Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney promised to use her National Press Club speech to explain the Voice, but all the focus was on her description of Peter Dutton as a “bully boy”.
Burney accused the Opposition leader of “bully boy tactics” as she unloaded on the ‘No’ campaign for importing “Trump style politics” into Australia.
“It is post-truth and its aim is to polarise, to sow division in our society by making false claims, including [that] providing advice to government would somehow impact the fundamental democratic principle of one vote, one value,” she said.
“Do not let the ‘no’ campaign get their way with using Trump-style politics in Australia. Do not let them divide us.”
She issued a veiled accusation that the ‘No’ campaign was endangering the mental health of Indigenous people.
“We are very conscious of the issues around mental health and just where this debate could go. We’ve already seen some fairly unsavoury things.”
Having derided the leader of the Opposition as a bully and her opponents as Trumpians who risked damaging the mental health of Aboriginals, she insisted she, on the other hand, was “positive and respectful”.
“It will not be about sowing division,” she said.
Burney said the Voice was necessary because nothing else had worked to “close the gap” on Indigenous disadvantage.
She said the Voice would be completely independent from government but also said she would “task” the Voice with offering ideas on Housing, Health, Education and Jobs.
Dutton said there was no doubt Burney wanted to help Indigenous Australians.
“We all want to do that,” he said. But insisted the question was about whether the Voice was the best way to do it.
Burney countered that there was “nothing to fear in what’s being proposed”.