Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 08, 2023


First Nations Voice to Parliament

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:35): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Leader of the Government regarding the proposed Voice bill in South Australia.

Leave granted.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: Your proposal for a Voice in South Australia seeks to elect First Nations people for a local and state Voice to parliament. According to the legislation a person will be taken to be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent if the person is biologically descended from the persons who inhabited Australia or the Torres Strait Islands, as the case requires, before European settlement. My questions to the leader are:

1. How will you verify the descent of a person voting in and being elected to a local or state Voice? Will they need to prove their Aboriginal heritage?

2. What will the ramifications be for providing false or misleading information?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:36): I thank the member for her question. The bill will be formally tabled tomorrow and we will have, as I think I have indicated, all of the next sitting week, for as long as it takes for second readings and the committee stage to fully examine the bill.

I don't have a copy of it in front of me but, from memory, set down is the test that stems from the High Court in the Mabo case and was, I think, a similar test that has been used for many government departments in terms of Aboriginality. To be able to vote there will be a declaration required under how the scheme is intended to work, and there will be penalties that apply, the same as false and misleading information on a statutory declaration.