Anthony Albanese says he does not believe cost of living challenges will drive Australians to vote no at the upcoming referendum.
The Prime Minister was keen to stress his government was focused on addressing Australians hip pocket pain while also campaigning for a Yes vote during a Thursday morning.
But he’s denied he’s already raised the white flag by conceding if the Voice does fail at least Indigenous disadvantage has been put the centre of the national conversation.
“Not at all. I’m very hopeful that the Voice will be carried,” he said.
Australians will head to the polls on October 14 to have their say on whether to enshrine an Indigenous advisory body, the Voice, in the Constitution.
“There’s nothing scary about having a group of people who can just give advice on matters that affect them,” Mr Albanese said.
Support for the Voice has slumped in recent months. The most recent Newspoll suggested the Yes vote would fail 36 to 56 per cent.
At the same time, Australians are struggling at the checkout and the bowser as surging petrol prices and higher rents continue to bite – increasing the risk of another interest rate rise.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest monthly inflation print showed consumer price growth rose to 5.2 per cent for the 12 months to August, up from 4.9 per cent in July.
Petrol prices were the main driver of the increase, up 9.1 per cent in the month.
Asked directly if he believed Australians had the headspace to consider the Voice given the challenges, Mr Albanese insisted they could.
“I think Australians are generous,” he said, while noting the Voice wouldn’t make an impact on “most people’s lives”.
“I understand people are doing it tough, which is why we’re putting such a big effort in putting that downward pressure on inflation … by fixing the budget,” he told Perth’s Nova.
“So we’re doing all of those things. But at the same time, people can, I think, take a few minutes to look at what the question is.”
Across three interviews, Mr Albanese rattled off a laundry list of policies (such as fee-free TAFE) the government has pushed to provide relief, but acknowledged supply chain issues were a handbrake.
“We are so dependent upon those international movements so that we now have something like the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has fed through into higher prices,” he told 4RO.
“We understand that, but that’s why we’re really trying to address all of those measures, including our measures of course when it comes to supply chains.”