Legislative Council: Wednesday, April 10, 2024


First Nations Voice To Parliament

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:31): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs regarding the State Voice to Parliament.

Leave granted.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: A number of successful candidates for the State Voice currently work for or advise government on issues regarding Aboriginal affairs. One of the elected Voice members for the central ward is listed on their LinkedIn profile as currently employed as a senior policy officer with Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation at the Attorney-General's Department. My questions to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs are:

1. What advice does the Attorney-General believe this person will give that he doesn't already give as part of his senior role in government?

2. Does the Attorney endorse giving particular people within Aboriginal policy development effectively two roles and therefore two voices?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:32): I thank the honourable member for her question. The honourable member points out that there is one public sector employee who was elected to the Voice. I can inform the honourable member there were, amongst the 46, 13 public sector employees who were elected to the various South Australian Voices.

I am proud that we have a diverse representation of Aboriginal people, from the Wirangu and Mirning country in the far west, the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara country in the far north, Boandik and Ngarrindjeri in the far south and all points in between, providing advice to the South Australian government, the parliament, on a whole range of issues.

I am further very pleased that just today I think 44 of the 46 elected representatives who could make it were not just in Parliament House but have been on North Terrace at various institutions having orientation roles and initial discussions about their roles. I particularly want to place on record my thanks to other members of this parliament, this chamber and the other chamber, who met with elected members of the Voice, spoke with elected members of the Voice and had a chance to be there this morning when they all got together for the very first time.

As I have explained in this chamber before, there are members of many government boards and committees who have roles in the public sector. If there is any possible conflict in what they do in the public sector and any role that they have on one of the various boards and committees or, in this case, on an advisory body called the SA First Nations Voice to Parliament, the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment has and will continue to provide advice on how to deal with that.