“I WANTED to tell my children that their father stood for something even when it cost him,” Jewish federal MP Julian Leeser told a Kol Halev forum last Wednesday of his decision to resign from the shadow ministry so he could campaign for the Voice.
Leeser was joined by Member for Macnamara Josh Burns and Indigenous advocate Marcia Langton at the event co-hosted at Beth Weizmann by Stand Up and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV).
While lauding the Constitution, Leeser said, “Something has always been missing,” and it would be completed by recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through the Voice.
He said the body would be “really no different” than the JCCV in its role to make representations to government on behalf of who it represents.
The reason it needs to be embedded in the Constitution, he said, is that First Nations people “are the only people we have ever made special and separate laws for”.
“They should have the right to be consulted on them,” he said.
“Because the fruit of the laws that we have made so far, have given us a massive gap.”
Burns asked, “What sort of country do we want to help create?”
He said Hillel’s famous words were “as relevant as ever”.
“‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me?’ We all know that sometimes we have to stand up for each other inside the Jewish community,” he said.
“But Hillel continues, ‘but if I’m only for myself, then what am I?’
“We have a chance to make history. And I’m not going to wake up on the Sunday [after the referendum] knowing that I didn’t do my bit.”