Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 07, 2023


First Nations Voice to Parliament

The Hon. S.L. GAME (15:01): I seek leave to make a brief explanation prior to addressing a question to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on the First Nations Voice to Parliament.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.L. GAME: According to the government's draft First Nations Voice Bill 2022, there appears to be no requirement for the state First Nations Voice to address parliament, nor are they required to produce an annual report. As outlined in this proposal, the government intends to establish a secretariat for the local and state First Nations Voices, with provision for an unknown amount of resourcing in order to carry out its functions.

The draft bill makes pains to stipulate that neither the local or state First Nations Voices are agencies or instrumentalities of the Crown and, as such, will not be considered public sector agencies under the Public Sector Act 2009. That act requires each public sector agency to present a report on the agency's operations to the agency's minister annually. An annual report must be, and I quote:

…accurate, comprehensive, deals with all significant issues affecting the agency and is written and presented in a manner that aids ready comprehension.

My questions to the Aboriginal affairs minister are:

1. Why has the government chosen to exempt local and First Nations Voices from the requirement under the Public Sector Act?

2. Why is the government not imposing a requirement on the state First Nations Voice to either deliver an annual report or to address the parliament?

3. If a state First Nations Voice determines not to provide an annual report or address parliament, how will the Voice be accountable to parliament and the people for appropriating taxpayers' money to carry out its functions?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:02): I thank the honourable member for her question. I am pleased to let the honourable member know that—I think the honourable member is referring to a draft bill—in fact, the final bill is now public. The final bill will be introduced here on Thursday, and I am sure when the honourable member reads the final bill she will have all her questions answered.