Federal Liberal Party Leader Peter Dutton’s pledge to hold a second referendum into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recognition has drawn criticism from the ‘Yes’ campaign.
Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Mr Dutton pledged if elected a future coalition government will hold a referendum purely on constitutional recognition if this year’s upcoming vote on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament fails to gain national support.
He says the compromise is “right and respectful” and he also supported legislated “regional voices.”
The promise has been rubbished by the ‘Yes’ campaign saying the change won’t save lives and that Mr Dutton hasn’t listened to Indigenous people.
Speaking to Guardian Australia, Nira Illim Bulluk man and Uluru Dialogue representative Marcus Stewart says the proposed referendum will delay progress in closing the gap.
“How long do we have to wait to put this to the Australian people? We know the outcomes in our community now. Our communities on the ground are suffering. We need to do better.
We’ve seen failures by consecutive governments, so kicking the can down the road isn’t what this is about. We need change to happen now.
We have 42 days to potentially wake up to a better country, on the Sunday after the referendum.
Stalling only means the outcomes for our communities are going to get worse. This is urgent. We have to act now.”
Meanwhile a representative from the Liberals for ‘Yes’ campaign Sean Gordon told the ABC the follow up referendum goes against the wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
“We put that position forward to the Australian people, which is a very modest position, stating this is how we want to be recognised within the founding document of the country.
We want a Voice that gives us a greater say in laws, policies and programs that impact us.
For politicians to go out and propose something completely alternate to what Indigenous people asked for clearly speaks to our disempowerment as Indigenous people, when others think that they have a better solution and a better way forward.”
The Referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament will be held on the 14th of October.
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