Voice referendum date revealed

August 30, 2023 BY

AUSTRALIA has learned the date for the Voice referendum, as polling in key swing states indicates mixed views on the issue.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese unveiled the October 14 date in Adelaide today (Wednesday, August 30).

The announcement comes as polling suggests a shift in support for the voice in South Australia but Tasmania is leaning towards a “no’ vote.

A survey of 605 South Australians by think tank The Australia Institute indicates 43 per cent back an Indigenous voice to parliament while 39 per cent are opposed.

The undecided 18 per cent were evenly split in their leaning, putting “yes” ahead at 52-48.

Previous polls had put “no” ahead in SA, considered a crucial swing state.

Separate polling from another think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, has Tasmania, another key swing state, leaning towards ‘no’.

The survey of 1,156 voters in the state found 53 per cent intended to vote “no”, with another 42 per cent in support.

Another 5 per cent said they were undecided.

For the Voice to succeed, a majority of states need to vote “yes” as well as the majority of Australians.

Mr Albanese had earlier ruled out multiple weekends for the referendum, including footy grand finals, Parliament sitting weeks and the wet season in the Northern Territory, essentially putting it in mid-October.

The Prime Minister was joined by Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney and other members of his cabinet, along with the South Australian premier, at a ‘yes’ launch event in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

The referendum will ask Australians to constitutionally enshrine an Indigenous advisory body known as the voice.

“Yes'”supporters will kick off campaigns across the country, including door knocks and street walks.

Former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull joined Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and “yes” volunteers to hand out flyers in Sydney.

In Tasmania, Liberal MP Bridget Archer will hit the streets to encourage voters to back the proposal.

Greens leader Adam Bandt and NDIS Minister Bill Shorten will chat with commuters in Melbourne’s inner north.

Other polls have the “yes” vote lagging across the nation and on a downward trend but campaigners say the mood on the ground is more hopeful.

Assistant Indigenous Australians Minister Malarndirri McCarthy said it would still be a challenge for the ‘yes’ vote to succeed.

“We see that this is an uphill battle, we have to keep going right up until the final moments of the referendum ballot,” she told ABC TV on Wednesday.

Speaking in Adelaide, Indigenous activist Noel Pearson said the state would be critical in the referendum.

“It’s really a linchpin, it’s been between those eastern states that are very firmly ‘yes’ and those that are still pondering what they will do at this referendum,” he said.

The “no” campaign has positioned the voice to be legally risky and divisive along racial lines.

Former prime minister John Howard warned a successful voice referendum would lead to calls for treaty.

“We don’t have treaties with bits of ourselves and it only has to be stated to be realised as a complete absurdity,” he told Sky News.

“Treaties are made between sovereign nations, we have treaties with other countries.”

But Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the referendum should not be approached with trepidation.

“Do we want to respond in anger and fear? Or do we want to listen about a way that will give not only recognition which matters but also better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across this country?” she told ABC Radio.