Legislative Council: Thursday, July 06, 2023


First Nations Voice To Parliament

The Hon. L.A. HENDERSON (15:17): Supplementary question: the minister has said that he listened. Does he concede that he and his government did not listen to the community when they rushed through this legislation at the start of the year?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:18): I was tempted to answer in a word, no, but I will be a bit more expansive than that. The consultation that occurred with the Aboriginal community in the preparation of this bill is the most extensive consultation that has ever occurred in this state with Aboriginal people and Aboriginal communities. There was consultation that the commissioner undertook from the APY lands to Ceduna, to Coober Pedy, to Mount Gambier, to Whyalla and all points in between. There was consultation about how a model might look.

After that round of consultation occurred throughout the state, a draft bill was developed and a second round of consultation occurred. A second round of consultation occurred that informed the bill that went to parliament. Let's just for a moment contrast this with the bill that the former government put into parliament, the Aboriginal Representative Body Bill. From memory, I think it had five or six days of consultation for a similar body—five or six days.

The Hon. L.A. HENDERSON: Point of order: standing order 186. The minister's current response is irrelevant to the current legislation question before the parliament.

The PRESIDENT: It is not a point of order. That is your opinion; it is not mine. Conclude your remarks, please, Attorney, so we can move on.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I thank the honourable member for opening up the standing orders. She has picked one and she has had a go, so that is great. We think this is important. We have listened to the views of the Aboriginal community and commissioners—the Electoral Commissioner and the Commissioner for First Nations Voice—and have changed the date, which stands in exceptionally stark contrast to how the former Liberal government previously went about putting in a bit of legislation.