Voice co-architect Tom Calma takes aim at ‘ignorance, malice and misinformation’

Calma says that disinformation and ignorance can be countered by people “having conversations with families, friends, colleagues and through writing to politicians and newspapers”.

Last week, the First People’s Assembly of Victoria raised its concerns about the frequency and extent of racist abuse targeting its posts on social media platform Facebook following the launch of the No campaign.

In laying out a case for the Voice, Calma also pointed to the five different bodies established and then abolished under different governments over the past 50 years as evidence of a long-standing desire from Indigenous Australians to have a direct say in policies that affected them.

“All have been established by one political party and abolished or starved of funding by another,” he said.

Albanese on Tuesday said he felt positive about the referendum’s chances as he spoke in Adelaide before Wednesday’s launch, predicting most Australians would tune into the Voice debate in the weeks before the day of the vote.

The prime minister said he believed a majority of Australians would vote Yes if they read the wording of the constitutional amendment, which he emphasised was simple, positive, and had no downside.

“Consulting people is good manners, that’s what this referendum is about,” he said.

Albanese anticipated voters would not vote along party lines and noted his government would continue to focus on other issues as it campaigned in favour of the referendum.

The date of the referendum – widely expected to be October 14 – will be announced in the working-class Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth as part of a push to sway outer suburban voters in the swing state.

Senior cabinet ministers will join Albanese, SA Premier Peter Malinauskas and an expected 400 supporters at the launch.


The Yes campaign will also seek to display a sense of momentum across the country, with minister Bill Shorten and Greens leader Adam Bandt speaking to rail commuters in Melbourne, and Labor’s Tanya Plibersek campaigning with former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney said: “By voting yes to listening, and voting yes to better outcomes, Australia has nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

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.

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