Monday, 11 September 2023
Questions without Notice
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
I established a timetable that was very clear for this process, and if people had examined the parliamentary sitting timetable, they could have worked out the date when the referendum was due to be held as well. I said that we would work through the referendum working group and the constitutional advisory group to develop the legislation that was introduced into this house in March, and then we had a parliamentary committee examine that before June. Before even the March date—last year, the National Party declared their opposition—and before the parliamentary committee process went through, the Liberal Party declared their opposition. But the Leader of the Opposition sat on this side of the chamber and voted for the legislation, as did a majority of senators. They voted for the legislation. Under the legislation, the referendum must be held between two months and 33 days and six months from the passing of that legislation, which was passed in June. I announced, so as to give people more notice than was necessary, the 14 October date. The referendum will take place on that day, and Australians will get to determine their view on that date.
The Leader of the Opposition has since then committed, if he's ever elected Prime Minister, to have another referendum if this referendum is defeated. So he wants this debate to just go on ad infinitum in spite of the fact that a majority of the process—