Voice referendum: Jacinta Price rallies No campaign in Adelaide

Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians and leading No campaigner Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has rallied the No campaign in a crucial must-win state.

Senator Price spoke before hundreds of No campaigners at the Adelaide Convention Centre, telling volunteers to fight to “maintain equality” and end what she sees as the racial division that has erupted in the country ahead of the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum.

Loud protesters gathered outside the packed out event, chanting with a megaphone: “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.”

Senator Price, appearing alongside South Australian Senator Kerrynne Liddle and Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO, criticised the protesters, saying there had been a growing ugliness in the campaign.

“This is the level of racism and division the prime minister has to take responsibility for,” she said.

She said Indigenous Australians such as herself and Mr Mundine had been subjected to “bullying, gaslighting and manipulation”.

South Australia is considered a key battleground in the referendum campaign, with thousands of Yes and No volunteers expected to fan out across the state to persuade voters to back the change, which would embed a permanent advisory body for Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.

Mr Mundine said the referendum was “dividing the nation” and the central argument for a Voice was a “lie” because Indigenous Australians already had voices in the government.

He also said Indigenous Australians had progressed in society since he was a boy, highlighting the growing number of Indigenous doctors, lawyers and other university graduates and the growing economic contribution of Indigenous businesses.

When pressed whether a No vote would mean a change to Australia Day, Mr Mundine said: “We want Australia Day to remain”.

Senator Price said South Australia was a crucial state for the campaign and she criticised Premier Peter Malinauskas’ state-based Voice model.

She said it had gone “silent” and had not improved the lives of South Australia’s most marginalised people.

South Australia became the first Australian state to legislate a First Nations Voice to Parliament, but elections for the advisory board were put back to March 2024, as the state-based model was being “overshadowed” by the referendum and causing confusion among voters.

Senator Price said Australians must vote No to “unify the nation”.

When pressed on her earlier controversial remark that British colonisation had not delivered a lasting negative impact on Indigenous Australians, Senator Price said Indigenous Australians would “probably not” want to return to life as it was in pre-colonial Australia.

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