As campaigning for and against an Indigenous voice to parliament ramps up ahead of the upcoming referendum, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese remains confident Australians will vote ‘yes’.
Australians have taken to the streets this weekend to join official ‘yes’ campaign walks, backed by rock stars including Paul Kelly, Peter Garrett, Dan Sultan, Missy Higgins, Bernard Fanning, Spiderbait and John Butler.
Voters will head to the ballot box on October 14, when they will be asked whether they want to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by enshrining an Indigenous consultative body in the constitution.”It’s like the Apology, it’s like marriage equality – when it’s all done, people will wonder why we didn’t do it before,” Mr Albanese said at an event in Sydney on Saturday.
“We will get this done.”Australians will vote yes, and we will be a better country for it.”
Walks for the ‘yes’ campaign have been taking place in 40 cities and regional centres across the weekend.
But it was a bruising final week in federal parliament, which Indigenous Australians minister Linda Burney admitted had taken a personal toll, as prominent ‘no’ vote campaigner Jacinta Nampijinpa Price addressed the National Press Club.
In a provocative speech, Senator Price claimed the voice was unnecessary as British colonisation had not had lasting negative impacts on Aboriginal people.
Ms Burney labelled the comments “simply wrong” and a “betrayal” to the stolen generations’ families.
The tail end of the week was dominated by accusations of racism levelled at the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps as both blamed the other for trying to divide the nation.
The prime minister has reiterated the ‘yes’ campaign will continue its strategy of positivity to promote the voice as an opportunity to recognise and listen to Indigenous people.
“What we need to do to secure a vote for ‘yes’ is to continue to run a positive campaign,” he told reporters in Coffs Harbour on Saturday morning.
“We will continue to present this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lift up this and future generations and to close the gap.”
Updated: A previous version of this story stated that the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales had scheduled an open meeting for Sunday 17 September, on campaigning for the ‘yes vote’. That information was not accurate, there is no meeting on Sunday 17 September, however the Community is in the process of organising an event, and will inform its members and the general public in due course.