Voters eager to support Indigenous Voice to Parliament

The Uluru Statement from the Heart was released on the 26 May 2017. Photo by Joanna Penn used with CC licence 2.0.

Strong support for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament has been found in the ABC’s Vote Compass data.

From a representative sample of 368,097 respondents, 64% of Australians supported changing the Constitution to create an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Only 22% did not support the idea.

The ABC compared these percentages to the vote on same-sex marriage from 2017, saying the support for a Voice to Parliament was higher than the ‘yes’ vote.

In 2017, the Uluru Statement from the Heart was released calling for a representative body to be enshrined in Australia’s constitution to advise policymakers on Indigenous issues.

Increased support puts the issue higher on the political agenda, regardless of the May 18th victors.

“It is vital that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have input when it comes to developing policy which impacts on their communities,” said Law Council of Australia President Arthur Moses SC.

The Labor Party has promised to push forward a referendum on the issue should they win the election, making it clear they will take action to make a Voice to Parliament a reality.

Similarly, The Greens have thrown their full support behind the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Part of their plan for ‘Justice for First Nations Peoples’ involves constitutionally enshrining Voice to Parliament as well as further establishing paths to Treaty for Indigenous Australians.

Data from the ABC’s Vote Compass shows Coalition voters have mixed feelings about a Voice to Parliament, with 38% agreeing it should be amended into the Constitution, 42% disagreeing and 19% remaining neutral.

It appears the Coalition itself also has mixed views on the issue, as they only briefly mentioned supporting the concept in this year’s budget and it is not at the forefront of their election policies.

Mr Moses said the Law Council will stand by Indigenous Australians to advocate for a Voice to Parliament if a referendum occurs after May 18th.

“[A Voice to Parliament] will go some way to developing policies that will actually assist the most disadvantaged in our society and help heal the wounds of colonialism and generational trauma,” Mr Moses said.

“All solutions begin with a conversation. And our history tells us that a conversation cannot be a solution so long as it excludes a First Nations voice.”

By Hannah Cross

 

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