Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has suggested the media are partly at fault for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament’s sagging public support.
He said journalists gave disproportionate airtime to Indigenous ‘No’ campaigners such as Jacinta Price and Warren Mundine compared to ‘Yes’ advocates like Noel Pearson and Marcia Langton.
Albanese told the ABC there was an onus on the media to represent Indigenous support and opposition to the Voice accurately and proportionately.
He said arguments against the referendum from Price, Mundine and independent senator Lidia Thorpe were creating confusion about Indigenous support for the Voice.
“But if you look at Aunty Pat Anderson, you look at the Dodsons, you look at Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton, Tom Calma, the Senior Australian of the year, all of the Northern Land Councils, the representative bodies in the Torres Strait, you look at all of these Indigenous leaders are all campaigning very strongly, as they have for a long period of time for constitutional recognition,” he said.
The Prime Minister said people needed to be reminded that the Voice “didn’t come from Canberra”.
He insisted the concept had been pursued by Indigenous leaders rather than politicians.
While polling shows a majority of Indigenous people would vote for the Voice the latest Newspoll shows the overall Yes vote is now a minority.
Support for the Voice had dropped to its lowest level with 43 per cent approving the Voice, compared to 47 per cent against.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said falling support would not deter the government from holding the referendum.
He told ABC Radio National Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas the government was “committed to doing it regardless”.
“We made clear that we would take this question to a referendum, and there's risk in that, clearly, but we believe that we can make this case and we're committed to making this case,” he said.