The Voice Yes campaign boss dodged questions about Australians ‘paying their rent’ in Parliament

The Voice Yes campaign boss dodged questions about Australians 'paying their rent' in Parliament

The head of the Yes campaign for the Voice to Parliament referendum dodged questions about whether it would be a step towards reparations for Aboriginal people, following suggestions from one of the proposal’s chief architects.

Yes23 campaign director, Dean Perkin, was asked about comments by Thomas Mayo, who sat on the same campaign board, in a series of videos released before the Voice referendum was announced.

In a 2020 clip, Mr Mayo said the proposal was a move to make reparations for Aboriginal people a reality.

For example, ‘pay the rent’, how can we do that in a way that is transparent and that actually sees Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander compensation and reparations that we say and do in an assembly?’ she said.

The ‘Pay the Rent’ movement wants homeowners to voluntarily pay a percentage of their income to tribal elders without any government oversight or interference.

Asked about this by 2GB broadcaster Ben Fordham on Tuesday, Mr Parkin responded: ‘It has nothing to do with the Voice.’

The Yes campaign’s campaign director, Dean Perkin (pictured left with National Australia Bank’s head of Aboriginal affairs and strategic inclusion, Ewen Liddle), was asked about Mr Mayo’s comments on 2GB on Tuesday.

One of the architects of Voice to Parliament, Thomas Mayo (pictured), talks about making reparations a reality for Aboriginal people during an unearthing video from 2020.

‘The Voice is absolutely, and always has been, about those real issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in health, education,’ he said.

‘Everyone is talking about their young people, whether in urban areas or in remote areas. I was in Barunga last week, they are worried about the future of their young people. That’s where the voice will be focused.’

If approved in a referendum later this year, an Aboriginal-only body – whose role is enshrined in Australia’s constitution – will be created to provide input and advice on any bills before Parliament that will affect Aboriginal people.

Mr Perkin was again asked about ‘paying rent’ after audio of Mr Mayo’s video was played on the broadcast.

‘Not that I’m saving now, Ben,’ replied Mr Perkin. ‘It’s not the weight of the things people are talking to me about.’

‘Everybody’s going to have their say on this, they’re going to be able to input them into the piece, but it’s going to be our crowd on the ground that’s going to hold people to voice to account.’

“They have to look them in the eye and say, ‘Well, what are you doing about clean drinking water in our communities? What are you doing to look after our young people?’

‘These are things Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want to see action on.’

He added that there would be a ‘huge accountability on the members of the Voice’.

In March, Mr Mayo stood shoulder to shoulder with a tearful Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as the official wording of the referendum question was announced.

Mr Mayo said in another leaked video posted in 2021 that politicians would be ‘punished’ if they ignored the advisory body’s advice.

“The power of Voice is that it creates the ability for First Nations to come together through the representatives they choose, representatives they can hold accountable,” he said.

‘And then move forward with a coherent position on how things should be – what laws need to be made, what laws need to be amended, what needs to be funded and where.

‘And then be able to campaign for it and punish politicians who ignore our advice. That’s where the power comes from.’

In response to those comments, Mr Perkin said the Yes campaign wanted to ensure politicians were ‘making the right decisions about the issues that affect our communities’.

‘It’s not a partisan shot in any way shape or form, but they (politicians) haven’t been getting it right for years.’

“We want them to be held more accountable on issues affecting indigenous affairs.”

Mr Mayo (pictured), said politicians should be ‘punished’ if they ignore advisory bodies’ advice in another video from 2021

Mr Mayo said the referendum would be the best chance to close the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

“As I’ve traveled around the country over the last six years, talking to all kinds of interest groups, including people of all political persuasions, I’ve tried to bridge the gap by helping them see things from their perspective,” he said. Australian.

‘I stand by this referendum as a united proposition, it is about peace and love and it is in my interest for this country.’

His advocacy has drawn criticism from prominent ‘No’ campaigners, including Indigenous Senator and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, and Indigenous leader and former Labor Party President Warren Mundine.

He described Mr Mayo’s comments as ‘divisive statements’ that were made ‘publicly and proudly’.

‘These startling revelations speak to the aggressive and radical agenda behind the Voice and destroy the myth that this sweeping change to our Constitution is a ‘modest request’.’

‘He is very clear that the intent, the aims, the ambition of the Voice and this referendum is to divide Australians.’

Her comments prompted a backlash from ‘No’ campaigners such as Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jacinta Nampijinpa Dam (pictured).

Mr Mundine told Daily Mail Australia that the debate around Mr Mayo’s comments would take a whole new turn on the ‘Yes’ campaign.

We are very aware of who he is. We know his political bent,’ he said.

‘We’ve already said it (Voice in Parliament) is more than just an advisory group.’

The Voice referendum is expected to be held between October and December this year.

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