State MPs won’t toe federal line on Voice

·2-min read
NSW Liberals
NSW Opposition MPs will not be bound on a party stance during the referendum on the Voice. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Jeremy Piper

The NSW Coalition will not be bound on a party-wide position on the referendum to establish an Indigenous Voice to parliament.

On Wednesday, Opposition Leader Mark Speakman confirmed that Liberal and National MPs could choose to campaign freely on either position.

While the exact date is yet to be established, Australian voters will head to the polls this year between October and December. A yes vote will allow the government to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice advisory body.

“Members will be able to campaign freely for either the yes or no campaign, should they choose, in line with their own views and those of their community,” Mr Speakman said.

“The current proposal from the federal Labor government is subject to a parliamentary committee process which is due to deliver its report and recommendations next week.”

NSW Liberals
NSW Liberal and Nationals MPs will be able to campaign on either position on the Voice. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Jeremy Piper

Mr Speakman said the NSW Coalition was “committed to reconciliation and improving the lives of Indigenous Australians” across NSW.

This is demonstrated in our record investment in government through the National Agreement on Closing the Gap,” he said.

“We remain committed to working in partnership with local Indigenous communities to improve decision making and deliver better outcomes.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has opposed the Voice. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Martin Ollman

His federal counterpart, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, has opposed The Voice, with the party following suit. The controversial decision led to two Liberal MPs, Ken Wyatt and Julian Leeser, quitting the party.

According to the federal budget released on Tuesday, $364.6 million will be spent over three years from 2023-24 to deliver the referendum, including $10.6m on the production of information pamphlets alone.