The Voice: Peter Dutton lashes Anthony Albanese over referendum ‘obsession’

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has criticised Anthony Albanese’s handling of the Voice, claiming that the Prime Minister has been distracted by the referendum as Aussies continue to tackle the crippling rise in the cost of living.

Speaking at a press conference in Moree this week, Mr Dutton said Australians are finding it harder under the Labor Party’s leadership compared to “15 or 18 months ago”.

“Because of [the] Labor economic plan it has resulted in an energy crisis in this country, as well as sustained an upward pressure on everyday prices and people are paying when they go to the supermarkets,” Mr Dutton said.

“Part of that is because the Prime Minister has been completely and utterly distracted and absorbed and obsessed by the Voice.

“I think more Australians are demonstrating that they are more interested in how a government can make decisions that can help them and not hurt them.”

Mr Dutton said the growing dissatisfaction with the Voice was an indictment on the Prime Minister’s leadership and communication over what the referendum actually means.

“There are now more than one in three Labor voters who are voting No on October 14,” he said.

“All of us want a better outcome for Indigenous Australians, but they can‘t get people’s minds across the lines because people want to know what it is they are voting for.”

Mr Dutton’s comments came as shadow immigration minister Dan Tehan called for Labor to scrap the referendum entirely accusing the Prime Minister of setting it up for failure by withholding crucial details.

“What I think we need the Prime Minister to seriously consider doing now is pull this referendum,” he said.

“Get across the detail, understand that you need true bipartisanship to make referendum work in this country and go back to the drawing board.

“At the moment he doesn‘t want to reveal any of the detail, it’s becoming more and more divisive and sadly I think, on referendum day, what we’re going to see is the Australian people say to Anthony Albanese: you’ve messed this up.”

Earlier on Monday, senator Lidia Thorpe claimed the Voice won’t change the lives of First Nations people and the referendum is actually doing them more harm than good.

Australians will head to the polls in just three weeks to vote whether to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution through an enshrined advisory body.

But the Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Djab Warrung senator has claimed either way Australia votes, nothing will change.

“Nothing changes if it’s a yes-or-no vote,” she told ABC’s Radio National on Monday.

“Our people are still dying at the hands of the system, the system is still racist.”

Senator Thorpe has become the face of the “progressive no” camp since her defection from the Greens in order to campaign against the Voice as a leader of the blak sovereign movement.

The senator has flagged she’d be willing to pull back her opposition if the government acts to implement recommendations from the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Bringing Them Home report.

She said the Voice debate was hurting Indigenous Australians more than the “George Floyd moment” of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.

“There are communities being torn apart, families are fighting one another, either yes or no,” she said.

“And what do we get at the end of the day? We get crumbs on the table and that is not good enough.”

It comes as a fresh Newspoll delivered another blow to the Yes campaign, with support for the referendum slumping to its lowest level yet.

Support for the Voice plummeted another two points to 36 per cent, suggesting the Yes campaign failed to generate the momentum they expected ahead of October 14.

Meanwhile, the No vote nationally rose another three points to 56 per cent.

Read related topics:Anthony AlbanesePeter Dutton

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