Australia Labor offers indigenous process support

21:10  30 october  2019
21:10  30 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Labor's indigenous affairs spokeswoman Linda Burney has welcomed a new co-design process for an indigenous voice but says it must be ambitious.© AAP Images Labor's indigenous affairs spokeswoman Linda Burney has welcomed a new co-design process for an indigenous voice but says it must be ambitious.

Labor says it will work with the Morrison government on designing a new indigenous "voice" to governments, but stands by its policy to have it enshrined in the constitution.

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Indigenous affairs minister Ken Wyatt announced Tom Calma and Marcia Langton as the two indigenous leaders who would spearhead the co-design process, working with up to 20 others in a senior advisory group.

They will consult with people in urban, regional and remote Australia on how the "voice" would operate, but the government has rejected the idea outlined in the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart that it be enshrined in the constitution.

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Instead it would be legislated and empowered to work with local, state, territory and federal government.

Labor's indigenous spokeswoman Linda Burney said a constitutional voice, a truth-telling process and a treaty-making commission remained her party's policy.

"But we have said from day one we will be informed by what first nations people say in the co-design process," she told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

She expected there to be a wide variety of views expressed, however a minimalist approach would not be acceptable.

"I am respectful of Ken and I offer collaboration and cooperation and bipartisanship," she said.

"But it cannot be a race to the bottom - it must be about achieving excellence and that is what Labor will pursue."

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Ms Burney said the government also needed to get a timeframe for the promised referendum on recognising indigenous people in the constitution.

Prof Langton said she and Prof Calma supported constitutional reform to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a voice in parliament, but their priority now was to find ways to improve decision-making at all levels of government.

She said the 12-month process would consist of two stages.

The first would involve a local-regional co-design group and a national co-design group developing models to improve local and regional decision-making and a national voice.

The second stage would be to refine the proposed models with indigenous leaders and communities.

Mr Wyatt said he wants Australia's 800,000 indigenous voices to be heard in the process.

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