The build-up to the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum is heating up with billionaire mining magnate, Clive Palmer, throwing his hat in the ring and embarking on a ‘personal campaign’ to boost support for the No campaign before Australians head to the polls on October 14.
According to News.com.au most of these funds will be used for advertising in South Australia and Tasmania, the states thought to be deal-breaker ‘must-win’ seats for both the Yes and No vote.
Scheduled for October 14, the referendum will determine whether the Australian government should amend the constitution to establish the advisory committee known as the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. This body, comprised of elected First Nations representatives, would provide crucial advice to the government on matters related to Indigenous affairs.
If passed, there would be a permanent commitment to recognising and representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian constitution but support for the move has reached an all-time low according to the latest Newspoll.
The landmark referendum has courted much controversy since the beginning of the year with Australians firmly divided on whether or not the Voice to Parliament should go ahead.
In a recent X post about the landmark referendum, Palmer said, “It’s not the colour of your skin but the content of your character that matters. Don’t divide Australia with racial laws.”
Let’s not divide Australia with race-based laws pic.twitter.com/zmNfdSqAvJ
— Clive Palmer (@CliveFPalmer) September 20, 2023
The reaction to Palmer’s post demonstrated precisely how divided Australians are on the issue.
good man. true Aussie Hero👏💪
— ITOLDYOUSO 🇦🇺 #VoteNO Stop Racism (@itoldyouso22) September 20, 2023
You are doing a great job speaking the truth, Clive 💪 Thank you for your dedication to saving Australia 🇦🇺
— Daniel Sumpton (@DanielTSumpton) September 20, 2023
— liz (@Elizabe76721278) September 20, 2023
— Aussietruths (@aussietruths) September 20, 2023
There is already a massive division between the indigenous people and the rest of society in terms of health and education. With the Voice, the indigenous community will be able to give direct feed back to parliament, so programs and support can be more effective.
— Don Healey (@DonHealey) September 20, 2023
Spreading misinformation again Clive? The Voice is NOT laws or legislation. It’s an advisory body. Like a focus group, only for the betterment of Aboriginal people’s lives, rather than your lame ads.
— Carl LeSwede (@carlofsweden) September 20, 2023
Speaking to The Australian, Palmer revealed he had not consulted with Indigenous leaders, and that his campaign was not associated with the official No campaign.
He also predicted that the No camp would win and commented, “If you look at it in the proper context, the most important thing in Australia is not Yes or No at the moment, it’s the cost-of-living and how the average Australian is going to make his way.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese continues his staunch support for the referendum and is adamant that voting No would be catastrophic for Indigenous communities citing the lack of Indigenous advice during the COVID-19 pandemic leading to these communities being the hardest hit.
“What happened when people went to indigenous communities, spoke to them and gave them some empowerment over the way the vaccines were rolled out and the health outcomes … that’s when it turned around,” Albanese explained.
Through a recent X post, Albanese implored Australians to get behind the Yes vote.
“It is incumbent upon all of us to walk together, and in a spirit of reconciliation and healing, advance forward towards a movement which will see First Nations people be able to hope for a better future.”
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) September 27, 2023
With just two weeks to go until the referendum, remote voting has already begun across the country with pre-polling starting next week.