Labor MP Marion Scrymgour questions Voice to Parliament timing

KEY POINTS:
  • Marion Scrymgour said the Voice proposal “couldn’t be further from people’s view'” in part of her electorate.
  • The Indigenous Labor MP later she backs the Voice “100 per cent”.
  • Its comes amid concerns a rejected referendum could set back the reconciliation process “forever”.
An Indigenous Labor MP has questioned the timing of the Voice to Parliament debate, saying the proposal “couldn’t be further from people’s view” in her electorate.
Marion Scrymgour, member for the seat of Lingiari which covers most of the Northern Territory, said on Monday “we can’t have these conversations” while crime prevention remains inadequately resourced in Alice Springs.
Later that day, she appeared to walk back the comments and insisted she backs the Voice “100 per cent”.
Prime Minister — a body that would advise the federal parliament on issues impacting Indigenous Australians — by the end of the year.
Peter Dutton wearing a suit and tie in Parliament House

Opposition leader Peter Dutton says his party cannot form a position on the Voice without more detail on how it would work. Source: AAP / Lukas Coch

Ms Scrymgour on Monday insisted she “absolutely” continues to back the proposal, which she described as “unfinished business in this country”.

But she warned would-be supporters in the NT were “really frustrated” by a lack of progress on violence, and were questioning the need for a Voice “when we can’t even get police to protect me while I’m sleeping in my own home”.
“The Voice couldn’t be further from people’s view up here… because people are under siege in their own homes,” she told Melbourne’s 3AW radio on Monday.

“I think that we can’t have these conversations if there’s all these issues that are impacting on communities like Alice Springs.”

Noel Pearson at the Garma Festival.

Noel Pearson has warned a failed referendum could set back reconciliation ‘forever’. Source: AAP

Taking to Twitter soon after, Ms Scrymgour reiterated that she supports the Voice “100 per cent”.

“If you look at the you will see my signature on it,” she Tweeted.
“It’s time that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians had their voices heard on the issues that affect us.”

Her comments came just hours after prominent Voice campaigner Noel Pearson said he believes a rejected referendum could set back the reconciliation process “forever”.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton maintains that Mr Albanese has not released enough information on the Voice proposal for his party to form a position. The Liberal Party’s Coalition partner, The Nationals, have said .
Mr Pearson dismissed the Opposition’s demand as a “diversion”, stressing federal parliament would be responsible for legislating the Voice after a Yes vote.
“If the referendum is kiboshed through game play and [a] spoiling game by the opposition, we will lose the opportunity forever,” he told ABC radio.
“The question that will be put is do we recognise Indigenous people in the constitution, and if we say no to that then I can’t see how the future will be anything other than protest.

“The Indigenous presence in this country will forever be associated with protest rather than a proper response by the Australian people to this call for recognition and the achievement of reconciliation.”

Aboriginal dancers with painted bodies on either side of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his entourage and they walk.

Anthony Albanese has aired his frustrations with the Coalition’s demands for more detail on the Voice. Source: AAP / AARON BUNCH

Mr Albanese also aired his frustrations over the Coalition’s demands for detail, saying it had not objected to in July.

The prime minister stressed the Voice would not have the power to veto legislation, and would be subservient to federal parliament.
“There haven’t been any suggested changes to that draft from the Coalition and they have had more than six months to put forward constructively,” he told ABC Breakfast on Monday.

“It will be an advisory body only … There will be more detail that’s being worked through the referendum working group and that will be released.”

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