Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has accused Opposition Leader Peter Dutton of playing games with the referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
- Mr Albanese says Mr Dutton knows advice given to cabinet is not released publicly
- The Liberal Party is still considering its position on whether it will support the Voice to Parliament
- The prime minister says the referendum should be above politics
Mr Albanese announced the wording of the referendum question yesterday, as well as the draft constitutional amendment the government plans to put to Australians later this year.
Speaking after the announcement on Thursday, Mr Dutton called on the government to release the solicitor-general’s advice on the wording, and said the Liberal Party would continue to consider its position on the referendum.
On Friday, Mr Albanese said Mr Dutton knew from his time in government that releasing advice received by cabinet was “not the way it works”.
“Peter Dutton needs to get real about this,” he said.
“This isn’t about him and it’s not about me.
“This is about whether we are a better country going forward. It’s whether we can recognise Indigenous Australians in our nation’s birth certificate.”
‘This should be above politics’
As well as the calls to release the legal advice about the wording, the prime minister criticised Mr Dutton for again saying the opposition wanted more detail on the proposal.
“That it is nothing more than a tactic, and it lacks genuineness to just continue to say, ‘Oh, we don’t have the detail,'” Mr Albanese said.
“No matter how much detail is put out, Peter Dutton will say, ‘Oh, what about more detail?’ That’s the game that’s being played here.
“He should make a decision of where he stands on this issue because this is an issue that isn’t the creation of a Labor government. This has arisen from the bottom up.”
Mr Albanese pointed to the fact that Shadow Attorney-General Julian Leeser was involved in discussions around constitutional recognition almost a decade ago, and that the Coalition’s former minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, was supporting the government’s proposal as reasons why the Coalition’s argument around a lack of detail was undermined.
“I’d say that this should be above politics, as the 1967 referendum was,” he said.