Liberal MP proposes voice law changes as support wanes
Liberal MP Julian Leeser will propose changes to the Indigenous voice model in a bid to counter a number of 'no' case arguments following a shock new polling result.
A survey shows slightly more than half of Australians now back an Indigenous voice, with the number of people who would vote 'yes' dropping from 58 per cent to 53 per cent in the past month.
The polling, by Resolve Strategic for the Sydney Morning Herald, reveals the 'no' campaign is on track to win if the trend continues.
Mr Leeser, who quit the opposition frontbench to vote in favour of the referendum, said he would move amendments to change the voice model when parliament sits next week.
The changes include legislating the voice being able to make representations to executive government, rather than constitutionally enshrining the function.
Mr Leeser said the poll showed the electoral prospects for the voice were "not tracking as they should".
"The best way to improve the prospects is to limit the arguments of the 'no' case," he said.
"I am a supporter of the voice. I will be voting 'yes' at the referendum.
"The amendments I am proposing will improve the electoral prospects of the voice."
Independent senator Lidia Thorpe said the voice's poor polling was due to its substance and the actions of the government which didn't "scream First Nations justice".
"There is nothing special about this referendum because it does nothing towards the recognition of our sovereignty," she told AAP.
"It leaves so-called Australia to continue living on the lie that it wasn't founded by a bloody invasion."
Senator Thorpe said she didn't "think much" of the amendments, and the voice was not self-determination for Indigenous people.
"They (amendments) just confirm the many illusions around what the voice is and can be," she said.
"The proposed voice is just an advisory body and its composition and functions are chosen by the government of the day, not by the First Nations people it is meant to represent."
The legislation setting out the voice referendum states its primary role is to make representations to the parliament and the executive government about matters relating to Indigenous people.
Resolve director Jim Reed said states were moving over to the 'no' side, meaning the referendum would fail as it would not meet the requirement of a majority of votes in a majority of states.
Dean Parkin, director of the Yes Campaign Alliance, said the results were because the debate had recently been about "politics and legal talk".
"It's been tied up in the Canberra bubble and ultimately this question of the referendum is not going to be resolved by any one politician," Mr Parkin told ABC Radio.
Cabinet minister Ed Husic said it would be a "bold move" to make a call on the outcome of the referendum at this time.
The Liberal Party supports constitutional recognition of Indigenous people but is opposed to a national voice and is instead calling for regional bodies to be legislated.
The referendum is set to be held between October and December, pending laws passing parliament in June.