Interview with Kate Freebairn, 10 News First: Midday
12 October 2023
KATE FREEBAIRN: Parliament referendum day is nearly here. And while 4 million Aussies have already had their say, there are still many more who will turn up to polling booths on Saturday to news first midday has been checking in with campaigners and supporters in both the yes and no camps. And we're joined now by no supporter and Liberal Party Senator Jane Hume. Jane, thanks for your time. As Shadow Special Minister of State your portfolio includes electoral issues. What do you make of reports an Indigenous elder was stopped from voting while he was wearing a yes campaign shirt?
JANE HUME: Kate, it's always been a tradition in elections that campaigners can't actually go into a voting place, a booth while they're wearing campaign material. That's the same at elections as it is at referendums. Of course, it's important that every Australian has their say that's why there's two weeks of pre-poll available for everybody to get out, have their say, get to a polling place, and make sure that they write the words 'yes' or 'no' in the ballot box to ensure that their vote counts.
KATE FREEBAIRN: What about the claims of racist abuse held from both sides of the campaign at polling booths? What more could have been done to stop that?
JANE HUME: Kate, this has been such a divisive campaign for all Australians and so unnecessarily so. Like so many Australians, I fundamentally believe in constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians. However, using a Voice to Parliament as the vehicle for that is something that I can't abide by and indeed, is something that the Coalition has said they cannot support. While our heart says yes, of course we want to see Indigenous Australians recognised in the Constitution. My head and my gut says no this isn't the way. And unfortunately, Anthony Albanese veered away from the pathway of bipartisanship on this issue, because it could have gone in a different direction. I'm really saddened that we're going to get to the end of referendum day and if the polls are right, this is a referendum that is going to fail but it didn't need to be this way. This was a choice that Anthony Albanese had made. It's divided Australians rather than united us, and that will be on him on Sunday morning.
KATE FREEBAIRN: Has the no campaign emboldened that racism out there when people like Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price have said there are no ongoing negative impacts of colonialism?
JANE HUME: Senator Nampijinpa Price has been an extraordinary advocate for her community for years and years and she speaks on behalf of not just Indigenous Australians, but other Australians as well that have rightly have concerns with the question that is before us. We know that you cannot support a proposition that we cannot answer questions on. Peter Dutton put out questions early on in this process, about 15 questions about how a voice to Parliament would work, who would be represented on there, how they would be chosen. None of those questions have been able to be answered. If you can't explain how it's going to work and you can't change it once it's there, because once it's in the Constitution, it is enshrined there forever. Even if the gap is closed, there will still be an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament, and more importantly, if it risks what we already have, which let's face it is a Constitution that has underpinned the most peaceful, multicultural, stable liberal democracy in the world, well how can you support this proposition?
KATE FREEBAIRN: We are very close. Okay, thank you, Senator Jane Hume for your time.