Support for treaty slumps in another blow for Indigenous Australians after Voice to Parliament defeat

Support for a treaty with First Nations people has slumped while approval for a truth-telling commission has languished after the Voice referendum was defeated.

Only about a third of voters now support these measures, which along with the Voice, were the three pillars of the Uluru Statement from the Heart that the Albanese government had committed to fulfilling.

Backing for the treaty has fallen from 58 per cent in October to 33 per cent this month, according to a Resolve Political Monitor survey done for the Nine News mastheads.

Meanwhile only 34 percent are in favour of a truth-telling body, with 31 per cent opposed and 34 per cent undecided.

This clouds the future of the Makarrata Commission, which is the intended truth-telling body with $5.8 million it allocated to creating it in the 2022 budget. 

Support for a Treaty with Indigenous Australians has slumped in the wake of the Voice referendum defeat 

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney said this week that the government was ‘taking the time to pause and to listen to Indigenous communities before we decide on the next steps forward.’

‘I have met with my state and territory colleagues and received an update on where each jurisdiction is up to in terms of establishing representative bodies, truth-telling and agreement-making,’ Ms Burney said.

In the wake of the resounding defeat of the Voice at the October 14 referendum, where over 60 per cent of voters rejected the proposal, even support for simple constitutional recognition has fallen from 58 per cent to 48 per cent in a month.

Resolve director Jim Reed noted that this measure previously had always been supported by a majority of voters. 

‘It’s now collapsed, so in many ways the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater,’ Reed told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Before the referendum Prime Minister Anthony Albanese ruled out legislating the Voice into existence and there is little public support for him to now do this. 

The Resolve polling found only 40 per cent would back such a move down from 49 per cent in January, while 40 per cent oppose it and 20 per cent are undecided. 

Despite the waning support for Treaty some states are still pursuing it.

A First People’s Assembly is already in place in Victoria and the Labor Allan government still fully committed to negotiating a treaty with the body..

In NSW, $5million has been spent on a consultation process for a similar policy, although Premier Chris Minns said recently any action would be shelved until after the next state election.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been left to pick up pieces of his government's reconciliation plan

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been left to pick up pieces of his government’s reconciliation plan

In Queensland a legislated Path to Treaty was underway but has hit a wall with the LNP withdrawing their support last month and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying she would only move forward with bipartisan commitment.

The South Australian government legislated a state-based voice to parliament in March but postponed elections to the body until March 2024.

The Weatherill Labor government embarked on a state treaty process in 2016 but it was halted by the previous Liberal government in 2018 and the current Labor government has yet to restart the process.

Western Australia currently has no treaty or truth-telling plans, but some lawyers and academics have called the South West Native Title Settlement between the Noongar people and the state government Australia’s first treaty.

Premier Roger Cook said a state Voice was not on the agenda and sought to remind people that the state’s constitution was altered in 2015 to recognise Aboriginal people.

The previous state government led by former Premier Mark McGowan began plans in 2018 to create an Indigenous representative body in Western Australia.

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