‘A Judas betrayal of our country’: Noel Pearson’s attack on Liberal Party

Prominent Indigenous leader Noel Pearson has responded to the Liberal Party’s decision to oppose the Voice by accusing Opposition Leader Peter Dutton of betraying Australia and the nation’s chances of reconciling with its Indigenous peoples.

In media appearances on Thursday morning, Dutton said he felt a duty to protect Australians from the Voice because the proposed model would fundamentally change Australia’s system of government.

Noel Pearson was highly critical of the Liberal Party position headed by Peter Dutton.

Dominic Lorrimer/Peter Dutton

But he was savaged by Pearson, who told Radio National Breakfast: “I couldn’t sleep last night. I was troubled by dreams and the spectre of the Dutton Liberal Party’s Judas betrayal of our country.”

“They’ve had 11 years of power to work on a proper proposal for recognition and the decision they’ve taken yesterday is a very poor outcome [after] 11 years of power … I see the leader of the Liberal Party, Mr Dutton, as an undertaker preparing the grave to bury Uluru.”

Pearson quoted former US first lady Michelle Obama’s famous statement “when they go low, we go high” and said the “yes” campaign would win by appealing to the “better angels of the Australian people”.

“In the campaign going forward it will be Dutton and [One Nation leader Pauline] Hanson versus the good will of the Australian people,” he said.

Pearson’s comments were echoed by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who said in Sydney on Thursday morning that the opposition’s stance was “consistent with the undermining of constitutional recognition that he has undertaken since the day that he became leader of the Liberal Party”.

“This is an issue that should be above politics, but as Noel Pearson said, Peter Dutton is acting like the undertaker preparing the grave to bury Uluru,” the prime minister said, referring to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the document that called for a constitutionally enshrined body after years of conversations around Australia hosted by Indigenous communities.

“Yesterday’s position was confused. It said we support constitutional recognition but not now. We support voices, but not a national voice … And the disingenuous nature of this response is summed up by talking about a Canberra Voice. This is anything but.”

Dutton and Liberal frontbenchers Simon Birmingham and Paul Fletcher defended the party’s position and emphasised the Coalition’s support for symbolic recognition of Indigenous Australians in the constitution but not through the creation of a national Voice.

“I think Australians are starting to realise this is a significant change to our constitution, probably the biggest change proposed since the federation,” Dutton said on the program.

“I think we’re talking about a system of changing our whole way of government and as a lot of Australians are realising, it may just be another bureaucracy that’s not going to help Indigenous Australians.

“We said yes to constitutional recognition. We believe that’s important. We do believe that’s important.”

Former Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein came out in support of federal Liberal backbencher Bridget Archer, who opposes Dutton’s position and says she will campaign for the referendum to succeed.

“I agree with Bridget,” Gutwein posted on Twitter. “And should the Liberal Party maintain its opposition to the voice it will simply accelerate its increasing irrelevance!”

( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )

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