Amanda Stoker: Now to the Voice debate, which continues to heat up. Joining me to get the latest is top No campaigner Warren Mundine and Liberal Senator for Victoria, Sarah Henderson. They’re joining me from a No campaign event in Geelong, which is in the seat held by Richard Marles federally. Sarah, Warren, welcome to the program. As has been reported on this show by my colleague and friend Peta Credlin, the full Uluru Statement that the Prime Minister has committed to in full has been obtained via FOI request and the contents are frankly pretty sobering. There are calls for a financial settlement as a percentage of GDP, reparations, land reform and so much more, as well as this constitutional Voice to Parliament, and then this week the Prime Minister admitted on radio that he hasn’t even read the thing after calling those who did conspiracy theorists. Warren you couldn’t make this stuff up, could you?
Warren Mundine: You can’t, It’s just such a comedy show and it’s a bit of a problem when you think about the person who is pushing for changing our Constitution actually hasn’t even read the document and then says why would he read the document? That is just horrifying to think about. And some of the stuff that was said there, I’m not surprised that they’re in the document because you’ve got things there like reparations and land tax and the Australia Day and all that. It’s been argued in Australia for a number of years, so I’d be very surprised if they weren’t in there.
Amanda Stoker: Yeah. Sarah, the Prime Minister seems to be, whether by accident or by design, killing his own referendum. How does he justify, in your mind at least, being able to say that those who disagree with him are peddling misinformation when he hasn’t bothered to get his head around the information itself?
Senator Henderson: Well, Amanda, great to join you this evening from the Geelong West Town Hall, where we’re talking to the community about the merits of the No campaign. And you’re absolutely right, this Prime Minister has been deceitful and tricky about this entire process. We know very little about the Voice proposal and in fact it’s so secret that he won’t even reveal the legislation which underpins it. So I think the Yes campaign is falling off the rails because the Albanese Government and the Yes campaign took the Australian people for granted. They basically decided that we will just give you smoke and mirrors and you’re expected to vote yes. Well Australians are cleverer than that, they deserve all of the information. This is a very significant proposal to change our nation’s rule book and frankly the Prime Minister has treated the Australian people with contempt. And I have to say, Amanda, here in the Corio electorate, the electorate of Richard Marles, the Deputy Prime Minister, he too is taking his traditional Labor voters for granted. He ran a forum here and basically said all of Geelong is behind the voice. Well we know things are very divided, this is just not true and of course there are many traditional Labor voters who are frankly unconvinced about the merits of this proposal and will be voting no.
Amanda Stoker: Yeah, there’s a real arrogance to it. On a similar issue Warren, Independent Senator Lidia Thorpe, formerly of the Greens, has declared that there is, quote, ‘a lot of money owed to first peoples’, close quote. She also acknowledged that the government doesn’t have enough money to pay the bill for what she says was stolen. Warren you’re obviously a proud Aboriginal man, what impact do these sorts of comments have, especially to those people who are struggling in remote communities when they compare it to the causes and the lifestyle that’s lived by somebody like Senator Thorpe?
Warren Mundine: Well, it goes further than that. It’s not only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in regional and remote Australia, it’s also Australians, other Australians who live in these areas, plus Australians across the country who are struggling to pay their mortgages, who are struggling to put food on the table. And it’s just bizarre that these type of things are coming out. And this is why the Yes campaign is in so much problems. I take on Senator Henderson’s comment in regard to that, this secret document, in fact it was so secret that even the Prime Minister didn’t even know about it, this is just nonsense. Since 1967, we have been working towards a strong multicultural, multi-religious, even atheist, a multi-ethnic racial group of people who have been able to forge ahead and build an incredible nation under the liberal democracy and strong rule of law for all Australians, no matter what their colour is, no matter what their culture is, or their ethnicity or whatever. We’re moving forward since 1967 on that and we’re doing a fantastic job. We don’t have the problems that other countries in the world have, you only just look at France recently and United States over the last 4 or 5 years and the issues that are there. So it’s about time the Prime Minister stopped trying to divide the country, stop abusing people and have his acolytes do the same thing, stop abusing people. Let’s have a proper conversation about where this country is going to head, what is our heart and soul of this country and how are we going to help all people who are in need and build this country as a better country?
Amanda Stoker: Sarah It’s not uncommon in the course of this campaign for Australians who disagree with the proposition for a Voice to be called racist. That’s not fair, but it does happen a lot. What’s your response though, to claims from Yes campaigners that Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price is racist? I mean, surely they’ve realised that name calling isn’t a great strategy when we’re considering something as important as changing our Constitution?
Senator Henderson: Look, it’s really disgraceful Amanda. We’ve seen some shocking things said, particularly towards both Jacinta and also Warren, which is having a profound effect on both of them, but it just goes to show the sort of campaign that they are running. Frankly, I wish they would spend more time talking about indigenous people in need, those in regional and remote communities who desperately need support need funding, including the kids at Yipirinya School, who need a boarding facility to keep them off the streets and out of jail, including the kids in East Arnhem Land and also the Pilbara who’ve just had their boarding schools axed by the Albanese Government. Why isn’t the government listening to the voices who really matter? The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who really need the government’s support? It is a great irony that we’re hearing so much about this Voice, $380 million to run the Voice referendum and yet the voices which are crying out for help are not being heard by this government. It really is pretty disgraceful.