The Indigenous Voice | Q&A
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The Indigenous Voice | Q&A

(APPLAUSE) Good evening and welcome to Q&A.
I’m Tony Jones. A special look at the case for the recognition of Indigenous
Australians in our Constitution. Here to answer
your questions tonight – one of the delegates from the
Uluru convention that proposed an Indigenous voice to parliament,
Sally Scales. Liberal MP and conservative advocate
of the voice, Julian Leeser. Former Liberal candidate and Indigenous opponent of the voice,
Jacinta Price. Co-chair of the joint committee
on Closing the Gap, Pat Turner. And the Shadow Minister for
Indigenous Affairs, Linda Burney. Please welcome our panel. We should say we’re disappointed that three key players
who had agreed to join the panel – Ken Wyatt, Patrick Dodson
and Noel Pearson – could not be here tonight. So, Q&A is live in eastern Australia
on ABC TV, iview and NewsRadio. Tonight we’re turning our attention
to the unresolved business of recognition and reconciliation. A treaty Bob Hawke promised
at Barunga in 1988 never materialised, neither did
the constitutional recognition John Howard put into a referendum
in 1999. Now the Morrison government
has confirmed it will not enshrine an Indigenous voice
in the Constitution. Well, our first question’s a video. It’s from Alwyn Doolan
near Canowindra, in NSW. Hello. My name is Alwyn Doolan. I’ve been walking
from Cape York to Tasmania speaking to Aboriginal communities
about reconciliation. The PM did not meet with me to hear what the 50 First Nations
peoples I visited had to say, which tells me the only voice
he could approve of is one that he can ignore. But why did the Indigenous Affairs
Minister, Ken Wyatt, change his mind
about supporting the voice? Julian Leeser, we’ll start with you. Well, I think the Minister’s
been clear about his position, as has the Prime Minister – that they’re in favour
of constitutional recognition but not putting the voice
in the Constitution. Ken Wyatt wasn’t so clear about that
at the Press Club in July. He certainly left the door open,
and now he’s slammed it shut. Well, I think his position
is the same position as the Prime Minister’s position – that is now
the government’s position. Is that the position he had
to have – that is, Ken Wyatt? I can’t answer that. I think, at the end of the day,
the government’s position is clear. We support the voice –
the government supports the voice – and the government supports
constitutional recognition, just not constitutional recognition
of the voice. Now, I’ve been a long supporter
myself of the voice and of it being in the Constitution. And I think what we need to do for those of us who are
advocates of the voice is to see that the government
has left the door open in relation
to the co-design principle. The co-design process that
I recommended alongside Pat Dodson and Linda Burney and the committee
we had last year. And I think that’s
an important process, because I think one of the real
challenges for the voice is that it is ill-defined
in the public mind, and I think there are
lots of different people who have different versions of what
the voice will actually look like. And I don’t think it’s possible
to put something in the Constitution until you’ve properly defined
what you’re talking about. Very quickly, before we move on – you were an advocate,
as you just mentioned, for having the voice
enshrined in the Constitution. In fact, you got a lot of
constitutional conservatives, like yourself,
on board with that idea, and helped co-design
the whole idea with Noel Pearson. You must be disappointed. Look, I’m a realist
about the process. We put up one version of the voice. There are a range
of different versions that have appeared since then. Warren Mundine had a proposal
to recognise local bodies. I think that that proposal, as
we saw when we were doing the work on the Constitutional Recognition
Committee last year, has a lot of support
in communities. Because, as we discovered, the problems aren’t so much in
Canberra, they’re in communities. And people want a direct say
on issues and policies that… Are you sure the problem in
this regard is not in Canberra? Well, I think the challenges
that Indigenous people face are in communities. They’re challenges
that we heard about in terms of transport and housing, in terms of education,
in terms of health. Those challenges are in the ground. And if you’re going to actually
make policy about people, I think you get a better result by consulting the people who are
directly affected on the policy. OK, Julian. Linda Burney. Uh, thanks, Tony. And let’s remember
we’re on Gadigal country. And I want to thank Mem and Paul for the great work they’ve been
doing in terms of the voice. A few things that we need
to remind ourselves of, everyone. Firstly, this is not new. William Cooper was calling for a voice for Indigenous people
back in 1933. Uh, then it went on to ’38,
where it was rejected. Then, of course, ’67 referendum
sorted the fact out that the Commonwealth
would have jurisdiction over First Nations people. I think the important thing, from my perspective
as a member of the Labor Party, is to continue to work
collaboratively with the government and with the Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander community to see where we can get to
with this. There is an urgency
for the co-design. But Labor’s position
is incredibly clear – we accept the Uluru Statement
in its entirety. I think boiling this down
to just about the voice, Tony, is something that’s
restricting the debate. It’s also about
a Makarrata Commission that will have a path to treaty
and truth-telling, and those things are very important. Labor’s position is clear… Linda, can I just interrupt you
for a moment? The question was very clear – it was, why did Ken Wyatt
change his mind on having the voice
in the Constitution? That’s what the question was.
Well, thanks, Alwyn. I met Alwyn when he was in Canberra on his remarkable walk
around the country. I can’t answer for Ken Wyatt. Ken and I have a good relationship. And I have agreed to work with Ken
in a bipartisan way. And I say very clearly, bipartisanship is not
a race to the bottom. It is about achieving excellence. Ken made the decision –
or someone made the decision – that Ken was not going to be
appearing tonight, and I’m glad that Julian’s here. I’m disappointed that Ken
wasn’t able to be here. And I think that
the question about why he believes that a legislative
framework for the voice is a better one than entrenching it
in the Constitution… We must remember – and I’ll finish
on this point, Tony – we must remember that enshrining
the voice in the Constitution for First Nations people
is about giving it certainty. We are still very much burnt – and Pat would be able to speak about
this – about the ATSIC experience. Whatever happens,
the entrenchment is important to give it permanency so a government of the day
cannot dismiss it. I will pass on to Pat, because we know she was head
of ATSIC for a period there, so is a critical voice. But I just want to ask you, are you prepared
to compromise with Ken Wyatt and accept a voice
not in the Constitution but an advisory body
built by legislation? Well, Labor’s position,
as I said, Tony, and everyone, is very clear at the moment. We endorse and accept the
Uluru Statement in its fullness. And what that says is an enshrined
voice in the Constitution. That’s Labor’s position. Obviously, there is a long way to go
with this discussion and we will work collaboratively
and we’ll be instructed particularly by First Nations people
across this country in terms of what they believe, and in particular
people that participated in Uluru, and that will be
where we’ll get to it. It’s a long way to go, Tony.
Right. And I think ruling things in and out
right now is not a wise thing to do. Except the government
has ruled something out. Well, the government appears
at this stage to have ruled out
an enshrined voice. And I say very directly
to the Prime Minister, if you want a decent legacy,
this could be your greatest. Pat Turner, what does your ATSIC
experience tell you about whether a voice,
an advisory body to the parliament, should be in legislation
or in the Constitution? Well, it worked. You know, despite a lot of the myths
that circulated in terms of ATSIC, it was in fact
a very effective organisation. It was.
And we did a lot of good. And…once people
didn’t have it, of course, they recognised that,
you know, it was a big loss. And even Amanda Vanstone,
who was Aboriginal Affairs Minister, acknowledged in recent months
that they had moved too swiftly in relation to the abolition
of ATSIC, and that they should have kept
the regional councils at least. Yes.
And… But nevertheless, they were on, you know,
their journey… So, I’ve got to ask you this –
if it worked then, and Ken Wyatt might be right
it could work again in the future, that it doesn’t necessarily need
