Read Anthony Albanese’s message to Australians planning to vote ‘no’ to the Indigenous Voice to Parliament
Australians who are set to vote ‘no’ to an Indigenous vote in Parliament in an upcoming referendum have been reassured that their views are not racist.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said people opposing the vote were entitled to their views after opposition leader Peter Dutton accused him of taunting the matter.
When asked if people who did not support the constitutional advisory body were racists, Mr Albanese replied “no”.
“Peter Dutton is doing his best to fuel the debate,” he told Adelaide Radio 5AA on Tuesday.
Beyond Blue has warned of the harm caused by racism and discrimination, as the mental health service advocated a “yes” vote.
It has also been announced that former Liberal Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, will join Beyond Blue’s board of directors.
“I look forward to becoming part of an organization that has the courage to stand up for what is fair and right,” he said.
Beyond Blue leader and former Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard called for a respectful debate on the vote
“Beyond Blue recognizes the profound damage that racism and discrimination are doing to mental health and calls for calm, informed and respectful debate ahead of the referendum,” she said.
Facing opposition allegations that he was prioritizing the vote over the rising cost of living, Mr Albanese noted that the government had provided an aid package in the 2023/24 budget.
“At the same time, we will give the Australian people an opportunity to vote on something that will largely have no direct impact on most Australians,” he said.
“But it could make a positive difference for some of Australia’s most disadvantaged.”
“It’s something that’s part of the Australian fair-go ethos.”
Debate in the federal parliament on bills on the proposed constitutional amendment continued on Tuesday ahead of a referendum between October and December.
The bill could pass the House of Commons as early as Wednesday before it goes to the Senate later in the month.
Rime Minister Anthony Albanese issued a rousing appeal for Australians to support their vote in Parliament
At a meeting of the coalition party on Tuesday, it was announced that “authorized dissenters” had been nominated to vote against the draft ballot in order to take part in the referendum pamphlet, which will be sent to all households.
The Liberals have coordinated the process to decide which MPs will vote against the law.
A regional MP said the No campaign had not yet been granted deductible gift recipient status for the referendum and urged the leadership to find a solution.
But it was the “No” campaign that withdrew its application after the two groups merged.
Nationals leader David Littleproud said the government focuses on “niche societal issues when people are financially bad”.
Mr Albanese delivered the Lowitja O’Donoghue speech in Adelaide on Monday and said he believed Australians would wake up this morning with the “strongest confidence”.
“A great nation that dared to become even greater, not only for ourselves but for the world,” he said.
Mr Albanese said that after a successful referendum, a deal and truth-telling would be part of the next phase of the country’s reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
“One of the things a voice in Parliament can talk about is the need to come to an agreement and come together after a conflict, and part of that is telling the truth about our history,” he said.