Video footage has come to light, showcasing the vision of Thomas Mayo, one of the architects of the Voice, as he emphasises the significance of a 'Yes' vote for empowering Aboriginal Australians.
In the video, published by the Search Foundation, Mayo asserts that the Voice would enable Aboriginal communities to influence legislation and government funding, and even hold politicians accountable if they ignore the advice put forth by the advisory body.
The emergence of this footage has drawn sharp criticism from One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. During a speech delivered in federal parliament, Ms. Hanson condemned the Voice as 'divisive' and expressed doubt about its ability to address the challenges faced by remote Indigenous communities.
The video, originally posted on YouTube in 2021 but only recently unearthed by 'No' campaigners, features Mayo debunking arguments against the Voice as 'misinformation'.
He specifically addresses concerns that an advisory body would be powerless, stating that the true strength of the Voice lies in First Nations representatives chosen by the community, who can then collaborate on coherent positions regarding legislation, amendments, funding requirements, and their respective allocations.
Furthermore, Mayo highlights that the Voice possesses constitutional underpinnings, providing protection against potential hostilities from governments.
Senator Hanson seized upon Mayo's remarks about 'punishing' politicians who disregard the Voice's advice, addressing the parliament with pointed questions about the intentions behind his statements and the concept of truth-telling.
The controversy surrounding Mayo's video is further compounded by another published video from the same year, where he discusses achieving compensation for Indigenous people through initiatives like the 'Pay the Rent' campaign.
The campaign proposes voluntary contributions from homeowners to Aboriginal elders, without government oversight.
Mayo's active involvement in various rallies, including Invasion Day, Black Lives Matter, and May Day events, has cemented his reputation as a staunch advocate for the Voice and constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
During a recent May Day rally in Port Kembla, he addressed the historical challenges faced by Indigenous communities, stressing that previous voices of First Nations had been repeatedly silenced.
In response to Mayo's advocacy, Aboriginal Senator Jacinta Price, a prominent 'No' campaigner and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, labeled his comments as divisive and declared that they expose the aggressive and radical agenda behind the Voice.
She believes that Mayo's revelations dismantle the notion that the proposed constitutional change is a modest request.
Warren Mundine, an Indigenous leader, acknowledged the impact of the controversy surrounding Mayo's comments, suggesting that it could reshape the landscape of the 'Yes' campaign. Mundine emphasised that the Voice to Parliament extends beyond being a mere advisory group, solidifying the significance of the ongoing referendum as an opportunity to bridge divides and foster unity in Australia.
With these revelations fueling the ongoing debate, the future of the Voice remains a pivotal point of contention in the pursuit of Indigenous empowerment and reconciliation in Australia.