The No campaign is prepared to bypass Victoria in its bid to kill the Voice to parliament, with three prominent campaigners arguing the nation’s second most populous state is not needed to block the constitutional change.
An exclusive Resolve Political Monitor published last week showed the Voice referendum is headed towards defeat, with NSW becoming the fourth state in which a majority of voters have indicated they will vote No in the referendum.
Only Victoria and Tasmania indicated majority support for a Yes vote in the historic referendum, which is due in the final quarter of the year, and the Tasmanian figure was derived from a small sample of voters.
In a clear sign of the growing confidence of the No camp, prominent campaigner Warren Mundine said he wanted to unite the country and win over all six states and the national vote to the No side, but it wasn’t necessary.
“No, we don’t need Victoria,” Mundine said, before adding “it would be nice to have”.
“We were trying to campaign to get the three states, now it has gone to four states … after visiting Victoria [in the next week] I’m going to Tasmania. I want to win that state as well.”
“I want to make sure the polls are not close, I want a more united Australia, so that means I want a larger margin of victory.”
The Yes campaign must secure a double majority of four out of six states and a majority in the national vote to successfully pass the Voice referendum, but popular support for the proposal, which would create an independent body to advise the government of the day on policy matters relating to Indigenous Australians, has been slipping for months across Australia.
Victoria is seen by strategists as the mainland state most likely to vote Yes, delivering a significant boost to the popular vote as well.
Opposition Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Jacinta Nampijinpa Price mocked Melburnians in a radio interview on 3AW, saying that “there’s so many experts in Melbourne on, you know, the plight of Indigenous Australians from places you know, that I come from and the communities that I come from”.
“You only have to look at who’s running the show here in Victoria and, you know, the level of activism that takes place in a place such as Victoria,” she said, when asked about support for the Yes campaign in the state.
“Victoria is one of those difficult states where everything is about ideology and not common sense.”
Nampijinpa Price also criticised sporting codes such as the AFL and NRL, as well as individual sporting clubs such as Collingwood – the team she supports – for virtue signalling and backing the Voice to parliament.
“Sports should stay well out of politics. I’m really disappointed that there are clubs that have come out and said that they’ve supported it,” she said.
“They can’t describe to an Indigenous person or a remote community how the Voice is going to improve their life. So, you know, why should they be telling Australians how to suck eggs and how to, you know, vote?”
Opposition veterans affairs spokesman Barnaby Joyce agreed the No campaign did not need Victoria to win the referendum and block the Voice, but added that he was currently campaigning in the state.
“The PM has to put it off. Why create the heat that this will when it inevitably goes down? The only person who can stop the ‘imagine how we feel in the morning if it fails’ is the PM by stopping it now,” he said.
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