Greens, Lidia Thorpe agree to disagree on the Voice

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“The Greens want the best possible outcome and we believe we have a responsibility to continue to constructively monitor the government’s plan,” said acting leader Mehreen Faruqi.

Bandt participated in the meeting, but he is still on leave and has not made a statement.

The party said in a statement that the Greens’ constitution gives MPs and senators the right to vote differently from their peers and that party rules require them to inform the party hall as soon as possible if they so choose.

The outcome removes a potential hurdle on the road to the public vote, as Parliament must pass a bill this year to pass the referendum and Labor may need the support of the Greens in the Senate if the coalition does not support it.

But it formalizes a rare split that is likely to put Thorpe at odds with her federal colleagues over a totemic policy for Indigenous Australians when she is the Greens spokesperson on First Nations issues.

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Other members of the party hall could side with Thorpe on this issue and her decision is expected to be supported by members of the party who agree with her argument for a treaty rather than the vote.

The division comes after the Resolve Political Monitor this week revealed a drop in support for The Voice over the past four months, with 60 percent of voters favoring the proposal when asked in a referendum-style question with only “yes” or ” no” options. Support was 64 percent in a similar survey last September.

The survey showed that Greens voters were strongly in favor of the vote, with 87 per cent of them saying they would vote “yes” in the referendum-style question, compared to 72 per cent of Labor voters and 38 per cent of the coalition voters.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese challenged the coalition and the Greens to support the Voice and unite the country.

“The Voice is about two things. It’s about recognition – that is, giving people respect in our country’s birth certificate. And it’s about consultation – it’s about giving people the right to have a say,” he told Sky News.

Albanese said the Voice would never be “above parliament” and would never be able to veto parliamentary decisions. He added that this “servility” to parliament was one of the criticisms of Thorpe’s proposal.

In a challenge to opposition leader Peter Dutton and Bandt to support the Voice, the prime minister said party leaders had a chance to bring the country together for reconciliation.

“I am not the only person in a leadership position in this country – the leaders of other major parties and even smaller parties, including the Greens, this is a moment for them as well,” he said.

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