Anthony Albanese has warned on-the-fence voters there will be no alternative offered should Australians reject the Voice referendum on the weekend.
The Prime Minister is staring down the possibility of a defeat on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament and is crisscrossing the country in a bid to win over undecided voters.
Speaking from Port Lincoln in South Australia, Mr Albanese reiterated his preparedness to walk away from the Voice as the Coalition questioned if the Prime Minister’s leadership could survive the defeat.
“I do hope that Australians accept this invitation from the First Australians on Saturday and in the lead-up because a no vote is a saying that what we have now is just good enough and we can just keep doing the same,” he told reporters.
“There is no alternative on the table. This is the option that has been asked for, requested by First Nations people themselves, after a long process, most of which occurred under the former Coalition government.”
More than two million Australians have already cast their ballot. Newspoll, published by the Australian on Monday, put the No vote at 58 per cent to the Yes camp’s 34 per cent.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, who was also campaigning in the crucial swing state of South Australia, claimed there were “rumblings” within Labor about Mr Albanese due to the Voice’s haemorrhaging support.
“The fact that he has turned 65 per cent support for the Voice when it was first announced into something more akin to 35 per cent. That’s a remarkable achievement over the course of the last 16 months,” he told reporters in Adelaide.
But Mr Dutton stressed the only poll that counted would be the one on Saturday.
He reiterated his argument that Mr Albanese had failed to provide the detail to voters and thus had not won over the minds of Australians.
“Australians aren’t stupid and the Prime Minister is treating them as such because he thinks this thing gets through on the vibe but Australians are not silly,” he said.
Mr Albanese pleaded with voters to consider some of the commentary around the 2008 apology to the Stolen Generations and the change that granted women the right to vote.
“I ask people who have been listening to some of the fear campaigns that are out there to just think back to the reasons why we never had an apology to the Stolen Generations, people at that time, including Peter Dutton … who found it so reprehensible that he walked out on the apology,” he said.
“Now, Peter Dutton said that he regretted that action and apologised for not being a part of the apology. And yet we are having a similar scare campaign, similar rhetoric that was there with Mabo, with other things.
“There were people then who said, ‘Well, not every woman agrees with giving women the right to vote’. There is nothing to fear.”