to be in the Constitution? Well, I think both Julian and Linda have spoken about
the co-design process, and that’s where we do have a definite commitment
from the Prime Minister – that there will be
a co-design process with First Nations representatives. So my view is, let’s get on with it.
Why waste time? There’s so much
that needs to be done. And let’s see what comes of that. So, are you saying you could
actually co-design an advisory body through legislation prior to any referendum –
indeed, without a referendum? No. A referendum will require
constitutional recognition of First Nations people
and our place in this country, which isn’t the case at the moment. What comes with that is… The Uluru Statement calls
for the enshrinement of a voice and calls for a number
of other things. So let’s put
the Uluru Statement at the top because it’s a really cleverly
and nicely worded statement that all Australians…
we would want to support. Um… So, there are
a number of things in it, but having the voice enshrined
in the Constitution is to protect against,
you know, being abolished by the parliament
through legislation, as they did with ATSIC. OK. Sally, what do you think? I mean, I think Pat’s very…
very on mark with the fact that we have to get on with
the co-design sort of process, but with what Mr Wyatt has said, closing that door
and saying legislation, you’re going back to 2015. We’ve had eight reports
in eight years around constitutional recognition
in some form or another. Do we need to wait
for another eight years? Do we need to wait
for another eight reports? There are so many reports done
on Indigenous issues already, so many royal commissions,
all that sort of stuff. So, what we’re saying is, well,
we want a voice to sit at the table to decide where…what’s going on, but we don’t…shouldn’t be
looking back to 2015 and going,
“Oh, let’s do legislative,” which is not what anyone in any
of the regional dialogues wanted, and no-one at Uluru wanted at all. So, will people who took part
in the Uluru Convention accept… No.
..any kind of compromise… I won’t. ..along the lines
that Ken Wyatt is suggesting? Well, we’ve compromised
so much already. LINDA: Mm. As Indigenous Australians,
as First Nations people, we’ve compromised a lot. So, why do we have to
keep compromising? We put a beautiful statement, which was done by 250-odd
First Nations representatives in Uluru. It was given to
the Australian public – not to parliament,
not to politicians. And this is where we have
to change that course as well. It was given to Australia. It’s not given to the politicians. And the law is not the problem
around the Uluru Statement. I think politics is the problem. Jacinta Price,
politics is the problem? Or what do you think, because you actually don’t
support any of this, do you? No.
Tell us why. Well, firstly, where’s the detail? Like, what is it that we are
supposed to be looking at, and deciding, “Yes,
we want this to go ahead”? Yes, it’s a beautiful statement,
but it lacks significant detail. It’s like, if you were going to,
you know, look for funders
to invest a project, you wouldn’t go to them
with a statement and not have a business plan
behind it and expect that…you know,
that project to be funded. That’s the first issue
I have with it. The second issue is that… Can we just deal with that issue
quickly? And we might get some interchange
on the panel here. Because isn’t that the point
of the co-design process… LINDA: Yes. actually develop those details? Well, I’ll just go
to Sally quickly on that and come back to you, Jacinta.
Yes. Well, that’s what we would be
looking at with the co-design. And going back
to those communities, going back to those regional… What was so unique and wonderful
about the regional dialogues is, actually, if you look at
all the cities and the towns that the Referendum Council
went to, like, they went to a lot of remote
and regional communities. I went to two,
and I was lucky enough to do that. Because, you know,
APY is in South Australia, but it’s also in part
of Central Australia. So, I wanted to know
what the differences in those dialogues happen. But that’s what
the co-design is about – those details,
working with the communities. OK. So, can I say? So, Linda recently visited
a number of communities recently, and in those communities found
that there were people who didn’t know what the voice was, or had…didn’t have
any idea of that. So, there are a lot of
Indigenous people who have already been
left out of this conversation, including those who didn’t agree
with this voice. And, see, what we see a lot
is that, you know, the media like
to portray Indigenous people as all having one voice. This idea has been entrenched. We need to be recognised
as individuals as well, that we don’t all think
with one head. We’re not going to come
to consensus on…on issues. We don’t come to consensus
on a number of issues. I don’t see how… Is the voice going to then have
elected members that represent every single language group? Is that how this is going
to go forward? And then those people
from that language group is going to speak on behalf
of that language group? I know my language group
wasn’t there at Uluru. I know several other language groups
that weren’t there while the Uluru Statement
was being created. And I also see that we have
so many bureaucracies set up to be voices for Indigenous people. And if they’re not doing
a good job now, then how do we know that this voice
is going to do that job? And why then does it have to be
constitutionally enshrined? Because having it
constitutionally enshrined is to say that we’re continually
forever going to be disadvantaged. We don’t want that. We want to be part of the fabric of
this country, like everybody else. And… So, you want… Your position… Can I sort of
encapsulate your position by saying that you want
Indigenous Australians to be exactly the same
as other Australians – have no special place…
We are… ..or no special privileges? Is that what you’re suggesting?
We are Australian citizens, and we’re often looked at separately
to everybody else in this country. It shouldn’t be the case, but it is the case quite often,
in so many different ways. And it shouldn’t be the case. Yes, let’s recognise
that we were here before all other Australians. We’re the original inhabitants. But, ultimately, I mean,
we’re sitting here, we’re… Us women up here, we are… We are women, Aboriginal women, who have been successful
in our lives. All we want is for those
who are disadvantaged… to have the same
as what we had. How did we get there?
We got there through education. You know, our education
these days teaches ideology, and most kids in Australia
are suffering through education. Jacinta,
I’m going to interrupt you there, because to some degree you’re anticipating
some future questions now, and we’ll certainly
come back to you to answer a lot of those.
Let’s move on. Our next question is
from Bill Ramage. Bill? Forgive me, guys, and welcome. My name’s Bill Ramage. I’m a proud Gomeroi-Yuin man. And I don’t want another
symbolic representation of…in the Constitution. We’ve been there before,
and it was… wasn’t successful
the last time. The ’67 referendum changed
two sections of the Constitution – section 51 and section 127. I want equality around the country. I want our communities and that to feel like
they are a part of Australia. We don’t want to be this thing
that’s sitting in the back that people are too afraid
to talk about. And, Jacinta, the way you talk, that sounds like a Liberal
government standing behind you, and you turning around
and talking for them. You’re not talking for the rest
of the people, I can tell you now. So, what I’d like to see is both sides of politics
get their act together, start moving the thing along,
because this is just too…too long. And people don’t want to take
this time to…to listen to… It’s like the government caravans
of the 1960s and ’70s. They come in,
take all the reports and that, “We’ll get back to youse later,” and then go back to the cities –
Canberra – deal with their reports, and nothing comes back
to the communities. Bill, we might come back to you. I’m just going to go
to the panel right now. And, Pat, I saw you
nodding through that. Yeah.
So, we’ll start with you. Well, this is the urgency, Bill, and thank you for outlining
that position that the Coalition of Aboriginal
Peak Organisations has taken in, uh…now having
a formal partnership with the Prime Minister,
the premiers, and the chief minister…
uh, chief ministers and the Australian
Local Government Association, in an equal partnership,
a formal, signed partnership to close the gap, where Aboriginal Peak Organisation
representatives and our organisations work in the service delivery areas that are pertinent
to closing the gap. So, we’ve got health services,
legal services, SNAICC,
other child protection areas, land councils, education groups,
so on and so forth… And you’re saying this is a model
that could work more broadly. We have got a formal partnership
