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Voice wording won’t change - Albanese

Callan Morse -

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed the current wording of the constitutional amendment to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament will not change.

It comes as debate on the constitutional alteration bill continued in the nation's capital, with Mr Albanese imploring MPs to support the Indigenous Voice, suggesting it was a simple proposal that would provide meaningful action.

"A Yes vote in this referendum is a chance for all of us to take the next step on the journey of reconciliation, to be counted and to be heard on the right side of history," Mr Albanese told parliament on Thursday.

"For most non-Indigenous Australians, this will make no difference to their lives. But it is an opportunity to make a difference for Indigenous Australians."

In confirming the government would act according to recommendations made by the joint select committee, Mr Albanese said the proposal was backed by years of consultation and was the best possible Voice proposal.

"These design principles are the product of years of hard work, including by members of the referendum working group," he said.

"They also represent years of consultation and dialogue among communities, the more than 1000 meetings that took place in the lead up to the First Nations constitutional convention that was held at Uluru."

"The changes that were made to the Garma draft and agreed to by the referendum working group, were aimed precisely at reinforcing the primacy of this parliament."

Mr Albanese suggested the Liberal Party had "locked themselves into saying no", criticising opposition leader Peter Dutton's second reading speech on the constitutional alteration bill he made earlier in the week.

"In spite of that, the Liberal Party frontbench already locked themselves into saying no, before the committee process that they called for and they said was important, had even commenced its work," Mr Albanese said.

"The leader of the opposition gave a speech in this chamber that is simply unworthy of the alternative prime minister of this nation. Instead of taking the chance to unify there are some that have sought only to divide. Now, clearly, there is no form of words that will satisfy some of the leaders of the 'no' campaign."

He also dismissed the Nationals' long-held position on an enshrined Indigenous Voice.

"The National Party decided say no before the draft questions had even been finalised," the Prime Minister noted.

Defending the current wording, Mr Albanese shot down calls to remove reference to executive government in the proposed amendment.

"Some have suggested that we alter or remove the second clause, specifically the reference to executive government… but the argument put forward is not a legal or a constitutional one," Mr Albanese told the House.

"They are not saying that the Voice should not talk to the executive government, they are just saying that it should not be included in that part in the constitution."

Lower house MPs will continue debating the final form of the bill today, with a vote expected sometime next week before the debate shifts to the senate.

The Indigenous Voice to Parliament bill is set to be finalised next month, ahead of the referendum which will be held sometime between October and December.

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