Truth-telling must be priority

This story by Rosie Lewis first appeared in The Australian on 17th October 2023.

Crossbenchers in the lower and upper houses say truth-telling must be prioritised by governments after the voice referendum’s resounding defeat, as Labor weighs up whether to maintain its full commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Victorian independent MP Zoe Daniel, whose electorate of Goldstein voted 56-44 for an Indigenous voice to parliament enshrined in the Constitution, said federal parliament should heed Indigenous Australians’ appeal to be listened to on policies to address disadvantage.

The Greens are pushing for a$250m truth and justice commission after the father of reconciliation, Patrick Dodson, last week suggested the country would need to follow a path similar to post apartheid South Africa if the referendum were rejected, pointing to its truth and reconciliation commission.

“I agree with Senator Pat Dodson that we have reopened the scar around the sore that Indigenous Australia thought we were dealing with through the Apology, Wik and Mabo,” Ms Daniel said.

“We do need truth-telling in some form, whether it be a truth and reconciliation commission as in South Africa. We must ask Indigenous Australia whether that is what they want and in what form.”


More from Zoe