agreement with COAG. It’s the first of its kind
and it’s historic. We complained to COAG in September. We had the agreement signed
by March. It is an excellent model
to get on with the job as equal partners
negotiating with government, from the local level
to the regional level to the state level
and the national level. That’s what we’re asking for…
happens in the future engagement between our First Nations
representatives and governments across the board
in future. OK, Jacinta, I know
you were mentioned by name, and maybe
I’ll come back to you on that. Julian, first to you. Do you sort of get the passion
and the anger of Bill and many other people like Bill, that they don’t want
something symbolic – that’s not enough anymore? Look, I completely understand
the position that Bill has put, and I understand the frustration with the time that this seems
to have been taking. I think the thing to remember
is that the Uluru Statement really changed everything. It rejected a lot of
the symbolic proposals that we’ve been considering
in the past, and pointed forward a direction –
a direction of a voice. But while saying
that we wanted a voice, it didn’t give any detail
of what that would look like. That’s why the co-design process
is important. That’s why last year
when we went around the country looking at what this voice
might be, and we heard that people
wanted to be consulted about the things that affected them
in their own communities, we thought that the best,
most authentic way of doing things was actually to send a group
of bureaucrats out to speak to individual Indigenous
communities, in their communities, and ask them, how do they
want this to work? Because if this isn’t a body
that is designed in a way that Indigenous people accept, we’re going to continue
the same pattern of failure that we have for the last
50 years, and I… So, can I just ask the question, why do you need to send
bureaucrats out to do that when you’ve got the Uluru Convention
coming up with an answer, coming from the people themselves? Well, because the Uluru Convention
basically provided a statement, and the statement says
that people wanted a voice. It didn’t give a detail about what the functions
of the voice would be. It didn’t give a detail
about, um, you know, how people would be chosen, what problems
it was designed to address. We want to make sure that, if we’re going to set up,
um, a new body, or new bodies, around the country that they are authentic
for particular communities, that they genuinely address
the problems. My…my view –
why I’m such a supporter of the idea of the voice – is because I think
it is the best way of trying to address some of
the social and economic indicators that we know are not strong
for Aboriginal people, and are not as good,
and see Aboriginal people not living as well
as the rest of Australians. And I think,
if you consult them on the policies and laws that affect them
in their communities, you’ve got a better chance of getting policies
and laws that work. OK. Um, Sally, now,
what you heard from Bill is, “I don’t want something symbolic.” A lot of people don’t want
something symbolic anymore. And how widespread is that feeling,
do you…as you understand? It’s everywhere.
It’s everywhere that the… “No more symbolism”
and also “Get on with the job” – there’s…that’s the two messages. But going back to
the…when you guys went and did the co-design,
the report and everything, I picked up
two…one significant thing. So, in the Uluru Statement, there was two Aboriginal words
in there – ‘Uluru’ and ‘Makarrata’. In the report
that you and Pat Dodson gave out, you had actually taken
the two languages – those two words – out. And I thought, that really speaks
to the reason why we want the voice. The two Aboriginal language words
were taken out of the report. Well, Sally, I’m sorry. We didn’t take them out
of the report. Well, it was…it was the one… The Statement from the Heart,
um, the traditional owners told us that they didn’t want us
to refer to it as the Uluru Statement, so we referred to it
as the Statement from the Heart. The Makarrata Commission
is referred to… So, which traditional owners? Considering……in the report itself, and there is some discussion
about that. Well, the fact is that I work with the TOs
from that Mutitjulu community, and I work with them closely. I have got… I’m related to them. Yeah, just for the audience, you’re referring to traditional
owners when you say “TOs”? Yeah, TOs…TOs are
traditional owners. Um, and there’s one in particular,
who, for two years, has been denied
his cultural right of that… ..of his position
in that place, and… OK, can I…? I’m going to say,
I don’t want to get trapped in this. This is a…a…a small
and intricate discussion within the big one, so…
Yeah. ..just stick with the big point,
um, about not wanting… Well, Bill’s point.
Well, not wanting… But why? Why should…why should
we settle for symbolism? It’s a conversation
that’s going around and around. I mean, Bill’s lived his whole life
and is saying, “Well, I want equality
in my communities. “I want the fact that we’ve got
so many deaths in custodies… Why?” You know, all of these issues that are in
our Aboriginal communities… I mean, Jacinta,
it’s not just good enough to work and have great education
and all of that sort of stuff. We actually need
to look at the issues that are in our communities,
as it work… ..from a grassroots network and say, “This is HOW it works
in my communities.” Warlpiri mob are different
to APY mob. You know, the fact that
we’ve got local community councils getting smaller and smaller
and taken over by shires in the… know, in Northern Territory,
South Australia and NT, all of those… You know, you saw that in Wiluna
when you went there, Linda. So, it’s all of those issues
are going… They’re the stiflings
of the Indigenous voice. So, do we want to wait
until we’re all dead? No. And that’s what symboling…
symbolisms will give us. OK, let me go to Jacinta. Um, now, Bill said you’re basically
just speaking for the Liberal Party. Um, so do you want to respond
to that first of all? Sure. Well,
let me be quite clear that, um, just because my views
are probably different to yours doesn’t mean
I can’t think for myself as an Aboriginal woman. I form my own views
based on my own lived experience and the conversations I have with Aboriginal people
right across the country. So, not just in remote communities,
but right over the country as well. And there are many Indigenous people
in this country who aren’t being heard
in this conversation, that they do not agree
with the idea of a voice. And I absolutely agree, Sally – it needs to be about
grassroots empowerment, but I don’t see how the voice
is going to be that. I see it as another place
where the Indigenous elite can…can sit there and be the representatives
for other Indigenous people, uh, and be that voice. It needs to come back
to grassroots, absolutely. There are opportunities
that are lost, on so many levels,
in remote communities. I mean, we’ve got bureaucracies…
Can I just ask you a question? If it did go back to grassroots and there was some way
of having a general vote on this across all Indigenous communities, obviously funded by the government –
a kind of plebiscite, perhaps – what do you think
the result would be? Well, I think a lot of… Well, as Linda’s found out, there’s a lot of people
in remote communities that don’t have a clue about it because their day-to-day
is about staying alive. Their day-to-day
are the really difficult issues that we need to be acting on now,
not waiting for a voice to save us. We need to get in there and to work on these issues now
at the local level. And there’s bureaucracies that
I believe are hindering progress and hindering the ability
for traditional owners, on their own country, to utilise their own land
for economic, um, development, to create jobs
in their own communities, which can contribute to their lives
in a positive way. They can send their kids to school. You know, I’m hearing, all the time, traditional owners upset
with land councils because the processes
they put in place, which drag out these…you know,
the applications, take forever, so they can’t get
these opportunities off the ground. We have to look at
what is actually stopping things from going ahead now. Uh, this is what we have to look at,
and sort those issues out. OK, thanks, Jacinta. Um, now, Linda,
you were named several times during the course of this…
LINDA: Yes. terms of the visit… So, everyone,
just to put you in the frame, I’ve just spent a week,
um, driving from – well, I didn’t drive – from Port Hedland
right through to Meekatharra, Docker River,
up into Mutitjulu community, and Uluru. Um, and a lot of the communities
we went to were not particularly aware
of the Uluru Statement. But as soon as
you spoke to them about it… And I hear what you’re saying, Bill,
and I hear your frustration, and a good Yuin-Gamilaraay man
should be able to say that. Um, as soon as the people
