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Question: First Nations Voice to Parliament

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:06): My question to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs is: can he please update us on the progress towards South Australia's First Nations Voice to Parliament?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:06): I thank the honourable member very much for her question. As has been talked about a number of times in this chamber, we passed legislation—this parliament, both houses, agreed to legislation—back in March of this year for the establishment of the South Australian First Nations Voice to our parliament and to our government.

Preparations are well underway, with the Electoral Commissioner, I understand, having visited only in the last week or so communities as far away as the APY lands and, I think, the West Coast of South Australia to talk about the upcoming elections, encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander South Australians to be enrolled so as to be eligible to nominate and to vote.

The South Australian Commissioner for First Nations Voice is also doing a lot of work with South Australian communities, with organisations, particularly Aboriginal community controlled organisations, and individuals to have an educational program to make people aware of the upcoming elections. The nominations open—it might be the 22nd, but if it's not it is around there—January, closing mid-February for elections on 16 March.

I know that the Electoral Commission particularly has been doing a lot of thinking and work in the processes in relation to nominations, and from my last briefing the Electoral Commissioner had come up with a process whereby when they are out in communities they can actually take nominations from now. They have not officially opened but will accept nominations so that if someone is interested when the Electoral Commissioner is out in Aboriginal communities they can take those nominations now and formally put them in when nominations open.

So planning is well underway, and I have to say even in meetings earlier this week with Aboriginal community groups—I had one in Port Adelaide earlier this week where there was a very large degree of excitement amongst the Aboriginal community for these elections.

 

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