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Indigenous Voice consultation session will be held in Murray Bridge
State Commissioner Dale Agius is coming to hear what Ngarrindjeri and other local people think of plans for a new advisory body.
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An Indigenous Voice to Parliament will soon be established in South Australia.
What should it look like, and how should it work?
Ngarrindjeri and other local people will be able to give their answers to those questions at a consultation session in Murray Bridge next Tuesday.
Dale Agius, state Commissioner for a First Nations Voice, will come to hear what people think.
Like its national counterpart, the state-based “voice” would advise South Australia’s MPs on issues relevant to local Aboriginal people, addressing concerns and suggesting ideas.
Feedback from the session in Murray Bridge, and others to be held around South Australia, will shape the legislation which will create the new body.
“I’m looking forward to speaking to as many people as possible over the coming weeks, as we share information and talk about ideas to how the Voice to Parliament could be established and work to provide better outcomes for Aboriginal people of South Australia,” Mr Agius said.
“This is a historic opportunity for our state and, in particular, South Australian Aboriginal people.
“I expect there will be a range of views and perspectives put forward to help shape future plans.”
That was the case at a similar consultation session in Murray Bridge last year, where some locals were unsure whether Ngarrindjeri needed another representative body, even as others expressed hope.
Next Tuesday’s consultation session will be held at Murray Bridge Town Hall from 10.30am to 12.30pm.
RSVP: Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal MP, Liberal Party members express doubts
Meanwhile, Liberal MP Tony Pasin says he wants to hear more detail about plans for a federal “voice” before offering his opinion.
The federal government had committed to holding a referendum within three years, he noted, but had not yet indicated whether it supported the recommendations of a 2021 report about the proposal.
“I’m not currently persuaded of the merits of change because I haven’t seen any details of what the Labor government’s proposed changes entail,” he said.
“Who will be on this body, how will they be chosen, what functions will they have and, most importantly, how will this body have a direct and positive impact on our First Nations community?
“This will be one of the biggest questions put to the Australian people in more than half a century.
“We need to be informed.”
Liberal Party members in Mr Pasin’s electorate, Barker, reportedly voted not to support either the Voice to Parliament or any treaty with Indigenous Australians at a meeting in July.
The motion was the only one relating to policy which was passed at the meeting, according to minutes seen by Murray Bridge News.
Mr Pasin declined to comment on the vote.
Where did this Voice to Parliament idea come from?
The idea of a Voice to Parliament was one of two key proposals in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a landmark statement about a way forward for reconciliation in Australia, created by representatives of every Indigenous nation in 2017.
The other proposal was to establish a Makarrata Commission, a body which could supervise “truth-telling about our history” and the establishment of agreements between governments and Indigenous peoples.
The Uluru Statement was rejected by the government of the day, under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Current PM Anthony Albanese went to this year’s election with a plan to act upon it at last.
More information: ulurustatement.org.
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