Legislative Council: Wednesday, September 27, 2023



First Nations Voice to Parliament

The Hon. S.L. GAME (16:45): I move:

That this council—

1. Acknowledges that the South Australian First Nations Voice was not democratically agreed to by the people of South Australia;

2. Recognises that the federal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice referendum campaign has caused deep division and uncertainty in the community.

As the federal government continues to trip and stumble its way to the October 14 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice referendum, many South Australians are only just realising that we already have a Voice in South Australia: a Voice that South Australians did not get the chance to vote on and a Voice that is more about the legacy of politicians than it is about achieving real solutions to long-term problems.

These problems are exacerbated by the grinding bureaucracy that lacks the competency to deliver the very programs it rolls out. So what does the Malinauskas government do to remedy its own bureaucratic failings? It creates another enormous arm of government, so heavy it will lift up no-one; that is, of course, unless you are employed by the government to help run it at the taxpayers' expense.

Our state-based Voice, passed in March this year, lacked any genuine consultation with the South Australian people. It is little wonder the government did not bother to explain the bureaucratic elements of the Voice: over 100 members and, due to the potentially ever-expanding nature of the committees, potentially many more in the future.

The emotional manipulation and play on compassion have been deliberate and disingenuous from the start. It has been appalling at every level the attempt to guilt, shame and indoctrinate Australians. This has come from federal and state government, councils, schools, corporations and activist groups, but what makes it worse is that this added layer of bureaucracy of unprecedented size and cost will not assist those it claims to represent.

There are no tangible solutions here. It is more of the same, but just further out of control. It is time to abolish all race-based laws and policies, assisting all those equally based on need, not the colour of your skin. Many of the people pushing for a Voice are the same people who are part of the existing network of Indigenous groups. They are employed in government departments and agencies. They have been involved in establishing funding agreements like Closing the Gap—the very same people who have failed to close the gap.

We have a Prime Minister who is so distracted by his failed attempts to properly articulate why we apparently need a Voice, he has lost focus on what really matters. People are doing it tough in a climate of spiralling costs of living and high interest rates. Ordinary Australians are struggling to make ends meet, Australians who need a government directing its efforts to lowering inflation and looking after our most vulnerable.

Should the Prime Minister be sent a clear message on October 14 to get on with the job of running the nation instead of inventing new ways to drop taxpayer dollars into a bottomless pit of division and failure, I call on the Malinauskas government to follow suit and listen to the people it represents.

If the referendum fails, as it appears it is going to, I will call on the Malinauskas Labor government to listen to the Australian people and repeal the First Nations Voice Act 2023. In the unfortunate event that the referendum is successful, I will also call on the Malinauskas government to repeal the First Nations Voice Act 2023 to avoid the ridiculous situation of having a state-based Voice on top of a federally based Voice.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.