It is being claimed the proposed voice to parliament will become “a fourth Constitutional power” alongside parliament, the executive and the judiciary.
This is false. Constitutional law experts told AAP FactCheck that unlike the three branches of government, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice will have no real public power.
Instead it will be an advisory body without any real form of power or governance.
In response, the text of the post makes a number of false claims about the proposed voice, including that it will become a “fourth Constitutional power.”
In short, parliament makes and amends laws; the executive puts them into action; while the judiciary makes judgments about the laws.
“The Australian Constitution’s first three chapters establish first the parliament, second the executive government and third the federal courts,” Professor Meagher said.
“So what they are trying to get people worried about is that if the ‘yes’ vote succeeds, we will have a fourth one, called the voice.
“Where it is clever and tricky is that, strictly speaking, if it gets up the whole point is to establish a new body called the voice.
“But (the post’s claim) is trying to imply that the voice will be a body just like the parliament, or executive or the courts … complete with the same kind of powers. That’s simply false.”
Prof Meagher added: “It will not be a fourth arm of government: not akin to parliament, the executive or courts. That’s because the voice has power to offer representations. But unlike the other three arms of government, it will have no form of real public power.”
“Unlike a parliament it cannot pass any laws, appoint anyone to anything, or appropriate funds. It is advisory,” Professor Williams said.
“Under the proposed amendment, the voice would not be given governance functions,” Dr Wesson said.
“Instead, the voice would have the power to make representations, or give advice, to parliament and the executive.
“Parliament would also have the power to determine the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the voice.
“In other words, although the voice would be able to give advice to government, it would not itself be a branch of government.”
This is also false. The voice will not have voting powers over legislation, like the chambers of federal parliament.
In fact, there will be no obligation for parliament to follow any advice from the voice when voting on legislation.
The claim an Indigenous voice to parliament will add a fourth constitutional power in Australia – alongside parliament, the executive government and judiciary – is false.
Law experts told AAP FactCheck there is nothing in the proposed constitutional amendment to support the claim as the voice would only be an advisory body with no actual public power.
False – The claim is inaccurate.