Mischaracterised Voice

In parrotting Peter Dutton’s critique of The voice, Peter Knobel (The Chronicle, 24 Jan) seeks to lead readers down a murky rabbit hole. His use of the ‘pig in a poke’ to characterise the proposed referendum is exactly the wrong example. The buyer of such an item is likely to get something other than what was wanted with little or no opportunity to change it.

In fact, the proposed referendum is intended to establish a principle that there should be a Voice to represent the views of First Australians to Parliament and Government. The details of structure and operation of the Voice would be determined by Parliament.

Better than the ‘pig in a poke’ might be to compare to something we might buy – house, car, clothing – with the expectation that it will suit us but with ample opportunities to renovate, accessorise, or adjust later if necessary. That is why we should first establish the principle that there will be a constitutionally enshrined Voice and then establish the structure which can be fine-tuned subsequently to ensure that it works effectively.