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PM urges message of love ahead of Voice referendum

AFL legend walks 700km for Yes vote

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has urged MPs to spread a message of love, hope and reconciliation ahead of a referendum on an Indigenous voice.

Federal parliament rose for a four-week break on Thursday, not returning until after Australians vote on October 14.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Albanese paid tribute to AFL great Michael Long, who completed a walk to Canberra on Thursday, urging colleagues to campaign for the Yes vote.

“Michael Long has come to parliament … it’s up to us to carry his message of love and hope and reconciliation away from the parliament and back to the people in our electorates,” Albanese said.

“In the next four weeks, Australians can take the next step to a better future by writing ‘yes’. That is all we are being asked to do.”

Albanese said the October referendum was a once-in-a-generation opportunity for constitutional recognition.

“In the next four weeks, Australians can take the next step to a better future by writing ‘yes’. That is all we are being asked to do.

“Just as Indigenous Australians have walked those distances [to reconciliation], we are being asked to walk just a few steps to, with a hand outreached, to just join it. That’s what Australians do, move forward together.”

The Yes campaign will ramp up efforts across the country over the weekend, with thousands expected to attend walks for the voice.

More than 40 events will take place in capital cities and regional towns in every state and territory.

Meanwhile, LNP senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has warned the Voice would divide the country, using a speech at the National Press Club to say the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians was not caused by systemic racism.

She also rejected suggestions that the colonisation of Australia by the British had a negative impact on Indigenous people, resulting in intergenerational trauma.

“There is no ongoing negative impacts of colonisation,” Price said on Thursday.

“If we keep telling Aboriginal people they are victims, we are effectively removing their agency and then giving them the expectation that someone else is responsible for their lives.”

Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie said Price was speaking to her lived experience.

“The comments that Jacinta made were very powerful, they were authentic, they were uncomfortable truths in many parts,” she told Nine’s Today program on Friday.

But ALP national president Wayne Swan said Price’s remarks were “bizarre”.

“This story didn’t begin 42 years ago when Senator Price was born. It goes back to 1788,” he told Today.

“I grew up alongside Indigenous communities and she is denying their lived experience – experience of the Stolen Generations, experience of lost wages where people weren’t paid.

“There’s been a whole lot of traumatic experience over a long period of time which has left a legacy that the country has to deal with.”

-AAP

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