Don't give-up on PM over 'voice': Wyatt
WHILE Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ruled out an indigenous voice in the federal parliament, Ken Wyatt believes there is scope to change his mind.
"What I love about the prime minister is his preparedness to listen, his preparedness to take on different perspectives," the minister for indigenous Australians told ABC television on Saturday.
A "voice" was part of the Uluru statement made last year in pursuit of constitutional recognition of Australia's first people through a referendum.
The issue is expected to dominate proceedings at the Garma Festival of Traditional Cultures in northeast Arnhem Land on Saturday, where Mr Wyatt is in attendance.
The government has promised a resolution in this three-year term.
"What worries me is, if we fail on this, it will never be resurrected again, because no constitutional question that failed has ever been brought to the fore again," Mr Wyatt warns.
Governor-General David Hurley expressed similar sentiments in an interview with ABC television at the festival, emphasising the need to move "fairly quickly",
He said one problem is that a lot of people still don't understand Aboriginal culture.
"We're getting to it in our schools and so forth, but it's slow and where the issues that are on the table at the moment, I think it is important to be more aware of what Aboriginal culture is, as you're talking about the issues," he said.
Respected Aboriginal leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu said in a speech at the opening ceremony that if significant constitutional reforms were not made by the federal government, then the Yolngu people would throw the nation's founding document into the sea "and watch it float away".
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will address Garma on Saturday and will push the case for a voice for aboriginal people in the constitution.
How could Australia ever have reconciliation "when one side has no voice?" he will ask.
The hope of self-determination has already been achieved to various degrees by First Nations people in New Zealand, Canada, the US and the nations of Scandinavia, he will say.
"None of those places have achieved utopia, but when you look at the gaps in everything from health to justice to education between the indigenous and non-indigenous populations there, they have left Australia behind," Mr Albanese will say.
"And when you compare life expectancies, the bare, harsh, unavoidable truth is that they have left us for dead."
The Garma festival is on until Monday.