Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Shadow Attorney-General

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Senator for Western Australia


26 MAY 2023


The Prime Minister is not being honest with the Australian people about the implications of voting for a Voice to Parliament to be enshrined in the Constitution.

Mr Albanese told a Queensland radio station today that: “All that the constitutional change will do is recognise Australia’s first peoples – that’s just a matter of respect. Parliament will still be totally in control. The legislation around what happens makes very clear this is a legally sound change.”

Shadow Attorney-General Senator Michaelia Cash said it was misleading to portray the change as simply recognition in the Constitution.

“The Prime Minister is spreading misinformation. It is not true that all it does is recognition. If that was true why does there need to be a constitutional right to make representations about everything from submarines to parking tickets?’’ Senator Cash said.

Senator Cash said Labor is using a “bait and switch” approach to the Voice referendum – suggesting it is only about constitutional recognition when in reality it will create a new body with significant powers which they refuse to explain to the Australian people.

“How can the parliament control the voice if its power to make laws about the voice is ‘subject to this constitution’?’’ Senator Cash said.

“If recognition was all it does, why does there need to be a 6-month design process after the referendum?” she said.

Senator Cash again called on the Prime Minister to release all legal advice the Government has received from the Solicitor General on the voice.

At Senate Estimates hearings this week the Attorney-General’s Department revealed that there was a secret fourth piece of legal advice from the Solicitor General on the Voice to Parliament.

Until this week it was known that three pieces of advice had been given to the Government by the Solicitor General.

Only one piece of advice, the most recent, has been released publicly.

Senator Cash said that the Government should immediately release the other three pieces including the secret fourth piece of advice.

“Mr Albanese needs to trust Australians to make an informed decision. If he is so confident that the Voice is legally sound then he should release all the Solicitor General’s advice, including the secret fourth piece we learnt about in Estimates this week,’’ she said.