Voice to Parliament: Constitutional Alteration Bill House division pic looks like Yes win


This picture looks like a resounding Yes for the Voice to Parliament – here’s why it’s not

  • House of Representatives supports Constitutional Alteration Bill
  • Approval paves the way for Voice to Parliament referendum
  • Do you have a politics tip? Email brittany.chain@mailonline.com 

Politicians this morning cast their vote on a bill which will allow the Voice to Parliament referendum to proceed later this year.

The Constitutional Alteration Bill passed in the House of Representatives with an enormous 121-25 majority, and onlookers would be forgiven for thinking Liberal MPs had changed their tune after months of opposition to the proposal.

Pictures from inside the House during the division show 25 No voters taking up less than two rows, while Yes voters crowd the opposite side. 

However, the Liberal party has not softened on its stance on the Voice, with Opposition Leader Peter Dutton saying his party would not stand in the way of giving the Australian public the right to vote in the referendum.

A handful of Liberal MPs were chosen to oppose the bill – allowing them and only them to officially contribute to the No campaign pamphlet – while the remainder voted Yes to ensure it passed through to the Senate. 

Nationals MPs all voted No.

Keen onlookers would be forgiven for thinking Liberal MPs had changed their tune after months of standing firm against the proposal

Keen onlookers would be forgiven for thinking Liberal MPs had changed their tune after months of standing firm against the proposal

Ms Ley delivered an impassioned speech in parliament in response to Mr Albanese's 'Chicken Littles' sledge from Monday

Ms Ley delivered an impassioned speech in parliament in response to Mr Albanese’s ‘Chicken Littles’ sledge from Monday

The bill will make its way to the Senate in two weeks, after estimates hearings conclude. 

Only those MPs who voted against the Constitutional Alteration Bill are allowed to work on the No essay which will be contained in an official referendum pamphlet set to be sent to every Australian home at least two weeks before the vote.

The pamphlet will contain two essays up to 2,000 words long arguing the cases for and against the Voice to Parliament.

Debate over the Voice to Parliament has gripped the House for the better part of two weeks, with 90 speakers listed to voice their opinions.

Labor’s message is that a vote ‘from the heart’ will give Indigenous Australians equal footing and opportunity to provide input on matters which directly impact their lives.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has long said it is a ‘modest’ request of the Australian public, noting he feels a personal responsibility to see his promise through to Indigenous communities who ‘have waited so long’.

But he’s been criticised along the way for his divisive language toward No voters and members of the public and parliament who are still on the fence.

Liberals deputy leader Sussan Ley, the party’s most senior female politician, on Tuesday accused him of ‘descending toward the gutter’ with ‘deplorable’ remarks toward Australians who intend on voting No.

After weeks of mudslinging about the Voice, Ms Ley drew a line in the sand, saying: ‘People of goodwill can disagree.’

She reassured the public it is okay to vote ‘No, just as it is okay to vote Yes. 

‘Regardless of whether Yes narrowly wins, or narrowly loses, millions of Australians will vote No,’ she said.

‘They deserve better than their Prime Minister referring to them as ‘undertakers preparing the grave to bury Uluru’, ‘Chicken Littles’, or anything else with such deplorable connotations.’

Ms Ley also  criticised Mr Albanese for ‘refusing to provide detail’ about the ins and outs of the Voice, and ‘taking the low road, hurling insults instead’.

‘There is a special obligation on the Prime Minister to keep this debate respectful, because if he continues to descend into the gutter, how on earth can he lecture anyone else about the evils of joining him down there?’

The Albanese government has maintained that amending the Constitution is the form of recognition Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders asked for in the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart

The Albanese government has maintained that amending the Constitution is the form of recognition Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders asked for in the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart

What we know about the Voice to Parliament so far 

Here, Daily Mail Australia looks at some of the key questions about the Voice so far, and how the government has tackled them:

What kind of advice can the Voice provide the Parliament and Government?

The Voice will advise on matters that directly relate to Indigenous people.

It will respond to requests made by the government, while also having the power to engage proactively on matters that they believe impact them. 

The group will have its own resources to research matters and engage with communities at a grassroots level to ensure it is best reflecting their needs.

How will members of the Voice be chosen?

Members of the Voice will be appointed by Indigenous communities and will serve on the committee for a fixed period of time, yet to be determined.

The way the communities choose their representatives will be agreed upon by the local communities in tandem with the government as part of a ‘post referendum process’ to ensure cultural legitimacy. 

Who can become a member of the committee?

Members of the Voice must be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

They will be chosen from across each state and territory and have balanced gender representation nationally.

The government has also guaranteed that young people will be included in the committee to ensure representation across the broad scope of the community. 

Will the Voice be transparent? 

The government states the Voice will be subject to scrutiny and reporting requirements to ensure it is held accountable and remains transparent.

Voice members will be held to standards of the National Anti-Corruption Commission and will be sanctioned or removed from the committee if there are any findings of misconduct.

Will the Voice have veto power?

No. 

Will the Voice work independently of other government bodies?

The committee must respect the work and role of existing organisations, the government says.

Will the Voice handle any funds?

The Voice will not directly manage any money or deliver any services to the community.

Its sole role will be in making representations about improving existing government programs and services, and advising on new ideas coming through the parties.



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