While reports about the referendum for the Voice pull in every direction, for, against and in between, the Parliament of Australia has announced that the Joint Select Committee on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum will commence its program of public hearings today in Canberra.
At its first hearing the Committee will hear evidence from representatives of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Indigenous Voice Co-design Process, Thomas Mayor and Kerry O’Brien, the Hon Robert French AC, and panels of eminent legal witnesses.
The Committee is inquiring into the provisions of the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 (Bill), introduced to the House by Hon Mark Dreyfus MP, Attorney-General on 30 March 2023.
Committee Chair Senator Nita Green said the Committee will be interested to focus its discussion on the question of whether the legislative provisions achieve what is intended and give effect to the Government’s stated objectives before it moves to a referendum.
‘The Committee looks forward to the contributions received from witnesses as it moves to regional centres and back to Canberra for its hearings.’
Programs for public hearings will be published on the Committee’s website as they are confirmed. The dates and locations are:
- Date: Friday, 14 April 2023
Location: Committee Room 2S1, Parliament House, Canberra
- Date: Monday, 17 April 2023
Location: Council Chambers, Orange
- Date: Wednesday, 19 April 2023
Location: Cairns Performing Arts Centre, Cairns
- Date: Friday, 28 April 2023
Location: Venue TBC, Perth
- Date: Monday, 1 May 2023
Location: Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra
Submissions are requested by COB Friday 21 April 2023. Further information about making a submission to a committee inquiry can be found here.
The Committee intends to hold public hearings. The dates and locations of hearings will be decided shortly and published as soon as possible.
Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the Committee’s website.