Indigenous Senator Jacinta Price has mocked claims that a ‘No’ vote in the referendum will discourage international investors from doing business in Australia.
The claim was made by Wesfarmers chairman Michael Chaney who said that international corporations were watching the Indigenous voice referendum closely.
He warned that foreigner investors would question whether Australia was a “fair place” if the referendum failed.
Chaney, a prominent supporter of the ‘Yes’ campaign, said chief executives of big companies “universally” shared his view.
“We have international shareholders who are looking with great interest at this referendum and (who) frankly … would throw their hands up if it were lost and wonder about Australia as a fair place,” he said.
But Price rubbished Chaney’s comments, insisting that the opposite was true.
“Our nation has been built on free market values and a Yes vote threatens those values,” she said.
“Smart people learn from global history and racial division has only ever lead to destructive and crippling outcomes.
“If Australia votes No we maintain sovereignty, we demonstrate that we believe in equality and the rule of law.”
Indigenous leader and leading ‘No’ campaigner Warren Mundine described Chaney’s warning as “insane” and “absolute nonsense”.
He said there were racists in Australia but that compared to any other country “we come out like a shining light”.
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the Voice had not come up in any discussions at international business forums.
“The focus of talks, rather, has been on inflation, trade facilitation, energy costs, digitalisation and skills shortages,” he said.
“There may be some interest in the vote later in the year but there is a longstanding tendency to overthink how the rest of the world is looking on at internal issues.”