Wild scenes of jubilation erupted during a raucous No campaign rally in the must-win state of South Australia on Tuesday night.
More than 1000 people, many wearing ‘No’ supporter T-shirts, packed into the Adelaide Convention Centre to hear leading campaigners Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO and South Australian Senator Kerrynne Liddle rail against an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, which would enshrine a Indigenous-led advisory body into the Constitution.
In an emotional speech, Senator Price broke down in tears when she spoke of her role as a ‘vessel’ for Indigenous people who she said had been ignored by mainstream politics and media.
‘I was a vessel for the women sitting in that room, the cousin of a young girl murdered, hanging from a tree,’ she said, referencing her address at the National Press Club last week.
In an emotional speech, Jacinta Price broke down in tears when she spoke of her role as a ‘vessel’ for Indigenous people who she said had been ignored by mainstream politics
Senator Price called the Voice referendum the ‘biggest gaslighting event our nation has ever experienced’ (pictured, the crowd at the Adelaide Convention Centre)
‘They are the voices the media ignores, they are the voices Labor ignore, they are the voices the Greens ignore, they are the voters the Teals ignore.
‘And they are the voices this bloody Voice to Parliament will ignore.’
As her voice rose in anger, the crowd rose to its feet and clapped and cheered furiously.
The outspoken shadow Indigenous Affairs minister called the Voice referendum the ‘biggest gaslighting event our nation has ever experienced.’
‘We are sick to death being told how racist we are, how horrible we are. Our own children are being taught not to be proud to call themselves Australians in this country,’ she said.
Senator Price argued a Voice would ‘constitutionally enshrine’ a victimhood mentality in the country and degrade the future of Indigenous Australians.
Senator Price also said racial politics from the United States such as the Black Lives Matter movement had begun to filter into Australia.
‘It doesn’t belong here,’ she said.
Protesters rallied against the No campaign outside the Convention Centre on Monday
Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO told the crowd in Adelaide that the referendum was ‘dividing the nation’ and the central argument for a Voice was a ‘lie’
Speaking before Senator Price, Mr Mundine praised conservative ideals as the best way to help Indigenous Australians advance.
‘Australia is not a racist country and our people are not racist,’ he said.
‘We wouldn’t be spending billions of dollars to help people if we were a bunch of racists.’
Mr Mundine said successive governments had spent hundreds of billions of dollars helping Indigenous Australians in the past 50 years and he said there needed to be better accountability for how money leads to ‘practical outcomes’.
Earlier, loud protesters gathered outside the packed out event, chanting with a megaphone: ‘Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.’
Appearing at a press conference before her speech, Senator Price criticised the protesters, saying there had been a growing ugliness in the campaign.
‘This is the level of racism and division the prime minister has to take responsibility for,’ she said.
She said Indigenous Australians such as herself and Mr Mundine had been subjected to ‘bullying, gaslighting and manipulation’.
South Australia is considered a key battleground in the referendum campaign, with thousands of Yes and No volunteers expected to fan out across the state to persuade voters to back the change, which would embed a permanent advisory body for Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.
Mr Mundine said the referendum was ‘dividing the nation’ and the central argument for a Voice was a ‘lie’ because Indigenous Australians already had voices in the government.
He also said Indigenous Australians had progressed in society since he was a boy, highlighting the growing number of Indigenous doctors, lawyers and other university graduates and the growing economic contribution of Indigenous businesses.
When pressed whether a No vote would mean a change to Australia Day, Mr Mundine said: ‘We want Australia Day to remain’.
Senator Jacinta Price is pictured beside No supporters in Adelaide on Monday
Earlier, loud protesters gathered outside the packed out event, chanting with a megaphone: ‘Always was, always will be Aboriginal land’
Senator Price said South Australia was a crucial state for the campaign and she criticised Premier Peter Malinauskas’ state-based Voice model.
She said it had gone ‘silent’ and had not improved the lives of South Australia’s most marginalised people.
South Australia became the first Australian state to legislate a First Nations Voice to Parliament, but elections for the advisory board were put back to March 2024, as the state-based model was being ‘overshadowed’ by the referendum and causing confusion among voters.
In her own speech, Senator Liddle also criticised South Australia’s Voice, arguing it had been ‘parked’ and the public had not been allowed to see how it would function.
South Australian Opposition Leader David Speirs was also seen at the packed-out event.
Senator Price said Australians must vote No to ‘unify the nation’.
When pressed on her earlier controversial remark that British colonisation had not delivered a lasting negative impact on Indigenous Australians, Senator Price said Indigenous Australians would ‘probably not’ want to return to life as it was in pre-colonial Australia.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk