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  • Rikki Lambert

Northwestern Victorian indigenous people want relief, not voice referendum: Webster

Nationals-aligned Northern Territory senator Jacinta Price (left) voiced opposition to the proposal on Tuesday

The federal member for Mallee says indigenous leaders she has spoken with in her community are more focused on health and cost-of-living support rather than a divisive debate on an indigenous voice to federal parliament.

The federal Nationals declared at a Tuesday morning press conference that they would not support the Albanese government's proposed referendum on installing an indigenous voice to federal parliament.

South Australian Labor has already drafted legislation to codify their voice to parliament with consultation closing in early January.

Speaking with Flow on Tuesday from Canberra, shadow assistant minister for regional development Anne Webster said:

"Talking with indigenous people in Mallee, and I will continue to do that - I want to hear what people feel and think and so forth - is that they believe - the indigenous leaders I am speaking to - their communities are more concerned about day to day issues like the cost of living, getting their kids to school, health issues than another bureaucratic layer to government. It's just not within their bailiwick, they're not interested in it, and those that are aware of the 'voice', they are concerned that it will be a voice - exactly as David Littleproud (National party leader) suggested - a voice for (suburban Sydney) Redfern, not a voice for those who live in rural and regional areas.
"One of the leaders I've spoken to, he is concerned Labor hasn't been transparent and there will be a further disconnect between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, that gets back to that racial divide that we don't want, they don't want."

Hear the full interview on the Flow podcast player below:

West Australian Nationals leader Mia Davies has criticised her federal counterparts for declaring they will oppose an Indigenous voice to parliament.

Ms Davies, the state's opposition leader, says her party will support the voice proposal put forward by the Albanese government and was caught unaware by David Littleproud's federal announcement on Tuesday.


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