The National Party will not support the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, claiming it will do little to help First Nations people.
Nationals leader David Littleproud declared the regional party’s position standing alongside Aboriginal senator Jacinta Price at Parliament House on Monday.
Mr Littleproud said his party spoke with indigenous leaders and claimed the Voice would not help close the gap between First Nations and white Australians.
‘We believe empowering local indigenous communities, giving them the power at a local level, not creating another layer of bureaucracy here in Canberra,’ he said.
‘This is not a voice for regional, rural and remote Australians. This is one for those who live in Redfern, they’ll be OK.
David Littleproud declared the National Party would not support the Indigenous Voice to Parliament standing alongside Aboriginal senator Jacinta Price at Parliament House
‘But just think about those Indigenous Australians that live in Central Australia. They’re not going to have a voice out of this, they’ll have another layer of bureaucracy that won’t shift the dial of the legacy we get to leave.’
Mr Littleproud said he instead wanted to give rural indigenous communities the opportunities those in the cities enjoyed every day.
Senator Price slammed Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney for visiting remote communities ‘dripping in Gucci’ and telling them ‘what they need’.
‘We have to stop dividing this nation on the lines of race. We will not be supporting a failed model,’ she said.
‘It’s not racist to disagree with a proposal… that lacks detail and divides us on the lines of race.
‘Yes, there is goodwill, there is immense goodwill from Indigenous Australians in this country… what we need now is practical measures, not an idea that lacks complete and utter detail and based on emotional blackmail.’
Senator Price slammed Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney for visiting remote communities ‘dripping in Gucci’ and telling them ‘what they need’
The Nationals will not, as a party, actively oppose the Voice and instead leave it up to individual MPs to represent their constituents.
‘Jacinta [Price] will take a national position and profile in articulating a case. I will be making sure that my community, as I’ve rung many and tragically, some of them don’t even know what the Voice is,’ Mr Littleproud said.
‘We are this far down the path and traditional owners in Western Queensland some of them have no idea – it means nothing to them, it won’t help them.’
Senator Price said she hoped Australians would vote against a referendum to establish the Voice if one was called.
‘This Voice model is about empowering the elites to demand a transfer of power, and nothing more than that,’ she said.
‘This Voice model is not recognition, let’s not get the two confused here, this is an entire bureaucratic country we don’t have details on.’
Senator Price said she and other Nationals MPs spoke to indigenous communities about the Voice and claimed they ‘didn’t want more division’ in Australia.
‘We are part of a liberal democratic Australia. And one of our fundamental principles is that we are all regarded as equal under the law. Despite race, despite gender despite anything else,’ she said.
‘Why should I as an indigenous Australian be governed under a separate entity than the rest of Australia because of my race?’
The Indigenous Voice as it is proposed is a strictly advisory body giving insight and advocacy to all levels of government, and does not do any ‘governing’.
Senator Price said she spoke to indigenous Australians in her electorate of the Northern Territory, many of whom did not speak English as their first language, and found many were unaware of the Voice.
‘[They] are living their day to day worrying about how they’re not going to encounter violence in their lives,’ she said.
‘Worrying about how they’re going to manage their affairs without humbug from their relatives who are dealing with alcohol and substance abuse, worrying about ensuring that their kids are actually going to get to school because now their remote communities are overcome with alcohol fueled violence.
‘These are the issues that people are concerned with now they’re not sitting around waiting for a proposal to come up with details as to how it’s going to improve their lives.
‘We are here to serve Australian citizens of all backgrounds and it is not right to divide us along the lines of race especially within our Australian founding document.’
More to come.