heard about the possibility of constitutional reform, they said, “Well, we want to make sure
that our voices are heard “and we should be part of that.” And I want to make that
very, very clear. I think the other thing to say,
everyone, is that, let’s have a think about, um,
what’s going on at the moment. There are many pieces of legislation
that come to the parliament that directly affect our mob. Directly affect our mob. Native title, um, issues to do with
national parks, the environment, the Murray-Darling Basin commission
with water flows and cultural flows, and the issues
that Bill’s spoken about, um, at the very real level. I went to communities where
they couldn’t have dialysis machines because there wasn’t clean water. Now, if there was
an Aboriginal advisory body to the government – and let’s remember
we’re talking advisory here – to the government to have a say
on those pieces of legislation that affect the daily lives
of Aboriginal people, wouldn’t that be better
than what we’ve got at the moment? OK, I’m just going
to quickly go back. Bill, do you want a final word before I pass on
to the next question? Yeah. With this, there’s a lot of talk
going on now, right? Yeah. And there’s no answers
being put forward. As far as all the rivers
and land around, treaties would be a way to go. That’d take care of the water issue because you wouldn’t get
the cotton farmers taking the majority of water. But where you people are concerned, you’re leaders
in your chosen field – why is it that it takes so long
to get things going? You know, we’ve been over and over
and over this. Referendums. Why not just extractus digitus…
(LAUGHTER) ..and, um, get on with it?
OK, Bill. Bill, we will take that as a comment. (LAUGHTER)
And we thank you very much for it. You’re watching Q&A. Tonight, we’re looking at
constitutional recognition. Our next question
comes from Amy Smith. Hi. Um, I just want to raise
a really important issue. So, the suicide rate for Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander persons between the age of 15 and 34 in 2017 was 47.2 per 100,000 people, and that’s three times the amount
for non-Indigenous Australians. This year alone,
in the first three months, we had 35 Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander persons take their life, with three of those people
being 12-year-old children. I know the panel are probably aware
of these statistics and the government has announced money being invested into
suicide prevention initiatives, but I want to know, um, how does
the Uluru Statement of the Heart help us, as a society, to overcome, um,
the impact of colonisation, intergenerational trauma
and centuries of oppression, um, and in a way
that truly represents the 500-plus nations of this land? Pat Turner? Well, I think,
you know, it’s an issue that we grapple with every day. And, you know, you’ve mentioned the, um…the causes –
well, some of them – in terms of
intergenerational trauma, which is a major, major concern, and which we’ve called upon
the government to respond. So, these things take so long
because, uh, you know, government still talks about
consultations with us, whereas we talk about
the right to negotiate, and the right to have action
and the resources provided to our Aboriginal community-controlled
organisations because we deliver a much more
effective and better service. So, getting governments
to change is not easy, uh, but that’s one of the objectives
that we have in Closing the Gap, and the partnership agreement
that we have there. How would this be impacted
if the Uluru Statement from the Heart was adopted by government,
um, in its entirety? ‘Cause that’s really the question
that was being asked. It would be impacted because there would be
a constant information flow, through the voice, to the parliament to ensure that the parliament
was kept fully aware of what progress was being made. So, um, you know, when you have
the instruments in place, uh, to utilise, you utilise them. What we haven’t been able
to get through to, um, within the Australian system, is to take our rightful place in terms of our own
cultural governance arrangements, and to be fully self-determining
communities, which is what we all want to do, even, uh, you know,
in terms of the things that Jacinta is referring to in terms of local communities
making their own decisions. Well, in order for you to do that, and in order for you to exercise
your full self-determination, you have to have resources. And that’s what we want governments
to put our way, and let us do, uh,
the service delivery and the business
and run our communities, not by a shire that’s foreign, but according to our own
cultural ways. We survived here for 60,000 years
before the last 200, and we’ve been devastated
more in the last 200-plus than the 60,000 years before that. So, it took a long time
to devolve our…to evolve our systems of governance, and in many places,
they’re still strong and we want to revive them, and we want to have the right
to share the power and to make the decisions
about the future of our people in our own country.
Let me put that to Jacinta. What’s wrong with the idea,
the general idea of sharing the power,
um, as Pat Turner said, in the sense that there is
no specific advisory body now to tell governments,
to advise governments on all of these things
that are happening, and to give an Indigenous perspective
on how to fix them? Why would that be a problem
to do that? I think we need to share the power,
ourselves, as Indigenous people. I think there are certainly people
in powerful positions in many different Indigenous
organisations, who have maintained those positions. There’s been incredible amount
of resources, you know, poured into
Indigenous advancement. And, uh, we need to be able
to lift up those that… You know, those of us who are
in powerful positions need to be able to lift up those who aren’t in those powerful
positions. You know, I hear a lot
about government, and what government’s
supposed to do, but what are we going to do,
as well, for ourselves? What about…what about the idea of having an elected
Indigenous voice, so that…? You obviously favour the idea
of democracy, so would it be wrong to have
an elected Indigenous voice just advising the government? Well, I’d like to know
how…how that looks. What does that look like? PAT: Which is why we
have to do the co-design. So, we’re chopping wood
for practice, here, because we’ve said
that about five times. (LAUGHTER) But why don’t we…?
Why aren’t we at a position where we have some idea already? Like, why aren’t…why isn’t there
some sort of…? There’s no example
because the Australian public are gonna be expected to vote
on something that’s not there yet. You know? Are we going
to co-design it, and then have a vote on it? We might come back to that
because there are examples in other countries, and we’ll
come back to that in a minute. The next question I’ll go to is
from Clayton Simpson. Clayton? Thank you, Tony. Um, I was an invited delegate at the, um, National
Constitutional Convention in 2017. I was part of the walkout, um… ..or the mob that walked out
due to the…in my view, the convention was
a pretty farce process. Um, for those that don’t know… Did you say fast or…?
Farce. (LAUGHS) You mean…?
F-A-R-C-E. (LAUGHS) OK, right.
Unbelievable. So, those that don’t know, um, of course, the, uh, you know, truth is part of our NAIDOC,
um, theme this year, and the truth is that the Uluru… ..what became known
as the Uluru Statement was, in fact, written by
members of the Referendum Council and endorsed, through coercion,
um, by the delegates. Those delegates that walked out
were threatened with tribal punishment, and this was endorsed
by individual members of the Referendum Council
at the, uh, Yulara Convention. Now, there’s a lot… There’s a silent majority
of Aboriginal people that do not support
the voice to parliament proposal, and do not support a, um, symbolic
constitutional recognition. We’re already recognised
in our state constitutions, but there’s no benefits
attached to that. Um… we know, we’ve got lots of… You know, our people are dying
20, 30 years younger in some cases, um, than our fellow Australians. So, how will a, um…
an advisory-only, an advisory-only – no veto –
representative body be effective when it doesn’t
have to be listened to by the parliament
it seeks to advise? Sally? Um, hey, Clayton.
How are you going? (LAUGHS) (LAUGHS) Um, there’s a couple of points
that you did bring up. So, this thing about how,
you know, it’s now… Should it be called Uluru Statement,
or could it be Yulara statement? So, the reason why it was done
at…it was held in Yulara and not at…at the resort,
instead of the communities is because that’s
what the community wanted. They didn’t want
250-plus people there, on top of caterers
and everyone else. So, that was up to the community
and we… That’s why. Um, around the tribal punishment, I was in the room talking
