Pearson noted.

"I can have an idea about what should be in it, but I'm not a parliamentarian. The whole thing about the detail is a furphy."

On Sunday, Ms Ley told the ABC Insiders programme that the government is unable to explain the Voice.

Arguing that a constitutionally enshrined voice would be "risky" and slow down the processes of government, she dismissed the views of constitutional experts, including former high court chief justice Robert French, barrister Bret Walker SC and constitutional academic Anne Twomey, who have rejected those concerns.

"Constitutional experts have their place; ordinary Australians and their views also have their place. And by the way, this is a debate that needs to be between ordinary Australians," Ms Ley said.

"The reach and influence of the voice and the way that it would entrench bureaucracy and slow down decision-making, that's what concerns me."

This has previously been rejected by solicitor general, Stephen Donaghue, in legal advice he gave on the Voice.

Mr Pearson said campaigners for the yes vote still had time to make the case for change to voters, despite polls saying it had declined nationwide. He suggested the referendum would be a contest between Australia's "better angels" and "dark evils".

He conceded that whilst some supporters may feel "fears and anxieties," he remained optimistic.

"This is no time for doubt. This is a time for faith in the Australian people.

"This is a battle between dark angels, dark devils, and better angels. We've got to find the better angels in our community … we've got a long time; we've got three months."

Talking to Sky News on Sunday, Mr Pearson said that the campaign for the voice needed to reach more people. He claimed yes campaign polling showed up to 40 per cent of Australians had yet to properly engage with the referendum.

"The yes campaign has got to get out. This is not going to fall into our laps … We need to be at the railway stations, we need to be at the town halls, we need to be meeting people in the malls."


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