A Citizen (C) and a Voice To Parliament advocate (VtP) bump into each other. A conversation ensues …

C:           Hi there. What’s news?

VtP:       We’re going to have a Voice to Parliament.

C:           What’s that?

VtP:       An advisory body for First Nations people.

C:           The Sumerians?

VtP:       Who?

C:           Oh, you mean Aboriginal people.

VtP:       We don’t use that word anymore. It’s not inclusive.

C:           Sorry. Indigenous people.

VtP:       We don’t use that word anymore either.

C:           Sorry. I’m finding it hard to keep up.

VtP:       That’s another reason why we need a Voice to Parliament.

C:           Which is an advisory body unique to the “First Nations” people?

VtP:       Exactly.

C:           Like The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies?

VtP:       Yes

C:           and The Lowitja Institute?

VtP:       Yes

C:           and Australian Indigenous HealthNetInfo?

VtP:       Right…

C:           and The Closing the Gap Report?

VtP:       What’s your point …

C:           and The National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee, the National Native Title Tribunal, the Indigenous Land Corporation, the Registrar of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations, the National Indigenous Australians Agency, the National Indigenous Council, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, all the Aboriginal Land Councils, all the State and Territory Departments of Indigenous Affairs …

VtP:       What are you trying to say?

C:           and The National Native Title Tribunal?

VtP:       Stop!

C:           Don’t you think our fellow citizens of Indigenous descent have a huge amount of special representation already?

VtP:       More can be done.

C:           Eleven in the House of Representatives and Senate. Pretty good already, right?

VtP:       You don’t understand. The Voice to Parliament will have all legislation affecting First Nations people referred to it for review.

C:           Oh, I see. So since Indigenous people are Australian and subject to every law in the country, every bill will go through the Voice, yes?

VtP:       I guess so.

C:           So, we’ll have the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Voice to Parliament, three bodies or chambers of the Commonwealth Parliament, right?

VtP:       It’s an idea whose time has come.

C:           Brilliant. Fantastic. So, we have a House of Representatives with 151 elected members, and 76 elected senators, and … sorry, how will members of the Voice to Parliament be elected?

VtP:       They’ll be appointed.

C:           Not elected?

VtP:       Appointed, elected, these are just details. Does it really matter?

C:           Not really. Liberal democracy: highly overrated, right? And who’ll do the appointing? Who’ll qualify to sit in the Voice to Parliament?

VtP:       First Nations people, of course.

C:           Just one ethnicity?

VtP:       Of course, that’s the whole point.

C:           Sensational. I see the vision now. An all-Aboriginal chamber of parliament. Perfect. A race-based ethno-chamber of the legislature. The 1970s Afrikaans would have loved this.

VtP:       Who?

C:           And what about the Cornish Australians? They could have a Pirate to Parliament. They need representation too. And the Italian Australians? They’d have the Piazza to Parliament, Greeks’ the Parthenon to Parliament and Chinese Australians would have the CCP to Parliament. Everyone needs their own special dictatorial ethno-chamber, right? I’m all in.

VtP:       No. No. Just the Aboriginal people.

C:           We don’t use that word anymore. It’s not inclusive!

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