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Greens candidate backs Coulton in opposing Voice to Parliament

Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (centre, back) and his Nationals colleagues made their position on the Voice clear last week. Either side of Mr Coulton are Nationals leader David Littleproud and Senator Jacinta Price. Inset: Greens candidate Trish Frail is also opposed to The Voice to Parliament.Photos: contributed/TWH

Tricia Duffield

Greens candidate for Parkes, Trish Frail, has come out in support of Nationals Member Mark Coulton, in opposing The Voice to Parliament.

Ms Frail said Mr Coulton’s decision not to support the proposal was ‘great news’.

“I’ve been reading about the Voice, and it is only an advisory Voice to government,” she said.

“Remember, ATSIC was a Voice until the government closed it, so I expect the same will happen with the Voice.

“At the moment we have 11 elected representatives in Federal Parliament as our voice, and at least they can push for change.

“Lidia Thorpe of The Greens has also been a strong advocate for not supporting The Voice.

“I have just come back from The Greens national conference and the Blak (not black) Greens have advised the party not to support the proposal,” Ms Frail said.

Mark Coulton, along with all his National Party colleagues, has also decided not to support the Voice to Parliament.

Although Mr Coulton’s electorate has one of the highest indigenous populations in NSW with 10% of residents identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander at the 2016 Census, Mr Coulton said he did not believe the Voice to Parliament would represent the grass roots Aboriginal people in the Parkes electorate.

He admitted his decision would disappoint many people in the electorate, but said he believed the legislation would divide communities along racial lines, and that it was ‘just a symbolic form of legislation’ that it had the potential to cause more problems than it would solve.

“The decision comes after a lot of discussion and conversations with indigenous people in the electorate and the feeling is that it’s more symbolic than a practical method of closing the gap,” Mr Coulton said.

“I don’t see how local Aboriginal people would be represented, and my concern is that we end up with an elite group of people, not representative of grass roots people on the ground.

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