Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has mocked Malcolm Turnbull as the “Malsplainer-in-chief” over his refusal to back a constitutionally-enshrined indigenous voice in parliament.
The prime minister doubled down on his opposition to a “third chamber” of parliament on Monday night, but vowed not to give up on recognising indigenous Australians in the constitution.
Mr Shorten used a faux posh accent on Tuesday to parody Mr Turnbull’s “usual lecture” on the difficulty of winning a referendum, citing his involvement with the failed 1999 republic campaign.
“That drives first Australians nuts. Nothing like being Malsplained by the Malsplainer-in-chief,” Mr Shorten said.
Mr Turnbull says he does not want to kick recognition into the long grass and is continuing to look for a bipartisan way forward in the process.
In October, the Turnbull government rejected the referendum council’s report on constitutional recognition calling for an indigenous voice to parliament.
“An assembly of the kind that was proposed would be in effect a third chamber of parliament,” Mr Turnbull ABC TV’s Q&A on Monday.
“I don’t believe our parliament should have any chambers other than the two that it does, the House and the Senate, and they are open to all Australians.”
The proposal would have “no prospect whatsoever” of being successful at a referendum, he said.
Mr Shorten backs a voice for indigenous people in the parliament.
But if the constitution cannot be altered, the Labor leader says he will work with the government and indigenous Australians to legislate for change.
“I’ll work on how we can legislate in consultation with Aboriginal Australians until first Australians get an equal go in this country,” Mr Shorten said.
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