Trades hall secretary Luke Hilakari said many Yes volunteers had encountered offensive content and that calling out misinformation and division was important.
“It’s not a mistake from the No campaign, it’s a tactic. Former government ministers have imported these Trumpish tactics that should never have been part of our political discourse,” he said.
Brawling over the referendum reached intense and personal highs during the second last parliamentary question time before referendum day. Treasurer Jim Chalmers accused Opposition Leader Peter Dutton of being the “chief propagandist” in a campaign of lies, as the Coalition backbench hurled interjections at Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney.
Nationals leader David Littleproud was ejected from the house in a question time dominated by questions to Burney on Langton’s statements and others made by Voice campaigner Megan Davis about the prospect of treaty and reparations.
Dutton repeatedly demanded Burney stop reading information from a script and said if she was truthful in response to an answer about the Voice’s scope she would admit the advisory body could touch “every area of public policy”.
Chalmers claimed Dutton’s Voice campaigning was adding “more poison into the well”, an accusation Dutton’s deputy Sussan Ley labelled a “disgusting slur”.
Langton said on ABC’s Radio National on Wednesday morning that there were “of course” people advocating for the No campaign who were not racist, a day after it emerged she had labelled the No case’s arguments racist and stupid.
Responding to the furore over her quotes, she said the No side was trying to “frighten Australians into believing the referendum will result in damage to the Australian social and democratic fabric”.
Media outlets reported on Tuesday a statement made by Langton in July in which she referred to some voters as racist.
“The surge of racist nonsense is confined to a minority of Australians,” she said at a University of Queensland event.
“Ordinary Australians are thinking ‘Yes, of course I am voting for the Voice’, and that would be 48-49 per cent.
“Then there is hard No voters and I am hoping they are about 20 per cent and they are the ones spewing racism.”
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