Greens leader Adam Bandt has stood by Senator Lidia Thorpe’s opposition to the Voice to Parliament despite the party’s likely support of the ‘Yes’ vote.
Ms Thorpe, the Greens’ First Nations spokesperson, argued Indigenous people “deserve better” than an advisory body during an “Invasion Day” rally in Melbourne.
“I sit in that parliament and every day they say they are sovereign. The colonial system and the colonisers say they are sovereign,” she told the crowd.
“You don’t go to someone else’s country and say you’re sovereign. We are sovereign, and this is our land. We deserve better than an advisory body.”
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The Greens have gathered in Victoria ahead of Parliament’s return next week where they’re discussing, among other policies, the internal division regarding the Voice.
Speaking from Mount Macedon, Mr Bandt said the party wanted to see all elements of the Uluru Statement from the Heart implemented, which includes truth, treaty and voice.
He said the Greens have put a “number of areas” of concern to the government including Ms Thorpe’s issue surrounding sovereignty.
“This is something that has been raised as an issue by a number of First Nations groups for some time and this goes back a number of years, this question about what does it mean to have First Nations sovereignty properly recognised in this country,” he told the ABC on Thursday.
“Because that is, of course, the forerunner to having a treaty in this country.
“And that is something that has been raised for some time and has been in the public arena for sometime well before the election of this government.
“And I think it’s a legitimate question that can be answered now.”
In an interview with Sky News Australia, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said Ms Thorpe’s future in her portfolio is up to the Greens’ leader.
“Portfolios are determined by the leader so that’s a question for Adam Bandt,” Ms Hanson-Young said last week.
“I’m not interested in getting into that because I think we need a more united voice and a more united position than ever before.”
She added that her Senate colleague has consistently remained upfront with the Greens party room.
“She has explained her position. There are diverse and different views on these issues about how is the best way forward to achieve First Nations justice,” Ms Hanson-Young said.
Support for the Constitutionally enshrined Voice has dropped in recent days amid sustained attacks from the Opposition over what it calls a lack of detail.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton will on Thursday attend a working group on the Voice with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Mr Dutton has been a prominent critic over the lack of information surrounding the landmark proposal.
The Liberal Party is yet to come to an official position on the Constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament, but Mr Dutton has indicated it will happen early this year.
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