Ministers Linda Burney and Andrew Giles fronted multicultural media today to make a case for the Yes case for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
Ms Burney, Minister for Indigenous Australians, and Mr Giles, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, have actively engaged multicultural communities in what Burney said was only “32 days left in his campaign.”
The Minister for Indigenous Australians emphasised that the proposal came from Aboriginal people and stressed that it was “not an invention of politicians, or anyone else.”
“It was a request from the Uluru Statement in 2017. It is important which was a culmination of regional dialogues.”
Ms Burney said that people have asked for constitutional recognition “so that Governments cannot at a stroke of a pen get rid of advisory bodies.”
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), an advisory body, was disbanded by the John Howard LNP government in 2004.
Ms Burney added that a Voice enshrined in the Constitution was simply an advisory body to the government and the parliament and said: “It is up to the government and the parliament if any advice is accepted.”
“It is an advisory body for issues affecting Indigenous people, like employment, health, education, and housing.”
She underscored the vast discrepancies between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, of which Burney said, “The most egregious discrepancy is the eight-year gap in life expectancy on average in Aboriginal communities.”
“When you break that gap down to some communities, life expectancy is in the 40s.”
Minister Burney said that a Yes vote means Australia can “finally have a constitution” that “reflects the truth.”
“We will finally have a constitution in this country. That reflects the truth, that humans have occupied this land for over 65,000 years.
“Whether you have been in Australia for six days, 16 or 60 years, that is something for all of us to celebrate.”
Neos Kosmos pointed out that as a masthead, it had taken a “unique” editorial approach of supporting the Yes campaign for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament; however, some Greek Australians, those mainly born in Australia now in their 50s and 60s, “not their parents,” are skeptical of the Voice.
The Neos Kosmos journalist went on to relay how, in a discussion with somebody yesterday, he was asked, “Why have a special voice in the Constitution when we’re all equal?”
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs called that a “classic case of dividing people and creating fear employed by the No case.”
“The simplicity of is recognition, within the Constitution of Australia’s extraordinary history and culture.
“Things are not equal; it does not matter what social indicators you chose, whether it’s suicide, education, employment, incarceration.”
“Aboriginal women are 33 times more likely to be hospitalised due to violence, which is not equal,” Ms Burney said.
“Our grandparents, your parents, people of that generation said yes to multiculturalism; people of your and my generation said yes to land rights; surely this generation can say yes to an advisory committee.”
At that moment, the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Mr. Giles, said:
“Your father’s generation made the case for multiculturalism to be built into this nation. That request was made, fought for, and answered, and this is as simple and important.
The Referendum is on October 14, and there will be early polling in some states from October 2 and 3.
The Minister for Multicultural Affairs said that the government translated information for the Yes campaign into 35 languages other than English.
There has been a concerted effort to inform multicultural communities about the Yes position, and a range of town hall meetings and events have been held across Australia to address diverse communities.