EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Albanese told us what the Indigenous Voice to Parliament can and can’t do.

The discourse around the Indigenous Voice to Parliament has become complex in recent months. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese insists it is a straightforward idea.

"It's one that firstly comes from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves after literally hundreds of meetings and consultation, in many years leading up to the Uluru statement in 2017," he said on Mamamia's The Quicky this week. 

"And it's a simple proposition. It's a proposition of recognising First Nations people in our founding document, our Constitution. 

"The form of recognition that Indigenous Australians are asking for is just a voice, an advisory body, so that government and parliament can listen to the views of Indigenous people about the matters that affect them. 

"It is about doing that so that we can get better results."

Watch: What country means to Indigenous people. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia.

Albanese urged Aussies to note that the upcoming referendum vote on October 14 isn't about politics or supporting a certain political party. 


Rather it's about supporting an idea and vision to closing the gap between our First Nations people and non-Indigenous Australians.

"There has to be an advisory committee, and that advisory committee won't have a right of veto. It won't change the function of parliament or government, they'll still be the decision maker," he explained to Mamamia

"We know that at the moment, decisions have been made from Canberra for Indigenous Australians, often with the best of intentions, but what this is about is doing things with Indigenous Australians so as to get better outcomes."

Ultimately, he described the Voice as "a plan where there won't be losers, only winners."

Many Australians currently feel undecided on how they will vote. Albanese said the 'no campaign' is based on fear-mongering, and misinformation. In contrast, Albanese said the 'yes campaign' is "very clear" with the sole purpose of it being to allow First Nations people to be heard.

Number one, the Voice would provide recognition that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are Australia's first people. 

Number two, there will be an advisory body that will give advice on matters affecting First Nations people.

And number three, the Voice should give "comfort" said Albanese, given there will be "legislation to establish the Voice" to ensure it's clear, concise and fair. 

Only eight of 44 total referendums in Australia's history have passed, and Albanese acknowledges that the process of social change is hard. 


"It is far easier to put forward a negative campaign and to promote fear," he said, adding there is always opposition to change. But with hindsight, we often look back at ourselves and wonder why.

"The truth is, of course, that none of those fear campaigns have been realised when it happens, and I'm confident there will be a yes vote and people will look back and say, 'Why didn't we do it earlier?' just like people look back on marriage equality, on Native title, on the apology to the Stolen Generations, on other reforms and say, 'Why didn't we do it earlier?'" he said.

Listen to Anthony Albanese on The Quicky. Post continues after audio.

"Social progress does occur, we do become more inclusive. 

"Sometimes it's difficult to be able to achieve that, and it takes people who are directly affected, just like marriage equality took the courage of the 78ers and others who marched for justice, just like the suffragettes campaigned for the rights of women, just like Indigenous Australians today are leading this campaign for justice."

In recent years, the government's bid to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians has proved difficult. As Albanese noted to Mamamia, only four out of the 19 Close the Gap targets are on track. 

There remains a suicide rate that is still twice as high, an eight-year life expectancy gap, and the fact a young Indigenous male is more likely to go to jail than university.


The Voice aims to help better address the issue.

"We need to do better. Programs that work - because they have that sense of agency and belonging. That's what the Voice will enable to happen. To replicate the systems that are working and to get better results," said Albanese.

When it comes to the Voice, Albanese hopes a yes vote will be the overwhelming majority, and then we can start getting to work to make it happen from 2024. 

With six weeks of campaigning ahead, Albanese said he is energised by "inspirational figures" in the Indigenous community. These include Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney, filmmaker Rachel Perkins and other passionate yes campaigners.

Albanese noted his privilege to hold office, saying it's an obligation for him to not just occupy the space but make a tangible difference. And this area in particular is one he wants to "sincerely make a difference" in. 

"That is something that I believe we can be very proud of and something that when it does occur, it will be a moment that is inclusive, will bring Australia more together and will strengthen us," he explained.

"And I'm energised by the fact that this is the opportunity in a generation. If not now, when?"

Feature Image: Getty.