Pearson calls out PM's "lying"
The Prime Minister has been accused of lying in his rejection of a proposed Indigenous voice to parliament.
Indigenous leader Noel Pearson says Malcolm Turnbull had suggested he supported the proposal in 2015, which was rejected this year.
The Government now says the plan to embed an Indigenous voice in parliament was “too ambitious”.
After the rejection, Mr Turnbull said the work of the Indigenous advisory body on the Uluru Statement was “not consistent with all of the work that had been done on the recognition agenda previously”.
He said creating a mandatory office to represent one of Australia’s most disadvantaged communities is “contrary to the principles of equality and citizenship in Australia”.
Mr Turnbull believes it would be more appropriate to increase Indigenous representation in the parliament through the normal channels.
“All Australians, whether they are a first Australian whose forebears have been here for 60,000 years, or whether they’ve just got their citizenship in a ceremony last week, have the same right to vote for, stand for and serve in our parliament,” Turnbull said.
But Mr Pearson has told the Australian: “He is lying; the fact is that he once encouraged me in relation to the voice.
“The drafting of the recommendations was done exclusively by [constitutional lawyer and University of New South Wales pro vice- chancellor] Megan Davis and Murray Gleeson, a former chief justice of the high court.
“If there’s insufficient detail or questions about whether it complied with the terms of reference and so on, that is down to the former chief justice of the high court – is he really saying that?”
Over a thousand signatures, including that of former Australian of the year Fiona Stanley have been added to a joint statement calling the rejection of the Uluru Statement “potentially compounds intergenerational traumas and their consequences” for Indigenous Australians, and demanding it be reversed.