to some of the walkout groups, and talking about how that’s done
in a particular time, and that was not
what was happening to them. That was misconstrued
and missilised there. Um, I’m more than happy
to talk to you afterwards about that from a cultural point of view. Um, you know, with… I think it all goes back
to that co-design stuff. And while it’s an advisory stuff,
like, we need to be at the table. We need to be at the table to talk about what’s going on
in our community. And also, like, the walkout group – I don’t think
you’re a silent majority either. I mean, you guys were very vocal
in what you wanted to do, and you were very vocal
in what you still want to do. I think, um…you know,
sovereignty is a big issue and the big topic for a lot
of our communities. And Jacinta brought this up… Are you suggesting the walkout group were after Indigenous sovereignty
as opposed to…? I…I think there was
an element of that. I mean, you can agree
or not agree with that, Clayton. No. Uh, so, I think, um… Well, each individual
that walked out walked out as individuals. Yeah.
But the whole… And again, that’s up to
every individual that was up there in Uluru
doing the discussions. I mean, all of this comes down to,
what do we all want? And we don’t want symbolisms. We want tangible change
for our communities. We want to sit at the table
to discuss what’s going on in our communities. I mean, we’re the future
generations. I mean, you’ve got Amy sitting there
next to you, also a future generation, about what are we going to do
for our communities? How are we going to make
a difference? I mean, we’ve got beautiful leaders
on the table who are here, and that’s…you know,
we need to talk about, and go… You also need to recognise that, you know, we’ve got
five people up on the panel and only one is representing
the “no” voice on this. Um, the media has
a very effective part to play in it, and I think a more balanced panel,
um…you know, would have been great for the Australian public
to…to take part in. Well, Clayton, we’ve got you as well.
(LAUGHTER) So, let’s not forget that. Jacinta, I’ll…I’ll come to you
briefly. I mean, do you have sympathy
for the walkout group? Were you part
of the Uluru convention yourself? No.
Did you want to be? Um… ..well, probably not, actually. Um… (LAUGHS, SIGHS) I… Yeah, look, I understood
that there was… ..there was the walkout group. I know that, at one stage,
I think, there were members of our family
who asked my mother to become…, at the last minute, if she would represent
Warlpiri people. She felt like she didn’t want to go
because she didn’t…, she didn’t have
the opportunity to speak to our people beforehand, or understand exactly
what it was talking about. And if she did go, you know, would, then, she be able
to go back to speak to our people, to, you know, get an… they understood
what was going on as well? It wasn’t…she didn’t feel like
the process was the best sort of process, and I don’t think it was necessarily
the best sort of process. And again,
I’m…I’m more of the view that, you know, I like to be able
to tackle some of the more serious issues
sort of head-on. And also for, um… You know, to realise
what our own part, and what our own role in all of this
is as well. I mean, these are our mob
that are suffering, so we’ve…we’ve got to pull up
our, you know… ..roll up our sleeves as well,
and… Can I just interrupt
because I… You mentioned the…the process, and so I just want to get someone
to describe, quickly, describe the process for us because it wasn’t just a convention,
it was broader than that. Sally. No. So, 13 dialogues
across the country and it was co-hosted
by a local regional organisation. So, in Ross River/Alice Springs, that was done by CLC. And what I found really interesting
is we have a voice, Jacinta. In our communities, we have a voice. But what they did
around the regional dialogues, they purposely went to… 60% of the invited guests
were community members, community members that
aren’t necessarily on boards, or on councils,
or on anything like that. They just wanted people
who don’t have a voice, who don’t have a chance
to have a voice, to be there to talk about
what was going on, or what they would like to see, what their hopes were
for the future. 40% were then from organisations, from all the… I mean, we know
how many organisations there are in our remote communities. So, that was the process. To then… And then, from that,
the delegates. There was 10 delegations invited, and a few selected, as well, who had, you know, polarising pos…
opinions in that. So, that’s what the process was. So, it really got a broad range
of ideas and everything. And it was also held
over the weekend, so it catered to people
that had jobs during the week. It catered to families, all of that. I’ll just quickly come to Linda
on this. I mean, it’s inevitable, isn’t it,
that, as with every community, you’re going to get
differences of opinion. If you actually…
SALLY: Which is OK as well. This is what… It’s OK to have…
(LAUGHS) Sure. No, I think that was the point
I was about to make. Um… (LAUGHTER) It’s inevitable, isn’t it,
that when you actually have a voice, and you start bringing in people,
it’ll turn into factions, and just like politics does, people are going to be arguing
about the best way to do things once they’re elected. That’s just normal, isn’t it? I think it’s very normal
to, uh…to have those differences. But let’s just remind ourselves
of a few things. The Australian Constitution
is the only constitution of a first-world nation
with a colonial history that does not recognise
its first people. That’s the truth. Secondly, um, the… I’ve just come back,
as you’ve heard, from a trip. I finished up at Uluru, and one of the greatest gifts
I think I received on that whole trip was actually
meeting Cassidy and Reg Uluru, who were traditional owners. And it was very much clear to me that the Uluru Mutijulu community
completely endorsed what took place in terms of that statement. And let’s also
remind ourselves, everyone, that there are three states
and territories already who have embarked
on a treaty-making process. It is inevitable that, federally, we will have to look at
the same thing. And I think
the Makarrata Commission, which is part
of the Uluru Statement, is the vehicle for that. And finally, can I just say, Tony,
that it is a nonsense to think that everyone is going to feel
and think the same way. And that’s fine. But the question I ask myself, and the question I would encourage
everyone to ask themselves, that this is not a zero-sum game. This is not about a voice
as opposed to social justice issues. This is about both of those things
at the same time. And most importantly and finally
we can’t leave this. We can’t leave this
for another generation to have the same discussion
about a permanent secure voice to the Australian parliament representing the views
of First Nations people. Pat, you wanted
to make a comment on that and if you could make it brief, because we’ve got
a few questions to get to. Well, I want to say
in the Close the Gap process that we have established
this partnership. Not only do we have
national joint council co-chaired by Ken Wyatt and myself with every state minister
represented, local government, and the Coalition picks
elected representatives, but at the state
and territory level, we also have members
of the Coalition who operate at that level on Aboriginal community-controlled
peak organisations, working with the state bureaucrats to negotiate the implementation
of what we will put forward to COAG by the end of the year in the terms
of a new national agreement on Closing the Gap. That will identify what will be done
by who, by when, how much it’s going to cost
and where the money’s coming from. And it will have full, open,
transparent accountability provisions in it
so that it can be monitored. So once again,
your point is, this works. You’ve got a way
to make it work already? Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, we’re dealing
with Closing the Gap issues. You know, the gap
between our people is not closing, it’s widening. And why is it widening? Because other Australians
are living much longer, so that life expectancy gap
has widened. Secondly, the resources that go into
Aboriginal communities directly and through Aboriginal
community-controlled organisations who deliver much more efficient and
effective services than white NGOs or governments are limited
and they should be strengthened. OK, let’s move on.
We’ve got another question. We’re going to do as many as we can. This one’s from Michael Doyle.
Michael. G’day, Tony. In 2017, I was here
and asked Malcolm Turnbull, who was then prime minister,
about constitutional recognition and what the process
would be with that. And Scott Morrison
clearly isn’t on the panel but I would like to ask
the same question to him but I guess this has to go
to the panel. And that is,
where are we going to go with the process
of constitutional recognition? Should the Prime Minister
