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Human Rights Commission welcomes Voice Bill

Giovanni Torre -

The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomed the introduction of the key Indigenous Voice to Parliament legislation to the federal parliament.

On Thursday Commission President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, said the proposal for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament is consistent with human rights and Australia's duties under international law.

"The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomes the Federal Government's introduction of Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 to parliament. The Bill sets out the proposed wording in the constitution for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament," she said.

"As Australia's National Human Rights Institution, the Commission considers the proposal for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament to be consistent with fundamental human rights principles, and with international human rights conventions that Australia has endorsed.

"There is clear international guidance that establishing representative structures to support self-determination and representation for Indigenous peoples is necessary to prevent and overcome discrimination."

Professor Croucher noted that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have "unique and inherent rights" that arise from their distinct status as Australia's First Peoples.

"The proposal for a Voice is consistent with the realisation of these rights, and with the rights of all Australians," she said.

The Human Rights Commission president's statement came after Morrison government appointee to the Commission and former Liberal Students activist Lorraine Finlay claimed the Voice "undermines the foundational human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination".

Ms Finlay was appointed to the Human Rights Commission by the Liberal-National government in 2021 without an open selection process, drawing widespread criticism.

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