OPINION: Is another Voice really necessary? Opinion by News Of The Area - Modern Media - September 28, 2023 DEAR News Of the Area, THE current Federal Government and the expert panel do not explain that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) already have a voice. Their voice is the one we all have when we vote under our system of representative democracy. This vote then is asking for a second voice for ATSI people. However, they already have a second voice through the National Indigenous Australian Agency (NIAA), so the Federal Government is asking us to give them a third voice. The website (niaa.gov.au) shows that the NIAA’s purposes and objectives correlate with what we’re being told the Voice will do To work so that: “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are heard, recognised and empowered”. The NIAA’s purpose is to work “in genuine partnership to enable the self-determination and aspirations of First Nations communities. We lead and influence change across government to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a say in the decisions that affect them.” The NIAA was established on 29 May 2019. Its CEO is Jody Broun, a Yinjibarndi women from the Pilbara, Western Australia. According to the NIAA’s plan, “We play a critical role in supporting the Prime Minister and the Minister for Indigenous Australians, and providing assistance to other Ministerial portfolios across the Australian Government. The NIAA represents a fundamental change to doing business by forming partnerships with Indigenous Australians at all levels. This approach has shaped our work in policy design; program and service delivery; and our organisational structure. As at 31 December 2021, the NIAA has 1,286 staff, of whom 300 identify as Indigenous. The NIAA occupies 39 commercial offices and has a presence in 12 remote communities”. A lie of omission is being used to achieve the Federal Government’s proposed outcome. Our democracy is valuable so should you decide to write the word “NO” on your ballot paper, it does not show racism or stupidity, it shows you understand that ATSI people already have the means to have their say. Kind regards, Shayne FULLER, Tea Gardens.