Prominent Yes supporter Peter FitzSimons highlights a column saying it could be “our greatest day of national shame” if Australia votes no.
Prominent columnist and author Peter FitzSimons has declared it will be Australia’s “biggest day of shame” if the Indigenous Voice to Parliament fails.
FitzSimons made the comment while tweeting an opinion column with the same headline by lawyer and investment banker Duncan Murray, arguing that the No campaign had worked “an insincere dog whistle”.
Mr Murray said “damage” was being caused by No campaigners claiming “the Voice proposal would introduce racial segregation into the Constitution”, leading to people objecting to being welcomed into their “own bloody country”. .
He described such feelings as “rabies on the edge.”
“Given all we have done to Indigenous people for more than 200 years, this is a humble and gentle request,” Mr. Murray wrote of the voice.
Peter FitzSimons (pictured right with his wife Lisa Wilkinson) says if Australians vote down it would be our greatest day of shame
“If we say no, it may be our day of greatest national shame.”
FitzSimons, a former Wallaby who lives on Sydney’s north coast and is married to television star Lisa Wilkinson, is one of Australia’s best-known authors and columnists. He is also the leader of Australia’s republican movement and a committed advocate for enshrining an Indigenous voice in Parliament in the Constitution.
FitzSimons, who added “#Yes” to his Twitter profile, said he was “a strong supporter of the vote” when he interviewed his “friend” and left-wing Yes advocate Thomas Mayo in April.
The tone of his interview was very different to the combative one he conducted with Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price for Sydney’s Sun Herald in August 2022.
The interview with Mr Mayo ended with a joking exchange about not threatening FitzSimons’ “entrenched white privilege”, while the interview with Senator Price ended with a curt “Thank you”.
Senator Price said the interview with the columnist in August 2022 started well, but Fitzsimmons became “aggressive… condescending and rude” towards her.
She said it was “like talking to a brick wall” and she felt “insulted.”
“I’m not a wilted violet, but he’s a very aggressive guy, his interview style is damn aggressive, he doesn’t need to get going,” she said.
“To accuse me of somehow giving power to racists because the issues I raise are confrontational – it completely misses the point.”
FitzSimons made the comment while tweeting an article by businessman Duncan Murray in which he spoke in support of the Voice
FitzSimons disputed Senator Price’s description of how the interview unfolded, saying her claims were “complete and utter nonsense”.
The interview was a “professional exchange,” he said.
During the interview with Senator Price, FitzSimons disputed her claim that the vote would drive a wedge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, which was not the case.
“With a progressive mood sweeping the country, we are now far more united than ever before in our history, and the most prominent wedge is, I respectfully submit, Senator, people like you and your supporters,” FitzSimons said.
“I don’t accept that.” How can it be that a bureaucracy that has racial issues enshrined in the Constitution doesn’t drive a wedge? Senator Price responded.
“This propagates racist stereotypes that Indigenous Australians are a homogeneous, separate entity, and we are not.”
FitzSimons also asked Senator Price if, “in the quiet vigil,” she ever “thought that in your really prominent and powerful position, you were abusing the platform that you have and actually harming Indigenous issues?”
FitzSimons and leading No advocate Jacinta Price conducted a combative interview in August last year
Senator Price replied that she had no doubts about what she wanted to achieve and what truth she wanted to reveal.
The referendum on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution through the creation of the Voice will take place on October 14.
Polls published so far show that the referendum is likely to fail.