“This is a disaster!” were the words of Sunrise host, Natalie Barr, while interviewing Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday, October 9 as the Indigenous Voice to Parliament campaign enters its final week.
The presenter lashed out at Albanese saying it was “all over for the Yes vote” and that the Indigenous Voice to Parliament campaign had been poor.
But Albanese was quick to respond saying that there had been no bipartisan support for the campaign, that voting No meant more of the same for Australia, and that there was still time for people to “examine the opportunity before them”.
“Answering the request from Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people to be recognised in our Constitution, in our nation’s founding document, and through a non-binding advisory committee, a Voice so that we can listen to Indigenous Australians in order to get better outcomes,” Albanese said.
“That is what is on the ballot paper on Saturday, I’m sincerely hoping that when Australians examine what the question is that they will vote Yes too.”
Pressing the matter of the lack of support for the Yes vote further, Barr asked whether the Prime Minister believed he could have done better.
“We know when I stood up and spoke about these issues, that it is hard to get a referendum up in Australia,” Albanese replied.
“But if you don’t run in the field, I think I said at the time, than you don’t win the grand final. We’re on the field and we are taking up the request of Indigenous Australians.”
Scheduled for October 14, the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum will determine whether the Australian government should amend the constitution to establish an advisory committee, a body of elected First Nations representatives, which would provide crucial advice to the government on matters related to Indigenous affairs.
The proposal is the first step outlined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart but the campaign has come under fire after being accused of being divisive and for not being clear on what the Voice to Parliament actually entails.
As a result, support for the campaign has waned with the latest Newspoll suggesting that only one in three Australians are backing constitutional change in favour of the Voice to Parliament.
However, taking to X (formerly Twitter) on the weekend, Albanese remains adamant that the move is a step in the right direction for Australia.
The Voice is a simple proposal from Indigenous Australians for practical change.
Here’s a bit of what I had to say. pic.twitter.com/UW3RxD0SyO
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) October 8, 2023
In response to his post, Yes and No voters demonstrated that the public still remains divided on the matter.
If it was SO SIMPLE WHY ISNT IT WRITTEN YET? Honestly, WHO AGREES TO SOMETHING THAT DOESNT MAKE SENSE AND ISNT WRITTEN YET.. AND A POLITICIAN IS PUSHING IT! Where are these magical people with all of the answers who are MUTE NOW?
— Common Sense (@Zobbor) October 9, 2023
— ꧁Ŀἷṩᾄ꧂📸💥📚 🇦🇺 (@beamailuc) October 9, 2023
It is a simple proposal and if Dutton had agreed to it as it was his party’s concept to commission the CalmaLangton report it wouldn’t have cost millions. Dutton used it as an antiLabor campaign instead of what was proposed. The No campaign has set out to complicate the process.
— Greg (@GregEll77729615) October 9, 2023
Rubbish! It is a very simple proposal. No money has been spent by the government (i.e. taxpayers) on either campaign. Anyone else can spend their money however they like, supporting whatever they like. What are you afraid of? #VoteYesAustralia
— Paul Mathieson (@PaulMathieson15) October 9, 2023
The last day of voting is Saturday, October 14. The “Yes” camp would require a national majority of votes and the majority of votes in at least four of Australia’s six states to enact the change to the constitution.