TONY PASIN MP
MEMBER FOR BARKER
ASSISTANT SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT
Australians have voted overwhelmingly against the Prime Minister’s proposal to amend the constitution to establish a ‘Voice to Parliament.’
I acknowledge this definitive result but I’m disappointed that our Nation has been subjected to and divided by this process.
For decades we have enjoyed constructive, open dialogue on matters of indigenous recognition.
Our country was united in the desire to see our first nations people recognised in the constitution and for better outcomes for remote indigenous Australians.
The Prime Minister could have chosen to continue on this constructive path when Labor came to Government last year.
At no point did the Labor Government attempt to seek bipartisan support for their Voice proposal. The Prime Minister refused to convene a Constitutional Convention as is the normal process. He refused to listen to concerns raised by the Coalition or anyone else with an opposing view. At no point were the Australian people given the details of the proposal, nor were we told how it would make a difference to Aboriginal Australians and failure to do so is reflected in the results.
The Prime Minister spent $364 million on a Referendum without making any attempt to ensure it had bipartisan support as the 1967 referendum did. Nor did the Prime Minister withdraw when it was clear it lacked support and would only achieve division.
The Prime Minister puts his shallow interest in front of the national interest and in so doing he has damaged Australia’s cultural cohesiveness.
We will now work to heal the hurt occasioned by this process by working constructively to ensure, lasting and meaningful improvements are made for our most disadvantaged Australians.
It’s time for leadership to bring the Nation together, united in this cause and the path to reconciliation.
At the same time, we must address the cost of living crisis affecting all Australians that has been left to escalate while the Prime Minister has been focused on his poorly executed divisive Referendum.
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