Minister 'not afraid' to receive advice from voice
Government frontbencher Amanda Rishworth has declared she won't be afraid to receive advice on her portfolio from an Indigenous voice to parliament if the body is endorsed by voters.
The comments from the social services minister followed the release of a cross-parliamentary committee report, which backed laws to set up a referendum that would enshrine the voice in the constitution.
The report recommended the laws pass parliament unaltered, describing the need for Indigenous constitutional recognition as "unquestionable".
Ms Rishworth said while she would not engage in hypotheticals about whether the voice would provide advice on aspects such as a possible rise in JobSeeker payments, she was confident of the referendum's success.
"I'm not afraid as a minister to be able to have a group of First Nations people that I can go and speak with and get advice about different issues that affect them," she told Sky News on Sunday.
"I'm not scared of consulting the voice on matters that affect them. But we're a long way from that at the moment, we haven't even got it set up."
The parliamentary report said the voice would "enhance Australia's systems of governance and laws".
Legislation enabling the referendum is likely to be brought to parliament in June ahead of the public vote, to be held between October and December.
"Once that voice is set up, there'll be a clear process of when government consults with them," Ms Rishworth said.
"There is some really positive mood in the country to give First Nations people a voice, and allow them to be consulted on the issues that do affect them."
But shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said the release of the report had not affected the Liberals' position of opposing the voice.
While the party has supported constitutional recognition of Indigenous people, it is against a national voice and has instead called for regional bodies to be legislated.
Mr Taylor said important opinions about the voice were left out of the final report.
"It was, I think, unfortunate that so many of the very good representations that were made and arguments that were made during the course of that committee were not incorporated in the final report," he told Sky News.
"The voice as it is currently conceived, will be able to give advice on issues right across the board, including something like JobSeeker."