be standing up and making a statement to us
as a nation? And I mean the Prime Minister. Saying what’s actually
going to happen and the sort of time frame that
that might happen in as well. Like, will this be
during his term of government? And I share the frustration
of how long this is taking. OK, let’s go to Julian, who’s here, whether he likes it or not,
representing the government. I’m very pleased to represent
the government on this question. So, I think the first thing to say is when you’re talking
about changing the Constitution, we know how difficult that is. 44 times Australians have attempted
to change the Constitution and only eight times
has it succeeded. To succeed,
you need bipartisan support. On this particular question, you need the broad support
of the Indigenous communities. You need a majority
of Australians voting, and you need also
a majority of Australians voting in four out of six states
for this to pass. At the election, the government
adopted the recommendations that we had made
at the joint select committee, and that was
that a process would start. Point one was that you get
the co-design process working and get that done right, so we know what it is
that we’re talking about when we talk about the voice. Step two, you then look at
constitutional issues and other legislative issues. So, we’re looking
at a package of things. But I think… I know everybody
is thinking about this… They’ve jumped ahead of step two,
haven’t they, Julian? And they said,
“We’re not going to go to step two “before you deal with step one.” They’ve said what we’re going to do is actually have step two
separately from step one. But still the first thing
we need to do is to get the voice
designed properly so we actually know
what we’re talking about. I think the voice, for many people,
is still a vague concept. Then we need to look at,
what are we going to look to do in relation
to constitutional recognition? So, Julian, can I bring you
to the core of that question, was should the Prime Minister
get involved in this? Could Scott Morrison actually
make this an opportunity to define his prime ministership
in a very different way that people expect
it might be defined, and actually
take a hold of this issue and surprise everyone
and drive it himself? Would you like to see him do that? Well, the Constitution, Tony,
belongs to everyone, and I think it’s really important
that everyone gets involved. I was heavily involved
in the 1999 Republic referendum. I’m a strong
constitutional monarchist. One of the things
that sank that referendum was the fact that
Malcolm Turnbull and Paul Keating got very heavily involved in it,
and that there was a perception that they wanted to make it
their republic. I think, as laudable as this is
as an issue, I think it’s very important
that it’s not seen to be owned by any particular person or any side
of politics or any group. The Constitution is a document
for all Australians. But it would depend entirely
on how a Prime Minister did this. He could take it as an opportunity to unify the country
around this issue. And that’s, I guess,
what the questioner was asking. Is this a moment? A moment… A window has opened here – should the Prime Minister
take that opportunity? Well, I think any political leader
who says, “We will do this,” given where we are
in this process today, is asking for failure. I think what we need to do is
continue the consultation process, which we have set out,
which is bipartisan support from a bipartisan committee,
and ensure that we get the detail… Julian, I’m going to interrupt you
because Michael wants to get back in. Go ahead. Two things. I wonder, Tony,
if I’ll be back asking the same question
to the next prime minster. I think it is a constitution, and who would lead this,
if not for our Prime Minister? LINDA: Yeah. Well, look, the Prime Minster’s view is going to be
very important on this. But I think it’s important that he
responds to the Australian people in relation to this as well
and that we… Well, should he…
Can I ask you this, should he respond by not suggesting
that the voice is a third chamber? Because that’s one thing that’s
coming from senior cabinet figures. And you saw Barnaby Joyce,
not a senior cabinet figure anymore, recant his position on this
once he thought about it, once people talked to him about it. I mean, have you had a chance
to talk to the Prime Minister, to bring him round to the idea
that this is not a third chamber? Look, I’ve talked to
the Prime Minister about this issue on several occasions. Does he get it?
Look, I think he does get it. I think he’s interested in it.
I didn’t mean that as a joke. I meant it seriously. I think the fact is, Tony, a couple of years ago there was
a real question as to whether this process
would proceed at all. And we should celebrate the fact that we’ve got a commitment
to constitutional recognition and that
that’s a bipartisan commitment. We’ve got a commitment to the voice
and that’s a bipartisan commitment. And we’ve got a commitment
to co-design. That’s where we are today. I know it’s not as far
as some people would like, but I think we need to let
the process run its course, because I think that’s
the best way to get an outcome. Sally, can I hear you on this?
And I should hear Jacinta as well. I mean, I think
what Michael was saying is the fact that the Prime Minister
needs to, A, come out and say, “Well, the third chamber is actually
a lie. It’s not about that.” And also the fact that there’s two supreme justice courts,
you know, lawyers have come out and said…judges have come out
and said, “No, the law is fine.” It goes back to what I said.
The law is not the problem. Politics is the problem. So, if the Prime Minister
then came out and said, “Look, you know, I think
I support the Uluru Statement,” or, “I think we need to work
on the Uluru Statement together,” he needs to make some sort
of statement regarding this. Because that’s the question,
what is he going to say? What do we want to hear
from our prime minister? But also, it was given
to the Australian people. And what we as Australian people
have to do is go to our local leaders,
our local representatives and say, “This is what I want. “This is what I want
from my community,” and lobby from that angle. Because we have the power. This is what we’re forgetting –
as Australians, we have the power. The politicians are in there
because we have voted them in, but we sit with that power. So, really,
we need to be pushing that. Hmm. Now, Jacinta, you stood
for a seat for the Liberal Party, I presume you’re still
a member of the Liberal Party. If the Prime Minister
were to take the lead on this issue and suggest that the voice
is not a third chamber, would you get behind him? Well, I think we don’t know
what it is at this stage. So, you can’t even say
it’s not going to be a third chamber or it is going to be
a third chamber. We don’t simply know…
Well, we don’t know what it is. We simply don’t know what it is.
It’s just a concept. That… That’s what it is. And I think the Prime Minister
is more concerned with the more significant issues
than trying… Isn’t the important thing here
to wait and see what it is before we decide
that it’s going to be something? We probably should have
put this program off and waited till we knew what it was
before we started talking about it. No, look, I think he’s more
concerned with issues like suicide. I mean, my frustrations are with
the fact that levels of violence haven’t dropped
in remote communities. That’s where my frustrations are. You know, I can put to side
the idea of a referendum as long as we start dealing
with these issues that are actually going on
in communities. The way I see it,
it’s like another issue that gets pulled to the forefront that distracts us
from what’s really going on and…that’s how I see it. Well, it hasn’t distracted me because we’re working very hard
to close the gap and to ensure that Aboriginal voices
are at the table in negotiations with government
as equals. Negotiations, not consultations,
not government business as usual, taking on board
Aboriginal-led solutions from our lived experience
and our expertise and making sure that we make
a real difference in the quality of life to our people
over the next 10 years. So, we’re waiting for no-one.
We’re getting on with the job. (APPLAUSE)
OK. Thank you very much. Thank you. You’re watching Q&A live. Next week, our fourth
high school special. Hundreds of high school students
put up their hands to join the Q&A panel
alongside Gladys Berejiklian and Kristina Keneally. Here’s a look at four of the students
we’ve chosen. Hi. My name’s Aurora. I’m 17, hearing impaired,
and live in the Shire. I would love to see freedom
of speech and freedom of religion legislated
and protected for all Australians. I would also love to see red tape
and taxes cut across the board. Being part
of the national leadership team for the
Australian Youth Climate Coalition and the national
