IPA Today

New Zealand Shows Voice To Parliament To Affect All Laws Passed

Written by
7 December 2022

“The failed New Zealand experiment with race-based co-governance demonstrates how the Voice to Parliament will be weaponised by inner-city activists to ensure race is the primary consideration of all major policy decisions,” said John Storey, Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.

The landmark IPA legal research report published today, Voice to Parliament: An Analysis of the New Zealand Experience and Australia’s History of Judicial Activism, reveals how the history of race-based constitutional change in New Zealand could shape Australia’s future.

Learning from the New Zealand experience, the proposed Voice to Parliament would; 

  • Become a vehicle for allocating critical social and economic resources such as health, education, and job opportunities on the basis of race, not need;
  • Not merely be advisory, but will wield a veto over important parliamentary debate and government decisions; and
  • Be impossible to repeal, defund, or effectively reform if it proves ineffective, or is acting contrary to what was intended.

When it was established in 1975, New Zealand’s Waitangi Tribunal was given a narrow scope to advise government on grievances claimed by Māori people. Since then, New Zealand’s courts have interpreted the Tribunal’s role expansively, making it a binding, quasi-judicial body with significant influence over the elected parliament.

“Australia’s history of judicial activism means the Voice to Parliament will almost certainly be granted far reaching legal powers and be a forum for divisive activism just like in New Zealand,” Mr Storey said.

Hurried assurances by the Albanese Government, most recently from the Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney, that the Voice to Parliament will never have a veto over Parliament do not stack up when compared with international precedent.

“The Prime Minister’s claim that the proposed Voice to Parliament will not be a ‘rolling veto’ is not defensible in light of the IPA’s legal analysis of international and domestic precedent,” said Mr Storey.

“It is not even defensible in the Prime Minister’s own words when he said in July that it, ‘would be a very brave government that said it shouldn’t’ follow the edicts of the Voice to Parliament.”

“A large and growing body of domestic and international evidence demonstrates that the proposed Voice to Parliament will be more powerful and have a much more divisive impact on Australian culture and society than the Federal Government claims.”

“The evidence shows that a referendum to establish an Indigenous-only Voice to Parliament will divide the country by race. The Federal Government must shelve the referendum.”  

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John Storey

John Storey is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.

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