News readers are vocal as Opposition abstains from Voice vote


Dozens of Alice Springs News readers, in our readers’ comment columns, are canvassing diverging views about “Yes” or “No” in the referendum later this year.

Many submissions are well-informed and detailed, some express anger and disappointment with the proposals.

Our debate has been stared by prominent Territorian Ted Egan, 90 years old and for three quarters of a century a player in, and an articulate voice on social and political affairs, as well as a popular entertainer and composer.

Meanwhile the CLP Opposition is abstaining from a vote in the NT Parliament about the Voice: “We want the Federal Government to come to the Territory and sit down with Territorians and explain what the Voice is and how it will make our lives better,” says a media release.

“To date, there has been no engagement with people living in our communities. We want every Territorian to be fully informed.”

The Opposition claims the Government’s position is influenced by Federal Labor which is telling Chief Minister Natasha Fyles “how to do her job, just like they told the Chief Minister how to do her job in Alice Springs”.

Below are links to our recent reports, opinion pieces and readers’ comments about the Voice to Parliament, Truth Telling and recognition of Aborigines in the Constitution.

Voice: Voters want chapter and verse now

Kids trouble: The government has to fix it, says Mayor

Voice signals claims by 200 nations for dispossession, genocide, 200+ years of rent

Voice: People decide, then Parliament fills in the details

Pushing the Voice in 1.3 million square kilometres

Low voter turnout puts need for Voice in doubt

Voice: A rebadged ATSIC for the Constitution?

What Uluru Statement?

Captain Cook didn’t follow King’s orders

Voice may ‘lead to constitutionally enforced racism which is absolutely abhorrent’

Hapless closing the gap going round and round

PHOTO AT TOP: CLP parliamentarians with Leader Lia Finocchiaro in the middle.


  1. It is very important that some FACTS be laid out immediately.
    The Prime Minister said these things at Garma (widely reported in the media).
    What question is likely in the Referendum?
    “We should consider asking our fellow Australians something as simple, but something as clear, as this:
    Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?
    A straightforward proposition.
    A simple principle.
    A question from the heart.”
    What is likely to be added to the Constitution?
    “Our starting point is a recommendation to add three sentences to the Constitution, in recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of Australia:
    1. There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
    2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to Parliament and the Executive Government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
    3. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
    These draft provisions can be seen as the next step in the discussion about constitutional change.
    This may not be the final form of words – but I think it’s how we can get to a final form of words.”
    More recently some details about the architecture of The Voice have been revealed for discussion, remembering this will be a matter for the Parliament if the Referendum is successful.
    NITV reported:
    “The detail that exists on the Voice comes from the comprehensive report co-authored by Professors Tom Calma and Marcia Langton.
    While it might change it the future, this is the structure being proposed by that report.
    The first thing to understand is that the Voice will actually exist at two levels: there will be a National Voice and multiple Local and Regional Voices.
    Let’s talk about the National Voice first.
    The National Voice will have 24 members: Two from each state and territory, five from remote communities, two from the Torres Strait, and one representing Torres Strait Islanders living on the mainland.
    There must be a gender balance amongst the members; individuals will serve four-year terms (and can only serve twice), and two full-time co-chairs will be elected by the members themselves.
    The members will be elected by the Local and Regional Voices.
    There will be 35 local Voices representing districts around the country.
    Every single one will be individually designed and run by the communities they represent.
    This reflects a fact that has been ignored for too long: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are many and varied.
    Each has its own unique culture, and many have specific needs. The people living in those communities know what they need best.
    Over the years of consultations and inquiries that have taken place into the Voice, the success of the Local Voices has been recognised as key to the success of the Voice overall.”
    In previous articles in this publication, I have drawn attention to remarks made by former Chief Justices of the High Court in order to reassure readers.
    Unfortunately, there are many bush lawyers amongst us who continue to press their own legal opinions.
    [ED – Mr Beadman also provided a comment on February 14.]

  2. The only fact involved is that the Australian Constitution concerns itself with all Australians and does not discriminate in regard to any particular race of people on any matter. These matters are dealt with by Government by normal processes on a day to day basis.

  3. I have no problem incorporating in the preamble to our Constitution a recognition of the first inhabitants of the country. However the Voice is a step too far because it creates two classes of citizens. We are all Australians. The consequences cannot be foreseen.
    Yes, a lot still needs to be done, but I know Aboriginal people are capable to be part of it.
    As the old saying goes: It takes two to tango.


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