Tasmanian Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell has gone nuclear over a call to set up an indigenous “voice to parliament,” labelling it a complete waste of time.
“Such a body can do nothing,” the veteran Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre spokesman said.
“It cannot make laws, cannot deliver services, administer any revenue and would supervise nothing.
“It can only give advice to the parliament which can be ignored, rejected or, highly unlikely, be accepted.”
Mr Mansell foreshadowed a campaign against the idea, proposed by the Referendum Council and being considered by the Turnbull Government and federal Labor.
“We will not support the constitutionally entrenched body and will actively campaign against it,” Mr Mansell said.
“Instead, we will call on the federal parliament to establish a new national representative body, begin the process of treaty making and establish a truth and justice commission.”
Comment was being sought from the Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation, which recently clashed with the TAC over how many Tasmanians were truly Aboriginal.
The Referendum Council made the “voice to parliament” recommendation in a report following on from the Uluru Statement, which was delivered at the Indigenous Summit in May.
The voice to parliament was the Referendum Council’s sole major recommendation to parliament.
Previous reports had backed recognising indigenous people in the constitution.
Constitutional change would require a successful referendum.
Mr Mansell said the national indigenous dialogue meetings had supported a national body.
“That support, mostly in anticipation of a new national body that would take over funding of Aboriginal programs and set priorities, was thought to warrant security in the constitution,” he said.
“The Referendum Council report mistakenly twists that position into support for a constitutionally entrenched advisory body, an entirely different concept.”
“By fobbing Aborigines off to the states on treaty, the Referendum Council report all but ignored the call by 250 Aboriginal delegates at Uluru for a treaty, a truth and justice commission and a national body.
“These were the priorities that came out of Uluru, but which got sidelined in the Referendum Council report.”
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