Anthony Albanese explains what the Indigenous Voice to parliament is and responds to Pauline Hanson

Anthony Albanese reveals if controversial Voice to parliament will include compensation to Indigenous Australians as he slams Pauline Hanson’s ‘apartheid’ claim

  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called out Senator Pauline Hanson ‘disrespect’
  • He said her comments comparing the Voice to the apartheid were ‘disrespectful’
  • Mr Albanese said the proposed Indigenous Voice will ‘be just an advisory group’
  • He said reparations are not part of the proposed historic constitutional change

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the controversial Voice to parliament will ‘be just an advisory group’ as he slammed Pauline Hanson‘s ‘apartheid’ comparison.

Mr Albanese said the proposed change will create an Indigenous body to provide advice to parliament but will not involve compensation to Indigenous groups or create a powerful body ‘above parliament’.

Australia will vote in a referendum on adding the Voice to Parliament to the constitution but Mr Albanese has faced accusations from Senator Hanson that it will give Indigenous people more powers than the non-Indigenous.

The outspoken critic even branded the move as ‘reverse apartheid’.

But the PM has hit back at the attacks and insisted the Voice will have no right of veto over legislation. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (above) said an Indigenous Voice to parliament will 'be just an advisory group' and will not involve any policies regarding repatriation to Indigenous people or groups

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (above) said an Indigenous Voice to parliament will ‘be just an advisory group’ and will not involve any policies regarding repatriation to Indigenous people or groups

‘It is something that is subservient to the parliament,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.

WHAT IS APARTHEID? 

Apartheid was a segregation system used in South Africa between 1948 and 1991.

The system’s laws worked to divide the country by race and advantage a ruling white minority over black Africans.

Apartheid saw black Africans denied civil rights, forced to live in segregated communities and saw them systematically discriminated against in housing and employment.

The system was only overturned after it came under intense international scrutiny. 

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He said Australians should be proud to ‘have the oldest continuous civilisation’ and that adding an official Indigenous advisory group to parliament would see Indigenous people recognised on the ‘nation’s birth certificate’.

‘People should be consulted on matters that affect them, that’s just good manners,’ Mr Albanese said.

He added that the One Nation leader’s comparison of the proposed group to South Africa’s apartheid was ‘disrespectful’.

Senator Hanson has been the leading voice opposing the proposed Voice and referendum change, saying not enough is known about the proposal and that it will only create a racial divide between Australians.

‘I’m confident Australians will resist giving a minority of people more power than the majority based on race,’ she said on Friday. 

‘That sort of thing was known as apartheid and it was rightly consigned to the dustbin of history. How can we possibly be contemplating this in Australia?’

Her comment reiterated the point of her parliamentary speech on Wednesday, in which she said the constitutional change was a power-motivated move. 

Mr Albanese slammed One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's (above) comparison of the Voice to apartheid as 'disrespectful'

Mr Albanese slammed One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s (above) comparison of the Voice to apartheid as ‘disrespectful’

‘The risk is very real that the sovereignty that all Australians have over their land and country will be handed to a racial minority,’ she said.

‘Why does this have to be in the constitution? What is the real ulterior motive? This can only be about power – creating a nation within a nation.

‘This can only be about taking power from whitefellas and giving it to blackfellas. 

‘This is Australia’s version of apartheid.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called for a referendum to change the Australian Constitution and create an Indigenous Voice to parliament

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called for a referendum to change the Australian Constitution and create an Indigenous Voice to parliament 

WHAT IS THE ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART? 

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a 12-paragraph document created and signed by hundreds of Indigenous leaders.

The document calls for ‘constitutional reforms’ that will improve the lives of Indigenous people and recognise their authority.

It was created after a Referendum Council heard 13 First Nations Regional Dialogues supported the idea of a Voice to Parliament in 2015.

Critics of the Statement say it will only provide symbolic change and believe time should be spent focusing on bigger issues, such disparate as violence and poverty in remote Indigenous communities.

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‘Are they prepared for the compensation or reparations which will be demanded when the High Court decides that traditional ownership means sovereign control?’

Senator Hanson’s speech also addressed Indigenous Senator Jacinta Price’s opinion on the constitution change.

Senator Price is the only Indigenous MP who has opposed the Voice on the grounds that the Indigenous community is tired of being ‘symbolically recognised’.

‘No, prime minister, we don’t need another handout… and no, we Indigenous Australians have not come to agreement on this statement,’ Senator Price said. 

‘I think I understand Pauline’s frustrations. We don’t want to see all these all these symbolic gestures. We want to see real action.’ 

She added that the Voice was not universally accepted among the Indigenous community.

Mr Albanese responded to Senator Price’s opposition on Monday, saying the Voice was not symbolic but offered practical solutions. 

