Linda Burney ‘emotional’ as Voice bill heads for vote

Linda Burney says every death in custody is a "heartbreaking tragedy for families and communities".

Linda Burney says every death in custody is a "heartbreaking tragedy for families and communities". Photo: AAP

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney says she is “emotional” as the voice to parliament legislation is set to pass parliament.

The Senate on Monday will hold a vote to finalise the form of the referendum and the proposed constitutional change.

Once passed, the six-month time limit on when the referendum can be held will also start.

The government has flagged the referendum to establish an Indigenous voice will be held between October and December.

Ms Burney described the day of the vote as “momentous”.

“I’m feeling quite emotional actually,” she told ABC Radio ahead of the vote.

“Then we will see the campaigns get into full swing.”

While the Coalition has spoken out against the Indigenous voice, most senators will vote to set up the referendum to allow the public to have their say.

But some party members have been designated to vote against the bill, which will allow them to outline arguments for a ‘no’ vote in pamphlets that will be sent out to all Australian households.

Ms Burney supported Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s description of the voice as being “modest” while also bringing about structural change.

“When you think about the fact that Aboriginal people have been subjected to such difficulty over a long period of time, you realise it’s generous and it’s modest,” she said.

The minister said the referendum was a “history making exercise”.

Nationals Leader David Littleproud said he did not support wording for the ‘no’ case in the referendum pamphlet that included language such as “racialise” or describing the voice as a “smokescreen”.

“I’m not prepared to put my weight behind those sort of words,” he told ABC Radio.

“I don’t think that would advance a mature discussion, create the respectful environment for Australians to make a personal decision about this, and I intend to use my influence in that.”

Mr Littleproud conceded the coalition had failed in its almost decade in power to take the necessary steps to improve outcomes for Indigenous people.

“I’m not afraid to put my hand up and say that governments of persuasions of the past have failed on this, and this is where we’ve continued to repeat the mistakes of the past.”


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