Anthony Albanese will visit the spiritual heart of the country as part of a final push for the Indigenous Voice just days out from the referendum.
The Prime Minister will touch down at Uluru on Tuesday evening, where he will meet with representatives from the Central Land Council.
The visit will be part of a nationwide blitz advocating for enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and executive government in the constitution ahead of Saturday’s referendum.
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The trip to Uluru will be more than six years since the call for the Indigenous Voice was laid out as part of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Albanese said he would be meeting with some of the architects of the statement.
“As the Uluru Statement from the Heart says, it speaks about the children and how Indigenous Australians just want a better future, and love and hope and optimism for future generations, and that’s what (the referendum) is about,” he told reporters in South Australia.
The Albanese government will not seek to legislate the Voice advisory body if the referendum fails. Credit: AAP
“The words in the constitutional change make it very clear it doesn’t change the way that decisions are made by parliament and by government, all it asks … is for people to be listened to.”
But Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the Voice would be divisive.
“We’ve got a situation now where I think Australians in their millions are increasingly wanting to vote ‘no’ for the Voice,” he said.
“The constitution is our nation’s foundation document and rule book and it shouldn’t be changed lightly, and the Prime Minister has made a deliberate decision to not give details of how the Voice will operate to the Australian public.”
Meanwhile, the Australian Electoral Commission has expressed concern over “unacceptable conduct” of a small number of voters in the lead-up to the voice referendum.
Anthony Albanese will lead a ‘yes’ blitz across the country in the final week of the Voice campaign. Credit: AAP
With early voting under way, electoral commissioner Tom Rogers urged greater civility, saying tensions were heightened compared with a federal election.
“That’s probably a reflection of the kind of debate that we’re seeing in public in any case, which I think during a referendum always tends to be a bit more visceral than at a normal election,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.
“A referendum unleashes passions that can boil over and we’ve seen what I would call unacceptable conduct, including some filming of our staff who are just trying to do the right thing.”
More than 21,800 people have cast votes in remote communities before polling day — exceeding all remote votes cast in last year’s federal election.
So far, 2.87 million votes have been cast.
Rogers said he was aware of misinformation being circulated by campaigners about the referendum process, calling it “nonsense”.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese cast his vote in the Indigenous Voice referendum a week early. Credit: AAP
“Votes are treated with the utmost respect, we treat them like a democratic blank cheque that we cash on behalf of all Australians,” he said.
The comments come as research from the University of Melbourne into popular Chinese messaging app WeChat found discussion about the Voice on the platform has been dominated by right-wing rhetoric and misinformation.
One particular account called YamiChew published ‘no’ campaign videos featuring misinformation about the potential for the Voice to undermine constitutional integrity and Indigenous privilege.
The videos have received tens of thousands of reposts and hundreds of comments.
Pro-Voice content and videos from official political groups were lucky to receive more than 20 likes.
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