In a recent interview with broadcaster Ben Fordham on 2GB radio, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese vehemently denied that the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament was connected to a treaty.
However, opponents of the Voice have discovered past instances where Albanese has openly referred to a treaty as part of the process of incorporating an Indigenous Voice into the nation's constitution.
The notion of a treaty with Aboriginal Australians has sparked controversy, as it could potentially entail significant financial compensation from taxpayers, the transfer of private land, and the formal acknowledgment of historical grievances.
Footage has emerged of the prime minister wearing a Midnight Oil T-shirt with the words 'Voice, Truth, Treaty' during a farewell gig at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion just nine months ago.
This was after Albanese had outlined plans for a referendum to recognise Aboriginal Australians in the constitution and establish a Voice to Parliament, following the principles of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which emphasizes Voice, Treaty, and Truth as pillars.
Notably, both Albanese and his partner Jodie Haydon have publicly expressed support for a treaty with First Nations people following the establishment of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, despite the Prime Minister's repeated denials.
Haydon's social media posts on LinkedIn, which have since been deleted, revealed her commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, with one post suggesting her advocacy for a treaty.
During the interview with Fordham, Albanese adamantly asserted that the Voice was not about reparations or a treaty. However, he has agreed to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart in its entirety, which includes establishing a Makarrata Commission with the ultimate aim of progressing towards a treaty between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott criticised Albanese for wearing the band T-shirt, pointing out that the prime minister had previously stated his commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full, implying support for a treaty.
Abbott, a vocal critic of the Voice, expressed concerns about the potential division along racial lines and the possibility of Indigenous separatism being reinforced in the constitution. He argued that the national parliament provides a platform for everyone to have an equal voice, without the need for special representation.
The referendum on the Voice is expected to take place sometime between October and December this year.