and Sydney core team for school strike for climate has allowed me to engage
in political discussion to a great extent. ..and I’ll allow the voice of young
regional Australians to be heard. I’d love to sit on the panel
with Tony before he leaves Q&A. (LAUGHTER) I’d love to sit on the panel
with all of you next week. Our next question
comes from Scott Cochrane. As has been said,
out of 44 proposals that have gone to the Australian
public in referendums, 36 have been unsuccessful, including John Howard’s
pre-amble proposition defeated in the 1999 referendum. History has shown
that to be successful requires bilateral support
from politicians and the non-political organisations
who are seeking change and, more importantly than ever,
the media. The use of the term “Invasion Day”
to refer to Australia Day and some councils not celebrating
Australia Day are viewed dimly by popular
and conservative media which, whether you accept it or not, speaks to a large percentage
of the Australian population. Should the path to reconciliation look to unite Australians
instead of divide them? Pat, I’ll start with you.
Yes. (CHUCKLES) Linda?
I could say yes too. Um, what we’re really
talking about there – and thank you for your comment – is that really important
third component of the Uluru Statement
and that was truth telling. And the point that you’ve made
about Invasion Day is a point that me
and some other people in this room have dealt with for a very long time
in the education arena. And it depends
on what your perspective is. Certainly, for First Nations people
it was an invasion. Look at the outcomes
of what it has meant. I’d like to also say that
in relation to the Uluru Statement and addressing some
of those social justice issues, that is absolutely why
the recommendation is there in relation to the voice. And you are correct to say that there are many, many
big outfits like Rio Tinto, ACOSS,
the Business Council of Australia, BHP and others, Qantas, that have come out
and supported the voice. But there are also many people,
as you’ve pointed out as well, that perhaps are not in favour of the sorts of things
I’ve referred to and that is why this has to be
a bipartisan approach and that is why
it will be bipartisan and that is also why there needs
to be, in any process like this, a major education campaign. I think Scott Morrison will find himself
on the wrong side of history. Jacinta. Yes? Would you like to answer
that question? Um, well, again, we’ve heard
how the process took place to come about to the Uluru Statement and there are those
who have got behind it and backed it because of the fact
that it’s come across as though this is the decision, this is what all Aboriginal people
want in this country, when that’s not the case at all. As you know,
there were dissenting voices during that process
and the people that were involved weren’t exactly elected
to represent their people. So, it’s a lovely idea
and it’s a lovely statement… Just quickly going to one core part
of that question, do you think the language
around Australia Day is putting what Scott Morrison
would call “the quiet Australians” off this whole idea? I think there’s an element of that,
certainly, and I think there’s an element
of the fact that I think we,
as Indigenous people, need to, as part of the healing process,
also forgive and probably not hold non-Indigenous
Australians responsible for what’s happened in our past but true reconciliation
is a two-way street. It requires both sides of us
to come to an understanding. I mean, personally, I see myself
as a product of reconciliation. I don’t think you can get
any more reconciled than I am, given I’ve got a Warlpiri mother
and a white Australian father. But we can be doing that
a lot better certainly and absolutely
it involves truth-telling. And truth-telling in such a way that we understand
our country’s history and its complexities. And not in such a way
that it’s used as a tool to hold non-Indigenous Australians to account for what’s happened
in our past, but to create understanding. We can never have
too much understanding. But, Tony, the corollary
of that is – and I don’t disagree
with what’s been said – but you have to take it
a step further and that is that the history
of the last 230-odd years is part of the reason
we see so much poverty, so much sickness and so much
destitution in our communities now and the intergenerational trauma
that Pat has referred to… SALLY: Welfare, as well. absolutely there and it is in part because
of the history which we’re all responsible for. Julian, it would be the easiest thing
in the world for a political leader
to grab an issue like this – and I’m not necessarily
talking about the Prime Minister, but any leader within the cabinet – and appeal to the worst angels
of our nature in the community. You could actually garnish
a lot of support by doing that, as we’ve seen right across the world. Do you fear that could happen in the lead-up
to this possible referendum? I don’t want to see that happen,
Tony. Do you fear it could happen?
Well, anything is possible. But I don’t think that our political
leaders on either side of parliament want to see that happen at all. And I think that’s why
they’ve been responsible in trying to get bipartisanship
on this process, trying to work together,
trying to find a way forward, because I think reconciliation, fundamentally, is about
bringing people together, addressing our history, but more importantly
addressing our future. And I think if people are focused
on the future – and we all want a better outcome for
Australia’s First Nations people, right across the country, we all want to see
longer life expectancies, better health
and education outcomes, lower incarceration rates,
lower suicide rates – there’s unity on those issues. And I think we’re very lucky
to have it and I think
we should capitalise on that. Quick final question for you. Now, you work very hard to get
constitutional conservatives on side with the idea of changing
the Constitution, to have a voice enshrined within it. Is that something
you’ll continue to fight for? I think we’ve got to continue
to work on this and I think what we’ve seen from both colleagues on the panel
this evening and also from your audience is that
there’s still a lot more work to do. And, you know,
this is a longer process… Is it something you personally
will continue to fight for? Absolutely, Tony. I’m committed
to constitutional recognition that involves, you know,
a recognition of some form of consultative mechanism
for Aboriginal people. OK. Sally, you’re the youngest person
ever to chair the APY Council. Yes. So I’m going to give you
the last word. Youngest-ever
and only the second woman. Hear, hear. Yay! (CLAPS)
And the APY Executive Council… (CHUCKLES) Thank you.
(APPLAUSE) I look at Linda and go,
“We need more women in politics.” I look at the Invasion Day,
and I also call it Survival Day, ’cause we’re still here
and we’re still surviving. If you think about the marches
that happened this year on January 26th, there were so many that came out
in support of changing the date, in support of all of that. But I feel like that’s such
a menial little thing for any politicians to get on and it takes up so much air space
because it’s… Like, I think there’s people
hating changing the date because they’re going to lose
a public holiday. You know, that’s it.
But then you also, like… It’s the squeaky wheel
that makes the loudest noise, that makes the biggest
sort of hoo-ha about it all. For us, what we want is to have…
This is history. Our history. Australian history. And this is our communities
that we’re still sitting in and we’re still surviving. But there was an invasion
that happened and we need to talk about that. We can still see that trauma. We can still see those issues
that are coming down. And it’s not a day that we sit
and go, “Yeah, let’s celebrate.” No, let’s think about this. Let’s recognise the importance
of this day and what happened. And in terms of the bigger issue, the biggest issue
that we’re talking about now, is this also,
from your point of view, a chance to make history now? Yes. I mean, we’re sick of waiting.
Let’s get on with it. Let’s start doing the job. (LAUGHS) A good, simple answer
to end the program with. That’s all we have time for tonight. Please thank our panel –
Sally Scales, Julian Leeser, Jacinta Price, Patricia Turner
and Linda Burney. Thank you. Thank you very much. You can continue the discussion
on Facebook and Twitter. Next week on Q&A,
our high school special with New South Wales Premier
Gladys Berejiklian, Labor’s Deputy Senate Leader
Kristina Keneally, and our four high-school panellists – Aurora Matchett of
St Patrick’s College Sutherland, Willoughby Duff
from Kennedy Baptist School in Perth, Varsha Yajman of Gosford High and William Gillett
of Loxton High School in regional South Australia. Till next Monday’s
high school special, we bid you goodnight. (APPLAUSE) Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation


