By Michael Koziol
The Coalition’s newly appointed Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Jacinta Nampijinpa Price says the Voice to parliament will divide her family, in a new campaign funded by right-wing lobby group Advance Australia launching on Wednesday night.
Price and her Scottish-Australian husband Colin Lillie appear in a video, a portion of which was released on Wednesday by a new campaign outfit called Fair Australia, which describes itself as “a grassroots movement of Australians” but is run and paid for by Advance Australia.
“Later this year they want to establish a so-called Voice to parliament. This is a really big deal,” Price says in the advertisement. “The Constitution is the rule book for governing the country, and they want the rules to change. This will divide us.”
Lillie says: “I love my family. And a line going through my family, I won’t stand for that.” Price then adds: “I don’t want to see my family divided along the lines of race because we are a family of human beings, and that’s the bottom line.”
Lillie is not Indigenous; he was born in Scotland and is an Australian citizen. According to an email from Advance Australia, the clip is from a nine-minute documentary filmed in Price’s hometown of Alice Springs that will be published online.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton appointed Price, who has long opposed the Voice to parliament, as shadow minister for Indigenous Australians on Tuesday following the resignation of Julian Leeser, who quit the frontbench so that he could campaign in favour of the reform.
The Advance campaign will be led by Price and based on four pillars: that the Voice is divisive, dangerous, expensive and “not fair”.
“The activists behind the Voice have had their chance and now enough is enough. Aboriginal Australians do not need a taxpayer-funded lobby group written into the heart of our Constitution,” the campaign website states.
“There are already too many culture warriors in this country – in the public service, in our sport, in our schools, and in our workplaces. They’ve come for Australia Day, and they’re coming for more. The Voice will mean they have the constitutional right to do so. It’s time we said: enough.”
Former High Court chief justice Robert French rejected that assertion last week after deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley claimed the Voice could have a de facto role in changing Australia Day or Anzac Day. French told a parliamentary inquiry the claim had “no substance” – and while the Voice could call for change, it would only be advice.
Eminent constitutional lawyer Bret Walker also said the idea the Voice would jam the courts with legislative challenges was “too silly for words”.
Advance Australia is a conservative lobby group that once branded itself as the right-wing’s answer to GetUp!
Executive director Matthew Sheahan told the group’s subscribers the ad campaign would “knock the pro-Voice activists out of the park”.
Earlier this month, Sheahan boasted the group raised more than $250,000 towards its anti-Voice campaign in March, which he said was subsequently matched by major Advance backer Simon Fenwick, a former fund manager.
During the 2022 federal election campaign, Swimming Australia threatened Advance Australia with legal action over mobile billboards deployed by the lobby group against transgender inclusion in sport. The advertisements contained photographs of prominent swimmers used without consent.
Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.
Most Viewed in Politics