Monday 17th of June 2024


“The prime minister’s got himself into a very tricky position where he won’t provide the detail and I think millions of Australians expect the detail,” Peter Dutton told Sky News this week.

Dutton was being disingenuous and deliberately so. The Coalition spent nine years in government receiving regular expert reports on how a voice might operate.


Albanese has said all along this is not Labor’s voice. Aboriginal people asked for this form of constitutional recognition in the Uluru statement from the heart. It is not up to the government to be too prescriptive about it, he said.

The referendum draft bill is expected to appear in the next month or so and then we will all have more than enough detail to argue about. But in the interim, the opponents of the voice have stepped into the perceived void of information and had plenty to say, not all of it correct.

So, let’s clear up some very basic points.

The voice to parliament is a formal way for Indigenous Australians to be heard by governments on matters that affect their daily lives.

It would require governments to listen to and consult our preferred representatives, not just speak on our behalf.

Inserting the provision for a voice into the constitution means no government can get rid of it. It may change form over time, but the provision will remain. To put that provision into the constitution, they need your permission. What you are being asked to decide is: do you support a voice to parliament enshrined in the constitution? Yes or no. Beyond your answer to that question, all the detail will be decided by the parliament, including Peter Dutton and his Coalition colleagues.






The first cartoon I posted at top did not represent what Dutton had said. I believe that his intent is to deny an Aboriginal voice in parliament, but I cannot say this. I can only say that he wanted the details which have long been available but Dutton acts as if he wants more details to scuttle the process. Meanwhile Cathy Wilcox, cartoonist at the SMH, puts it succinctly: