POLITICS

Waleed Aly Calls For 'National Conversation' About Uluru Statement

The Project host said Australia should discuss an Indigenous parliamentary chamber.

29/05/2017 8:06 PM AEST | Updated 29/05/2017 8:44 PM AEST

Waleed Aly has suggested there should be "a national conversation" about the Uluru statement from Aboriginal leaders, which calls for constitutionally-enshrined Indigenous bodies advising Australian parliaments, in light of comments made by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Aly took to The Project on Monday to discuss the First Nations National Convention in Uluru with fellow panellist and broadcaster Steve Price, which occurred on Friday and called for constitutional reform involving a "First Nations Voice" in parliament, and criticised Joyce's idea that the convention's statement is a "self defeating proposition" that just "won't fly" with the public.

"That's a really disappointing response," Aly began.

"This was a process, this has been months of deliberation, collaboration, they brought lots of people from Indigenous Australia together, ordinary people, elders, they had a huge conversation about this that was really nuanced and they come back after all of that and they say, 'with a vote that's around 80 percent of the delegation, this is what we want'.

"Now, I would have thought for everyone who's not Indigenous at that point, you don't go 'well that's too much,'. You go, 'well, we really have to listen to this,' because otherwise what's the point? Why would you bother going through a process of deliberation?"

Aly also disagreed with Price's comments suggesting the convention's calls could lead to other cultural and ethnic groups developing similar demands.

"Isn't [the statement's request] just going to divide us more? I have been living with this my whole adult life, this story about Indigenous Australians and how tough it's been for them. I have seen so much money wasted by so many governments," Price began.

"So you get this group that gets together on Friday last week and they say they want a special treaty. If you do it for one group of people, you're going to have another group of people that want a special treaty."

"There's no group equivalent to that. It's not a seat in Parliament," Aly knocked back.

"That's dismissal at the first instance. Run the argument. Have a national conversation where we actually say, 'this is what a really concerted process delivered us'. Have a think about it."

The debate comes after Joyce told the ABC the idea of an Indigenous chamber is "just not going to happen" and indicated compromise is needed.

"I support constitutional recognition," Joyce told RN Breakfast. "I support that we have got make a substantive statement in regards to Aboriginal people and I have been on the ad saying precisely that."

"But if you go with something that is beyond our capacity to get the Australian people to get on board with it then it is a self defeating proposition.

"It just won't fly."

There are expectations an Indigenous referendum will by held next year. The Referendum Council will deliver a final report to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader next month.

But Joyce can see problems already.

"If you are asking for a new chamber in the federal parliament, some of the articles I see are heading in that direction, that's not going to happen, I am going to be fair dinkum with people," he said.

"We have got enough problems with the Senate we have got. We do not need another one."

"We want something we can sell to the Australian people. You know the bosses in this show?

"If you are suggesting that we have local government, state government upper and lower house, then a federal government with a lower house, a Senate and another chamber again, you don't have to be Nostradamus to tell the future of what happens here. The Australian people will say no to that."

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