Australians Must Not Be Divided By Race

Written by
23 March 2021

The Institute of Public Affairs is committed to undertaking research to defend and extend the Australian way of life and mainstream Australian values. Central to the Australian way of life is the idea that all Australians are equal in the eyes of the law and that every Australian shares an equal voice in the governance of the nation.

This letter, and enclosed research, has been prepared to communicate the IPA’s research and analysis to the National Indigenous Australians Agency public consultation into the proposal to establish an indigenous Voice to parliament in legislation. This letter is also being shared with all Senators and Members of the House of Representatives to communicate the IPA’s findings associated with a legislated Voice to parliament.

The co-design process was launched by the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon. Ken Wyatt MP, in November 2019 to develop a proposal for a Voice to parliament. The terms of reference instructed the Senior Advisory Council, the National Voice Advisory Council, and the Local and Regional Voice Advisory Council to not consider proposals for constitutional change.

The co-design process finalised an interim report in October 2020 which was subsequently released to the public on 8 January 2021. The proposal outlined in the interim report is for legislation to be introduced to establish a National Voice and for between 24 and 34 Local and Regional Voice bodies to engage in ‘shared decision making’ and represent indigenous Australians to the Commonwealth parliament.

Research and analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs has identified five key findings associated with a legislated Voice to parliament

  1. Australians do not want to be divided by race.
  2. The legislated Voice would divide Australians by race by establishing a parallel system of political representation based on race.
  3. The legislated Voice would act like a third chamber of parliament.
  4. The legislated Voice will be a precursor to radical constitutional change which would divide Australians by race forever.
  5. Rather than dividing Australians by race, governments should unite Australians by removing the existing references to race in the Australian Constitution.

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Morgan Begg

Morgan Begg is the Director, Legal Rights Program at the Institute of Public Affairs

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