Scientists challenge Australians to answer Indigenous Voice call
A review has cleared 28 paintings after allegations about their provenance were raised. Photo: AAP
The peak body representing more than 100,000 science and technology workers has thrown its support behind a Voice to Parliament as politicians spar over the mechanics of the referendum.
Australian charities have also been urged to get involved in the upcoming campaign.
Voters will cast their ballot in a referendum later this year to decide whether to enshrine the voice and recognise Indigenous people in the constitution.
Science and Technology Australia, which represents 115,000 of the nation’s workers, has announced it will formally back the “yes” case.
Chief executive Misha Schubert said history had its eyes on the country.
“Now all Australians will have a chance to answer that historic call when we get to vote in the referendum later this year,” she said.
The organisation’s president, Professor Mark Hutchinson, said the peak science body shared a vision of national unity.
“We want all Australians to see the inspiring first cultures of this land as a great source of shared national pride – and a voice will bring us another step closer to that goal,” he said.
In a statement, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission advised that the sector could weigh in on the debate without organisations jeopardising their registration.
Commissioner Sue Woodward said charities could take part in campaigning for either side, but organisations must be able to demonstrate why they think their advocacy furthers their charitable purposes.
But before the vote is held, the government is aiming to pass legislation proposing changes to how referendums are carried out.
Speaking on the referendum machinery bill, opposition frontbencher Angus Taylor said the coalition wanted equal government funding to the “yes” and “no” cases in addition to the establishment of official campaign organisations.
“It’s clear that if we’re to have a strong process for the referendum, we should be ensuring there is a structure in place for those processes and regulatory bodies to start their work,” he said.
The government is seeking bi-partisan support from the coalition on the voice to increase the chances of the referendum passing.
Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney said the government had made a significant concession by agreeing for pamphlets to be sent to households outlining both cases.
“We hope the Opposition sees this and meets us halfway,” she said.
Labor backflipped on taxpayer funding for the pamphlets after strong lobbying from the Coalition.
A $9.5 million civics education and awareness program will also be rolled out about the Voice to enable voters to make an informed choice.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson announced she will join former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and former Labor minister Gary Johns to launch a bipartisan “no” campaign in Tamworth this month.
“Make no mistake, Black nationalism activists will not stop with the Voice,” Senator Hanson said.
“They will continue until they have their own nation within Australia.”