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Queensland Premier backs Voice to Parliament

Teisha Cloos -

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has publicised her backing of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament but says more work needs to be done.

Ms Palaszczuk has said she backs the proposal from the Uluru Statement from the Heart on the need for more Indigenous voices in Parliament, but more work needs to be done to determine if the Voice should be enshrined in the Constitution.

"I am supportive of an Indigenous Voice in the Federal Parliament,'' Ms Palaszczuk said in a statement.

"It is crucial that we continue to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders in developing and refining Indigenous voice models and, ultimately, selecting a preferred model for Queensland."

The push for a First Nations Voice to Parliament has been in focus since 2015 and was endorsed by the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017, with a particular spotlight on having the voice enshrined in the Constitution.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also showed her support for the Uluru Statement earlier this month at an event at Berkelouw Books in Sydney, saying it is the centrepiece of Reconciliation.

"This is an issue all of us should be united on," Ms Berejiklian said.

"This is crucial when many of the proposed reforms today require constitutional change and a vote by referendum. We know that the heart of liberalism is that every individual, irrespective of their background, should have the opportunity to be their best and reach their full potential."

Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg recently launched his book, Buraadja: The Liberal Case For National Reconciliation, and encourages his colleagues to join a campaign for the Federal Government to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament via referendum in the next term of Parliament.

Senator Bragg said the Constitution should make reference to the 60,000 years-plus of Indigenous occupation and needs support from the non-Indigenous community which makes up 97 per cent of Australia.

"I believe this should include an obligation on the Commonwealth to engage with Indigenous people, an obligation to ensure Indigenous voices are heard, especially as we make special laws," Senator Bragg said.

"This doesn't mean speaking for Indigenous people; we have made that mistake for 250 years."

Professor Doctor Marcia Langton AO and Tom Calma AO are leading the co-design panel for the Voice and will give their final recommendation to Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt next month.

By Teisha Cloos

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