2GB host Ben Fordham has rattled off what he says are 25 “unanswered questions” about the Voice in a lengthy editorial on Friday morning.
Taking aim at Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for providing insufficient detail about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament proposal, Fordham warned that “millions of Australians” were worried ahead of the October 14 referendum.
“I think we’ve all heard Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describe the Voice as a ‘question from the heart’, but with one month until voting day, many Australians still have questions in their heads,” Fordham said.
“So I thought we’d take a look at some of the questions that remain unanswered.”
The top-rating Sydney breakfast host then spent more than three minutes reading off the 25 questions.
“We don’t know how many people will sit on the Voice.
“We don’t know if they will be appointed or if they will be elected.
“We don’t know if the Voice will have a headquarters in Canberra.
“We don’t know if the Voice needs its own support staff.
“We don’t know if it will have an annual budget.
“We don’t know if members of the Voice will be paid.
“If members of the Voice are divided on a particular issue, we don’t know which opinion the government will listen to.
“If the Voice is to advise on policies impacting Indigenous Aussies, we don’t know what law or policy doesn’t impact Indigenous Australians.
“We don’t know if some issues are off-limits to the Voice.
“We don’t know if the government is expected to consult the Voice on all major decisions.
“We don’t know if the Voice has to be consulted on routine changes to legislation that affects Indigenous people.
“We don’t know if the Treasurer is expected to brief the Voice on what’s included in an upcoming budget.
“We don’t know what constitutes proper notice for the Voice to consider each issue that comes before it.
“We don’t know what would be regarded as sufficient information to provide the Voice so it can make informed representation.
“We don’t know if the Voice will be expected to respond to each proposal in a set period of time.
“We don’t know if the Voice would have to be heard before a decision is made.
“We don’t know if the Voice will speak directly to ministers or individual departments.
“We don’t know if public servants are expected to consult the Voice because they are part of the executive government.
“We don’t know what happens if the Voice is consistently ignored and whether this may lead to a legal challenge.
“We don’t know which former High Court judge is going to be proven right when it comes to potential legal issues.
“We don’t know if the Voice will be expected to achieve targets when it comes to closing the gap.
“We don’t know if the Voice can better direct the billions of dollars we’re already spending on Indigenous affairs.
“We don’t know how the Voice will interact with other Indigenous bodies.
“We don’t know if the Voice will make representations on issues such as changing the flag or moving the date of Australia Day.
“And we don’t know if the Voice is going to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.”
Fordham concluded that those were 25 “pressing questions for the here and now, and I’m sure that there are more”.
“If you look in the rear-view mirror there are many, many more,” he said.
“Questions about how we got here and some of the decisions made along the way. But the 25 questions I’ve just outlined are all ahead of us. They’re questions that have been asked and not answered. And they can’t be answered and they won’t be answered, because the Prime Minister decided from the start the answers will come later.”
He added, “Now voting day is fast approaching and millions of Australians are worried about the lack of detail.”
The Yes campaign has been contacted for comment.
It comes as opinion polls paint an increasingly dire picture for the Voice.
A poll by RedBridge Group released over the weekend found the Yes vote is in “free fall” and tracking at below 40 per cent in every state except Victoria.
And on Monday, a survey by Resolve Strategic published in The Sydney Morning Herald showed the overall No vote had grown to 57 per cent.
According to The Guardian’s poll tracker, support for the referendum has dropped 21 percentage points nationally in the past year.