Tony Abbott weighs in on Voice to Parliament

The Voice to Parliament would make a “race-based body” part of parliament and fundamentally change government, the former PM has warned.

Ellen Ransley@RansleyEllen

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August 3, 2022 – 9:34AMNCA NewsWire

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Australian public treating issue of Indigenous Voice with ‘a lot of goodwill’Related content

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From the Heart Director Dean Parkin says people in the Australian population are treating the issue of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament with “a lot of goodwill”. “I think we owe it to them as well that we conduct this conversation in a way that takes on the information as it comes and argue the points on its merits and not get too far ahead of ourselves,” he told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

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Former prime minister Tony Abbott has criticised the government’s plan for a constitutional Voice to Parliament, saying it risks deeper separation in the country and weaker governance.

In an opinion piece in The Australian, Mr Abbott said while he was in favour of recognising Indigenous Australians in the constitution, he would draw the line of support at any attempt to make a “race-based body part of our parliament and not if it means changing our system of government”.

His comments have copped criticism from serving government ministers, including Ed Husic, who chastised the Liberal Party on Wednesday.

“If this view is what the current crop of Coalition MPs is gravitating towards, it tells me two things – the hard right is calling the shots and the Coalition hasn’t learned anything from their loss,” he told ABC Radio.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott says a Voice to Parliament would drastically change the way Australian government works. Picture: Torsten Blackwood / AFP

Former prime minister Tony Abbott says a Voice to Parliament would drastically change the way Australian government works. Picture: Torsten Blackwood / AFP

Mr Abbott said a Voice to Parliament would “make race an element” in who can vote and stand for election and would also “unavoidably change” the way Australian government works.

“Because a particular group will have an unspecified say over unspecified topics with unspecified ramifications,” he wrote.

“Good on Anthony Albanese for wanting to do the right thing by Aboriginal people.

“But a Voice to the Parliament would not actually be power – unless it turns out to be much more than just an advisory body.

“If the body really is, in the Prime Minister’s words, to “end 121 years of commonwealth governments arrogantly believing they know enough to impose their own solutions on Aboriginal people”, it’s obviously going to have something approaching a veto over decisions the parliament might otherwise make.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese revealed the question he intends to ask Australians in the Voice to Parliament referendum at the Garma festival on the weekend. Picture: Tamati Smith/Getty Images

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese revealed the question he intends to ask Australians in the Voice to Parliament referendum at the Garma festival on the weekend. Picture

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has criticised the government’s plan for a constitutional Voice to Parliament, saying it risks deeper separation in the country and weaker governance.

In an opinion piece in The Australian, Mr Abbott said while he was in favour of recognising Indigenous Australians in the constitution, he would draw the line of support at any attempt to make a “race-based body part of our parliament and not if it means changing our system of government”.

His comments have copped criticism from serving government ministers, including Ed Husic, who chastised the Liberal Party on Wednesday.

“If this view is what the current crop of Coalition MPs is gravitating towards, it tells me two things – the hard right is calling the shots and the Coalition hasn’t learned anything from their loss,” he told ABC Radio.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott says a Voice to Parliament would drastically change the way Australian government works. Picture: Torsten Blackwood / AFP

Former prime minister Tony Abbott says a Voice to Parliament would drastically change the way Australian government works. Picture: Torsten Blackwood / AFP

Mr Abbott said a Voice to Parliament would “make race an element” in who can vote and stand for election and would also “unavoidably change” the way Australian government works.

“Because a particular group will have an unspecified say over unspecified topics with unspecified ramifications,” he wrote.

“Good on Anthony Albanese for wanting to do the right thing by Aboriginal people.

“But a Voice to the Parliament would not actually be power – unless it turns out to be much more than just an advisory body.

“If the body really is, in the Prime Minister’s words, to “end 121 years of commonwealth governments arrogantly believing they know enough to impose their own solutions on Aboriginal people”, it’s obviously going to have something approaching a veto over decisions the parliament might otherwise make.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese revealed the question he intends to ask Australians in the Voice to Parliament referendum at the Garma festival on the weekend. Picture: Tamati Smith/Getty Images

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese revealed the question he intends to ask Australians in the Voice to Parliament referendum at the Garma festival on the weekend. Picture: Tamati Smith/Getty Images

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and relevant ministers have remained elusive as to what the Voice to Parliament would look like.

There have been calls from independents, Greens, and the Coalition for the government to release more details about the Voice before it goes to referendum next year.

Some critics of the Voice, like Country Liberal Party senator Jacinta Price, say it would do more harm than good – a sentiment echoed by Mr Abbott.

“Everything about the proposed Voice drips with entrenching separatism as an atonement for dispossession even though Indigenous people can never expect to achieve Australian outcomes without also embracing Australian standards,” Mr Abbott wrote.

“The last thing we should do is allow goodwill to cloud judgment and to be morally bullied into becoming a country that’s more divided and less well governed.”

Indigenous Minister Linda Burney has said the government will consult “extensively” on the Voice before the referendum.

“We will consult, we will talk to people and answer the things that people are anxious about,” Ms Burney said on the weekend.

“But I can assure you the way in which we will move is carefully, collaboratively, and bringing people with us. That’s what’s important.”

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I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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