Politics

Budget’s $32 million a welcome step forward for Indigenous Voice: Langton


Labor spokeswoman for Indigenous Australians, Wiradjuri woman Linda Burney, said the government was not serious about the process.

“The simple fact is the government promised to implement a Voice to Parliament this term, and they failed … a government committed to the Voice would have tried to pass legislation to support their own local Voice process,” she said.

Ms Burney also raised concerns over the lack of funding assigned to the Voice over the coming years in the budget, with the only funding commitment for the 2022-23 financial year.

“Indigenous Australians can see this budget and the spending measures in it for what they are. They know that promises from this government don’t mean anything, and that this budget is purely about getting the government through the election,” she said.

Torres Strait Islander man Thomas Mayor, an advocate for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and Indigenous officer at the Maritime Union of Australia, argued the lack of funding committed towards a national Voice showed a failure of vision from the government.

“We’re only talking about … one year for a local and regional voice, it misses the mark by a long way,” he said.

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“It’s no good talking about those layers of representation if we’re not talking about what the Uluru Statement was really focussed on, which is those layers but in addition and importantly a Voice to the Federal Parliament.”

He urged the government to enshrine a Voice to Parliament in the constitution, rather than just legislating bodies. Labor has committed to holding a referendum on the issue.

Tuesday’s budget also outlined $160 million in contingency reserves for an Indigenous Recognition Referendum.

The contingency reserve is an allowance that reflects anticipated events and can only be drawn upon once they’ve been appropriated by Parliament.

A referendum on the issue has been a policy of both major parties since 2007, but it has remained a divisive issue in the Coalition party room.

Mr Wyatt was contacted for comment.



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