Indigenous Affairs Minister Calls For Pragmatic Approach

Friday, July 12th, 2019

Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt has urged supporters of constitutional recognition for Aborigines to show pragmatism over the contentious voice to parliament issue suggesting that enshrining it in the Constitution would not guarantee its success or survival.

Mr Wyatt said a legislated Voice to Parliament could be a “better way” and warned the failure of a referendum on a constitutionally enshrined body would damage the “psyche” of Aboriginal communities.

After the Prime Minister’s intervention to veto a constitutionally enshrined Voice today, the Indigenous Australians Minister said putting such a body in the Constitution would not ensure its survival.

“I will consider everything put to me but we have to have a pragmatic outcome. A Voice enshrined in the Constitution would run into trouble,” he told ABC radio.

“If the Voice fails in any referendum … then it is folly. We cannot do that, we have to look at practical solutions that realise better outcomes for our people.

“If it fails it would have an impact on our people and an impact on the psyche.”

Mr Wyatt pointed to the demise of the Interstate Commission — a body devoted to interstate trade enshrined in Section 101 of the Constitution that is now defunct because it was subject to legal attacks over its clashes with other Commonwealth powers.

In a landmark speech on Wednesday, Mr Wyatt said the government would consider creating a voice to parliament through legislation but left the door open to enshrining it in the Constitution.



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