Indigenous Voice to Parliament: Pat Anderson says advisory body will ‘share power’ with parliament – and putting it in the constitution means lawmakers will be ‘forced to listen’ to their demands
One of the architects of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament has been summoned for claiming that the advisory body that would follow a successful ‘Yes’ vote would ‘share power with parliament’.
The claims about the real power of the Voice are made in an interview between human rights lawyer Pat Anderson, following an interview with Luke Whitington of the Search Foundation.
The video resurfaced Thursday when it was posted to Twitter by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.
In the June 2022 interview, Ms Anderson says there has been a lack of progress on Indigenous issues ‘since the first boats’ brought settlers to Australia on January 26, 1788.
“That’s why we need the Voice, to manage and be in control, so that we can exercise true self-determination,” she said.
“And this time we shall… have the authority and the power, sharing the power with the parliament of the day.”
She also rejected claims that the Voice will be just an “advisory body,” saying that including it in the constitution means lawmakers will be “forced” to listen to their demands.
“Are we going to sit back and wait for them to ask us (what we’re worried about)? Of course not! We’re going to say, these are our problems, these are our priorities, this is what needs to be done now.
Ms. Anderson was then asked if the vote was the first step in a sequence.
A Voice to Parliament is just one part of the Uluru Statement from the Heart – which was drafted in 2017.
If Australians vote later this year in a referendum to enshrine the Indigenous advisory vote in the constitution, a special committee, known by the Aboriginal word ‘Makarrata’, will be the next step.
The Makarrata Commission would seek a treaty between the federal government and the First Nations community.
Ms. Anderson said that “someone has to take charge of the Makarrata” and that the Makarrata “and the truth” went together.
But she said a Makarrata could be established at any time, but the government could abolish it without the Voice in the Constitution.
“We need the authority we get from the Constitution to have our own voice so we can do the next bit…
“That’s the whole point of including it in the Constitution. They are forced to listen to us, forced to involve us.’
Ms Anderson said if the referendum passes, “We (the indigenous people) want to work out its role and function so that we can manage the affairs of the Voice and also set up Makarrata and come to a treaty.”
“We want to lead the conversation,” she said.
The activist acknowledged that many indigenous peoples are annoyed by the use of the word advisory.
“I know why they say that, because (it may mean) they don’t have to listen to you at all.
Ms Anderson said there has been a lack of progress on Indigenous issues ‘since the first boats’ brought settlers to Australia – an event which took place in January 1788.
Ms. Anderson was asked if the vote is the first step in a sequence
One of the architects of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament has been summoned for claiming the resulting advisory body would ‘share power with parliament’
“But once it’s in the constitution… they’re obligated by law to listen to us. We’re not going to sit back and wait for them to ask us.
‘Of course not. We’re going to say, ‘These are our problems, these are our priorities, this is what needs to be done now.’
She said passing the referendum, to be held on October 14, would mean Indigenous Australians would no longer have to wait to be invited to contribute to government-level decision-making.
We will be present at the beginning and end of every decision and policy that affects us.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson (pictured) said human rights lawyer Pat Anderson admitted the Voice ‘will not operate as a normal advisory body’
Gone are the days when the nation-state sat at our kitchen table, with its legs under the table, interfering and intruding into all aspects of our lives.
“Those days are over now,” she said.
Ms Hanson also had a message for the Prime Minister, writing: ‘Anthony Albanese told Ally Langdon on @ACurrentAffair9 that #VoiceToParliament was ‘just an advisory body’.’
She said Ms. Anderson’s interview proved that is not the case. “Still, Albanese claims that the Voice is just a powerless ‘advisory body’.”