An official "No" campaign has been launched by Indigenous leaders Warren Mundine and Jacinta Price against a proposed change to the Australian Constitution.
"Recognise A Better Way" calls for broader recognition of Australian Aboriginal communities but does not involve enshrining an almost permanent advisory body to Parliament, which is what the Voice to Parliament proposes.
"Recognise a Better Way understands there is much to do in Aboriginal Australia, and we do not believe a Voice to Parliament will have an impact on the ground and in the lives of those in need," the group said in a statement to The Epoch Times.
"Aboriginal Australians do not need more voices; they need a way into wider society."
Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has campaigned in favour of The Voice, promising to run a national referendum this year.
"And it is appropriate to talk about those issues at the beginning of the launch of Australia's new cultural policy for the next five years, Revive, because for tens of thousands of years, this land has been alive with stories, with song, with dance, with art."
Appreciate What We Already Have, Mundine SaysBackers of Recognise A Better Way are calling for a change to the wording of the preamble of the Constitution—a proposal previously earmarked by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott—as well as establishing a parliamentary all-party standing committee for native title holders.
Mundine, the former Labor Party national president, also floated the idea of recognising the contribution of migrant groups to the country. Australia has a large overseas-born migrant population.
"That's not just minimising the Indigenous part, that will be a major part of that," he told ABC Radio on Jan. 30.
"It gives us a great opportunity to also recognise other groups of people who have come to this country and really helped us economically, have really helped us with our food."
He also said the group was looking at how more could be achieved with the existing government framework.
Critics Say Voice Divorced from RealityOne of the main criticisms of The Voice in recent weeks has been its lack of relevance to Aboriginal communities already dealing with excessive crime rates, alcoholism, and domestic violence.
In the central Australian town of Alice Springs—where a large community exists—crime rates have skyrocketed in the past six months with assaults and domestic violence rates soaring by 38.01 percent and 47.22 percent, respectively.
Home and commercial property break-ins have also risen 25.75 percent and 55.97 percent, while motor vehicle theft has also risen 39.88 percent.
The Northern Territory Police Commissioner James Chalker told ABC Radio on Jan. 24 that he believed alcohol had a big role to play in rising criminal activity.
"It is certainly our view that that’s part of the problem at the moment," Chalker said.
The situation has forced Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson to call for federal assistance over the past year, even calling for the military to be called in.
"This isn’t about politics, I don’t care which side of the political aisle you sit on," he wrote on Facebook in January 2022.
"At local government level we are restricted in what we can do regarding crime but this is a call for help. Something needs to change immediately."