Photo: Photographer Aaron Bunch/AAP
Prof Marcia Langton, one of the senior members of the Indigenous Voice for Parliament working group, has launched an attack on opponents’ “relentless fear campaign” and urged the government to “pacify” voters by supporting the voice design Report.
Langton has urged the Albanian government to endorse the report as a basis for parliamentary processes and post-referendum public consultations. The report details how a national language model would work.
The government has repeatedly referred to the report as a source of useful details on how the voice might work, but has not fully backed it.
Langton spoke after Northern Territory Country Liberal Party President Lawson Broad announced he was resigning over the party’s opposition to the vote.
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Broad said of the CLP’s opposition to a constitutional advisory body:
“My personal view is that these positions are offensive to a large number of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and to the population in general,” Broad told Sky News on Monday.
“They inherently have the potential to further entrench Aboriginal disadvantage and create opportunities for being interpreted as racist,” he said.
Prof Langton said that with Broad’s resignation the “realpolitik” of rural and remote regions, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations are in the majority and are most disadvantaged, has become clear.
“Politicians who know and understand the Indigenous peoples of their constituency know that the vote makes sense and that it is the unique solution to decades of appalling Indigenous policies and appalling government inaction that, by and large, are worsening outcomes for our people has. ‘ Langton said.
Langton said she and the design group’s co-chair, Prof Tom Calma, “received great encouragement from many who represent large Indigenous communities” and who “had more experience in Parliament than Senator Jacinta Price or Senator Lidia Thorpe”.
She said the No campaign was a “rabble” with little experience in developing policy and legislation.
“I know from the voice co-design consultations that the vast majority of indigenous people support our model. There are calls for details as our final report has been sent twice to the previous government’s cabinet and remains publicly available online,” she said.
Prepared by Prof. Langton and Prof. Tom Calma for the previous government, the report was the result of 18 months of consultation with 9,478 people and organizations, including 115 community consultations in 67 locations, 2,978 submissions, 1,127 surveys, 124 stakeholder meetings and 13 webinars.
“The sensible approach for the current government is to endorse our report as a basis for parliamentary processes and public consultations after the referendum. There are no other rigorously engineered models available, just thought bubbles,” Langton said.
“I believe most Australians will vote for the Voice, but voters deserve reassurance that this Government will view our Voice Co-Design Report as a well-informed, sound basis for further legislative development of the final Voice model “, she said.
“It would be tragic if the referendum were defeated because of the unrelenting campaign of fear by people who clearly do not understand the magnitude of the tragedy we are addressing and many of whom do not care about the lives of Indigenous Australians,” she said.
Attorney General Mark Dreyfus has requested comment.