Legislative Council: Thursday, March 23, 2023


First Nations Voice, Parliamentary Sitting

The Hon. C. BONAROS (14:46): Supplementary: does the Attorney-General, like many or indeed most of us in this place, consider those ancillary costs that he has referred to absolutely warranted given the very important nature of what we will be doing in this place on Sunday?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:46): I thank the honourable member for her question. The answer is yes, I do. As I have said in this chamber previously and as recently as yesterday, what this parliament is doing is truly nation leading. This will be the first jurisdiction anywhere in the Commonwealth of Australia to have an elected Aboriginal body providing a voice to parliament and a voice to government, and that part is important as well.

As I read in response to the question from the Hon. Justin Hanson, the federal Referendum Working Group has provided advice to the federal government that the federal government has accepted, and that will form part of the changes that are proposed to the federal constitution, providing that voice not just to the parliament but to the executive government. I think South Australia has a very long and proud tradition of democratic reforms and democratic firsts. Allowing women to vote and stand for parliament stands as one of the very early ones that we pioneered in South Australia.

I think it is a very proud and momentous day for South Australia to be leading the nation in these reforms, reforms that I know from discussions with my counterparts, ministers for Aboriginal affairs in other states, both Labor and Liberal ministers, they are keen to replicate as well. So, yes, in answer, I think it is a historic day for South Australia that deserves some form of attention being drawn to it.