  • Intredasting Videos

    what's institutional racism if not the direct application of a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular group, based on race? The only way to stop "institutional racism" and inequality is to literally make everyone equal under the law AKA "one nation".

    End the division of sovereignty.

    End the division of racial privilege.

    Remove aboriginal preference.

  • Rostovtzeff

    uff with "indigenous" in the title you know these comments gonna be a sh**show soon. Reactionary imperialist BS comments incoming.

  • Jack Jones

    Democrats never stopped being the racists, they simply expanded it to black and brown, and redesigned white racism as people who think blacks are mentally inferior and need smarter people helping them.

  • ThatBadGuy

    If Australia was given to the Aboriginals and all whites and other migrants left the country, how long would it be until they were back to eating each-other and eating grubs? What is the expectation of being recognised in the constitution? that suddenly Aboriginal communities will no longer be rife with sexual abuse and drug addiction? This discussion is a waste of everyones time. Are they Australian or not? if yes, then they are recognised in the constitution as Australian citizens.

  • bullyoz1973

    A lot of Australians have also done it TOUGH over the past 200 years.
    Aboriginal people need to endear themselves to the general population with words, action, rhetoric instead of whingeing, accusing and complaining. I've offered you a road map that is quite simple.


    The Left use aboriginal issues to attack European Australian sovereignty. This isn't about real aboriginal issues but more to do with globalism and mass immigration.


    The (fake) aboriginal industry, diversity industry, domestic violence industry, climate change industry, human rights commission etc are all a drain on Australian tax dollars. Time to shut down these wasteful government programs and reduce taxes for Australians.

  • Rusty Kelly

    It's very, very disappointing that Noel Pearson, Ken Wyatt and Pat Dodson did a no-show. It became a second tier panel discussion.

  • cjh68

    So, Dodson, Pearson and Wyatt don’t turn up to a nationally televised debate on a key issue for their people. This says it all. On the most fundamental level, the ‘voice’ will have to be a group that is organised and turns up on time.

  • Hamish Davidson

    It’s high time a Constitution amendment be made to incorporate recognition our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters. Making it a political football and debating it at infinitum is little silly, this is a bi partisan issue. Just get it done and let’s be proud of what we have achieved. It’s well over due!

  • gruntydatsun

    If the aboriginal voice is not a third chamber then why didn't ANYONE explain WHY it isnt? I suspect we all know why……

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