Tuesday, 17 October 2023
Questions without Notice
Australian Constitution: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
My questions to the Prime Minister and concerns his failure yesterday and today to stand by his previous commitments to voice, treaty and truth. Last time Labor was in power its then prime minister, a mentor to the current Prime Minister, described climate change as 'the greatest moral challenge of our time' and then walked away from his commitment. Is this Prime Minister doing the same thing on voice, treaty and truth?
I thank the member for Groom for his question which, if I understand it right, was asking about actions of the Rudd government in 2009-10, where the opposition opposed action on climate change and were against it. They voted against any action on climate change not once but twice, along with—I'm sorry to have to raise this, but you know it's coming—the Greens political party. I just had to throw that in there. I got asked about that—it's a matter of history that it occurred.
If get this right, the criticism is about the referendum that we put to the Australian people, which those opposite promised to put to the Australian people at every election from 2007 on. Every leader of the Liberal Party, according to the Leader of the Opposition, said they would advance Constitutional recognition, but it didn't happen. They never put it to a referendum. So what we did was put it to a referendum
They opposed it and now I'm not quite sure what they are trying to get at. But it follows that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is asking a question about the views of Indigenous Australians—
Mr Speaker, on relevance, it was a very direct question: is the Prime Minister walking away from his commitment to Voice, Treaty and Truth just as his mentor Kevin Rudd similarly did? He cannot answer a simple question.
On the point of order, this was a question that went over decades—three of them. We are now in 2023 and the question went to what occurred in 2009. It was about Indigenous affairs, it was about climate change, it was about parliament, it was about referendums, and it was about Constitutional change. My point is I don't think it was very direct.
The Prime Minister will pause. Just to be clear, they were a number of moving parts to this question. The Prime Minister has one minute and 20 seconds remaining. The point of order on relevance has been made. I ask the Prime Minister to return to the question.
What we've had during this question time, incredibly, is that those opposite have sat in their tactics committee and said I know what we would do, we will ask questions about Kevin Rudd and we'll ask questions about the Indigenous Australians who supported a 'yes' campaign in the referendum—and who are disappointed that the referendum didn't get up—having opposed it and having spent months asking questions in here, some of which they knew were, quite frankly, absurd, about the Reserve Bank and other issues. Those opposite are now promising—depending on whether you watch the Sunrise or Today, depending on whether you tune into Channel 7 or Channel 9—they will have a second referendum during the next term, which the Leader of the Opposition says is their policy. But, then again, this is the Leader of the Opposition, who went into their party room and decided they wanted a local, regional and national Voice, and then came out and answered something different. I am a prime minister to who sticks to my commitments and says what I will do and then does it—which is why you don't recognise it.
Honourable members interjecting—