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Hopes and fears: which way forward for an Indigenous voice to Australia’s parliament?

Lorena Allam comments in The Guardian (1.12.18) on the push to establish an Indigenous ‘voice’ in the federal parliament, observing that Labor says it will realise the promise of the Uluru ‘statement of the heart’, but others fear a ‘dead end’.

‘Nothing is simple about constitutional reform and the creation of an Indigenous voice to parliament.

‘There are many different views on the best way to proceed, even as the current federal government remains hostile to proceeding at all.

‘So, for some in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, the chance that an Indigenous voice to parliament could come to life in the first term of a Labor government is a glimmer of hope. But others are worried the process could lead to “a dead end”.

‘The final report of the joint parliamentary committee on constitutional recognition was released this week – the latest in a long line of reviews – but this one was followed by Labor senator Pat Dodson’s declaration of what his side of politics intends to do in response, should they win government next year.

‘“We are going to embark on a pathway that involves making real what has come from the Uluru statement of the heart,” Dodson told Guardian Australia. “There’ll be a voice to parliament, there needs to be constitutional entrenchment of the voice and there’ll be a Makarrata commission to do truth-telling and agreement-making”.’

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