‘I think with respect, when Senator Price has a look at what is proposed in terms of the wording, then the idea that this is anything other than a unifying moment for the nation is, I believe just doesn’t stack up,’ he said on Sky News.

Indigenous senator Jacinta Price (above) said the Voice will only be a symbolic gesture, adding: 'We don't need another handout'

Indigenous senator Jacinta Price (above) said the Voice will only be a symbolic gesture, adding: ‘We don’t need another handout’ 

Senator Hanson addressed Mr Albanese’s response in her speech on Wednesday, saying: ‘This comment has come from an Aboriginal woman. The prime minister has dismissed her comments saying, ‘they don’t stack up’.’

‘No. His comments do not stack up. That’s because the prime minister is listening only to the Aboriginal industry, whose gravy train relies on separating Australians by race and entrenching Indigenous disadvantage.

‘I’ve been saying this for decades.’

Senator Hanson also accused the prime minister of holding ‘contempt’ for those opposing the Voice, even First Nations elders.

‘His contempt for those who rightly and justly request details of the proposed voice, such as its powers, functions and costs, has also been very clear,’ she said.

Senator Hanson said the Voice is an 'empty gestures which make progressives feel good' and drives the 'gravy train (that) relies on separating Australians by race and entrenching Indigenous disadvantage'

Senator Hanson said the Voice is an ’empty gestures which make progressives feel good’ and drives the ‘gravy train (that) relies on separating Australians by race and entrenching Indigenous disadvantage’

‘He is not promoting unity at all. The prime minister is deliberately stoking division and stoking it on racial lines.’

Senator Hanson claimed she was contacted by elders who informed her they did not have a say in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, despite the statement being designed to recognise Indigenous voices.

She claims the elders said they do not support the statement. 

Senator Hanson also addressed Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe’s ‘black power’ gesture to parliament on Wednesday by accusing Senator Thorpe of racism.

Senator Hanson also accused Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe (above) of racism, saying: 'She told me to go back to where I came from'

Senator Hanson also accused Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe (above) of racism, saying: ‘She told me to go back to where I came from’

‘I note Lidia Thorpe’s racist interjection in the past when she told me to go back to where I came from,’ Senator Hanson said.

‘She can rest assured that I did, indeed, go back to where I came from – back to Queensland, where I was born and where I raised my children, and where my parents and grandparents were born.

‘There is nowhere else for me to go. Australia is my home. Australia is our home – Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.’

The One Nation leader finished her five-minute-long speech by calling the Voice an excuse for parliament to feel accomplished.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has declared herself the leader of the opposition to the Voice and said she represents several Indigenous elders who do not agree with the Uluru Statement from the Heart

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has declared herself the leader of the opposition to the Voice and said she represents several Indigenous elders who do not agree with the Uluru Statement from the Heart

‘There is much in this proposal that reeks of the empty gestures and symbolism which make progressives feel good about themselves but otherwise achieve nothing,’ she said.

‘It’s also reeking of the disgusting, patronising attitudes that privileged bureaucrats and lawmakers routinely adopt towards Indigenous Australians proud members of a culture which has endured for tens of thousands of years.

‘This is an attempt to rewrite the past, manipulate the present and destroy the future.

‘Unlike both sides of this chamber, I have listened to Indigenous Australians and their elders. Stop using them as fodder for your own purposes.’

Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd chimed in on the debate on Friday to slam former prime minister Tony Abbott’s comments.

Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd weighed in on the debate adding that opposition to the Voice were 'screeching' against 'modest proposals'

Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd weighed in on the debate adding that opposition to the Voice were ‘screeching’ against ‘modest proposals’

‘Although these are modest proposals, we still have congenital bad actors like Tony Abbott screeching that such amendments would “change our system of government” by establishing the Voice as “part of our parliament”, and enable “judicial intervention” to strike down laws,’ he wrote in an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald.

‘On both counts, Abbott is wrong. It speaks volumes that his most trusted Indigenous adviser in government, Noel Pearson of the Cape York Institute, has strongly endorsed Albanese’s proposal. 

‘Like on climate action, Abbott seems determined to stoke anxiety and fear.’

Mr Abbott shared his thoughts on the Voice in an opinion piece for The Australian on Wednesday in which he said the proposed group ‘makes race an element in who can vote and who can stand for election’.

‘A voice to the parliament would not actually be power – unless it turns out to be much more than just an advisory body,’ Mr Abbott wrote.

‘The fundamental issue at the heart of all this is the degree of separation of Australia’s Indigenous people from the wider Australian community.’

THE ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART 

We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart: 

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago. 

This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown. 

How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years? 

With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood. 

Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future. 

These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness. 

We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution. 

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination. 

We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future. 

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