Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe labels Voice to Parliament referendum a ‘waste of money’ 


Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe unleashes on Anthony Albanese’s plan to establish an Indigenous Voice to Parliament: ‘It’s a waste of money’

  • Greens Senator reignites debate over Indigenous Voice to Parliament proposal
  • Believes the costs involved would be better spent on indigenous communities
  • Lidia Thorpe yet to decide whether she’ll support the proposed referendum
  • Comments prompted the Greens to reassure they will negotiate ‘in good faith’

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe has unleashed a scathing attack on Anthony Albanese’s Indigenous Voice to Parliament as a ‘wasted exercise’ and believes the money would be better spent elsewhere.

The Prime Minister wants to enshrine the Voice, a group that would advise government on how policies would affect Indigenous people, in the Constitution. 

The indigenous senator is yet to decide whether she will personally support or oppose the Voice.

But she believes the costs involved in a possible referendum would be better spent on what’s needed in indigenous communities.

‘I think it’s a waste of money. It’s a wasted exercise. You don’t need a referendum to have a treaty,’ Senator Thorpe told Nine Newspapers.

Lidia Thorpe (pictured) has labelled the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament as a wasted exercise and that the money would be better spent on indigenous communities

She added the Labor government has never reached out to her to discuss the Voice.

The federal government will need the Greens’ support to pass a bill authorising a referendum if the Coalition refuses to back the proposal.

‘Given we don’t even know what this [Voice] looks like or what the [referendum] question is going to be or any of the detail, it’s pretty hard to say whether you can support something you know nothing about,’ Senator Thorpe said.

She hinted she could give her support it if recommendations are put in that will save indigenous lives.

The senator’s comments have prompted Greens leader Adam Bandt to reassure the party is recommitted to negotiating ‘in good faith’.

‘The federal government can make substantial improvements to the lives of First Nations peoples immediately, as we work to progress all elements of the Uluru Statement,’ the spokesman said.

Senator Thorpe is yet to decide whether she'll personally support the proposed referendum of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured)

Senator Thorpe is yet to decide whether she’ll personally support the proposed referendum of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) 

While Coalition senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price is opposed to the Voice, Opposition leader Peter Dutton says he’s keeping ‘an open mind’. 

The Prime Minister wants all Australians to have ownership over the referendum process and give time for a debate about what an Indigenous voice would mean.

‘It’s a pretty simple proposition here to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our constitution, to create a voice, a body that will be consulted,’ Mr Albanese told Sydney radio 2SM on Tuesday.

‘It’s not a third chamber of parliament, it’s not a decision-making body, it’s simply a matter of good manners and respect by recognising people in the constitution and then consulting them on matters that directly affect them.’

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal (centre) is pictured with Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney (left) and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right)

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal (centre) is pictured with Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney (left) and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right)

He also defended his decision to enlist the support of former US basketball star Shaquille O’Neal when the pair met last weekend.

It prompted Senator Thorpe to blast O’Neal’s attempted promotion of The Voice given his ties to the gambling industry, which badly affects Aboriginal communities in particular.

‘I mean he’s here for a speaking tour, good on him, and he’s also here for PointsBet which is about gambling, which is about destroying families,’ Ms Thorpe told 3AW radio on Monday.

‘He’s putting his nose into business that has nothing to do with him.

‘He does not understand what is going on in this country and he should not be commenting.

‘You don’t need a referendum to have a treaty.’

You don't need a referendum to have a treaty,' Senator Lidia Thorpe  said

You don’t need a referendum to have a treaty,’ Senator Lidia Thorpe  said

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