AML Submission to the Parliament on the Voice
19 April 2023
The Committee Secretary
Joint Select Committee on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum
PO Box 6201
Canberra ACT 2600
SUBMISSION TO THE ENQUIRY ON THE ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER VOICE REFERENDUM
The Australian Monarchist League is not involved with any political party or group either for or against the Voice to the Parliament. We are a totally independent incorporated association with a database exceeding 55,000. Our mandate is to protect the Australian Constitution and the Crown within it.
Our concern with regard to the Voice predominantly relates to implications that the inclusion of the proposed three paragraphs may have on the Australian Constitution and to the smooth running of governance. For instance:
1) Paragraph 3 of the proposed inclusion into the Constitution states:
“3. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions powers and procedures.”
We believe that the ‘composition, functions powers and procedures’ of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice should be fully explained to the Australian people prior to the referendum. We express concern about the constitutional inclusion of ‘powers’ and would ask what ‘powers’ is the Voice to be constitutionally imbued with?
2) The Prime Minister has stated on several occasions that the Uluru Statement from the Heart will be adopted in full. Is it proposed that the other terms of the Statement be introduced under the constitutional inclusion of ‘powers’ which have not yet been explained.
The Uluru Statement specifies that the sovereignty of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has never been ceded or extinguished and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown. We ask, how can such sovereignty, if constitutionally recognised, be based with an entity or entities other than the Crown and if so with which entity or entities and how will this work alongside the existing sovereignty of all Australian people?
3) We are concerned about the inclusion in paragraph 2 of the words “and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth’’ which members of the government’s First Nations Referendum Working and Engagement Groups have informed the media would include the Governor-General as well as any official forming a part of the Executive of the Commonwealth. That would appear to include the public service. That ambit of operation is far wider than could possibly be necessary.
We would highly recommend that these words be deleted.
4) The question that will be put to the Australian people is whether they agree with: “A Proposed Law: to alter the constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”
Currently the Constitution refers to “people” (lower case “p”) in three ways:
- the people of a State;
- the people of the Commonwealth;
- the people of a particular race.
Will the words ‘First Peoples of Australia’ be included in any way in the Australian Constitution? If so how will the term ‘First Peoples’ (upper case) relate to the other peoples mentioned in the Constitution and what will be the constitutional consequences of this specific language?
5) Since The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice is proposed to be a constitutionally enshrined representative body, we would request that the members thereof be required to swear or affirm allegiance in accordance with section 42 of the Australian Constitution. This would, we believe, go a long way towards ensuring the equality of citizenship of all Australian peoples.
Furthermore we believe that section 44 should also apply to such members.
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