I seek leave to move a motion to provide for the consideration of general business notice of motion No. 266, relating to the Voice to Parliament, as circulated. For the information of senators, the motion provides that my general business notice of motion be considered immediately and have precedence over all other business until determined.
Leave not granted.
Pursuant to contingent notice standing in my name, I move:
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent me moving a motion to provide for the consideration of a matter, namely a motion to provide that a motion relating to the consideration of general business notice of motion No. 266 may be moved immediately.
Once again, the government has chosen to reorder Senate business to eliminate time allocated to One Nation to debate legislation or other matters of importance. Small parties like One Nation are only allocated a small amount of private senators' and general business time each year. For the government, with the support of the Greens, the coalition and crossbenchers like Senator David Pocock, to consistently remove our time, which has been agreed upon by negotiation months in advance, is unacceptable. That's why the Senate should support this suspension of standing orders and deal with my motion now. How you're treating One Nation is how you're treating the Australian people. You're making promises and agreements and you're not staying true to your word.
It raises an obvious question: what are you trying to hide from? Is it that you don't want the Senate to decide whether the Minister for Indigenous Australians has misled the Australian people on the powers of the Voice to Parliament? Labor are having a lot of trouble keeping their Voice messages straight. They're under enormous pressure to come clean on what they're planning for the Voice, because the Australian people want details. The Australian people deserve these details. It's not reasonable to demand they approach such a monumental change without knowing the details and their implications.
As I have already revealed in this parliament on several occasions, the potential implications are as disturbing as they are profound: a minority of Australians paying half income tax based on race; a minority of Australians having exclusive rights to beaches, national parks, land and water resources and charging fees for access based on race—and this has already happened; seats in parliament reserved exclusively for a minority of Australians based on race, which was one of the outcomes of the Indigenous meetings that they've had; and the creation of a state from land under native title exclusively for a minority of Australians based on race. Labor cannot deny that these and other demands have been raised by Indigenous groups and organisations in discussions led by the previous government following the release of the Uluru statement. It cannot be denied that these and other demands would effectively make the vast majority of Australian second-class citizens in their own country based on race. Try as they might, Labor can't deny the Voice's capacity to make these demands according to the wording of the Prime Minister's constitutional amendment. Labor can't even get their facts straight on whether the Voice could demand that the date of Australia Day be changed.
Earlier this week, the minister for Indigenous Australians in the other place said:
I can tell you what the Voice will not be giving advice on. It won't be giving advice on parking tickets. It won't be giving advice on changing Australia Day.
This contradicts Senator Watt's statement in this chamber the previous week:
The Voice will have the capacity to decide for itself what matters it makes representations on …
So who's telling the truth? According to the experts, Senator Watt is right and Minister Burney is wrong. Minister Burney may claim disinterest in the so-called culture wars, but she can't offer any guarantee the Voice will show the same disinterest. Minister Burney may claim interest in closing the gaps, but she can't offer any compelling evidence that the Voice could or would achieve this.
The Prime Minister this week tried hard to downplay the powers of the Voice, and no wonder. Some of the more excitable and extreme activists on his own hand-picked Referendum Working Group have gone off script and shown us the enormous potential power they expect the Voice to have. Where does the truth lie? It's not a truth that we're likely to hear before the referendum, and that's why Australians must vote no.
That the question be now put.
The question is that the question be now put.
Date and time: 3:29 PM on 2023-06-22
Senator Pocock's vote: Aye
Total number of "aye" votes: 37
Total number of "no" votes: 3
Total number of abstentions: 36
Adapted from information made available by theyvoteforyou.org.au