Voice ‘certainly winnable’ as pre-polling opens: PM

Early voting is now underway across the whole country for the Indigenous Voice referendum.

Early voting is now underway across the whole country for the Indigenous Voice referendum. Photo: Australian Electoral Commission

The referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice in the constitution is “certainly winnable”, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says, as more Australian stars commit to the Yes campaign.

All eligible Australians can now cast a ballot on whether an Indigenous advisory body should be included in the constitution after a staggered start to early voting due to public holidays in some states and territories.

With most surveys, including Newspoll and the Resolve Political Monitor, showing declining support for the Voice, things aren’t looking good for the Yes campaign.

But with just over a week to go until the official polling day on October 14, Albanese said the referendum wasn’t over.

“It is certainly winnable,” he told ABC Radio National on Tuesday.

“When people have those one-on-one conversations about what the question is … people who are either undecided or soft ‘no’ voters declare ‘yeah, that’s fair enough.’

“This is the right thing to do, this is consistent with the Australian principle of a fair go.”

Also on Tuesday, the first positive shift towards yes in months emerged in new polling.

The Guardian Essential poll still has the no vote in front, at 49 per cent of respondents. But it was down two points in a fortnight, with the yes vote at 43 per cent (up two points).

Both shifts were within the poll’s margin of error, of plus or minus three points.

The Essential poll also found that, with early voting underway, the “hard no” cohort in the poll of 1125 respondents outnumbered the “hard yes” cohort (42 per cent to 30 per cent). A further 13 per cent characterised their position as “soft yes” and 7 per cent said “soft no”.

Nathan Cleary's message for Yes

Source: TikTok/Roydaboy

The latest polling came as Australian celebrities including former Labor minister and lead singer of rock band Midnight Oil Peter Garrett and NRL superstar Nathan Cleary lent their voices to the Yes campaign.

One advertisement features Garrett telling people to find out more about the official yes campaign, set to the music of the band’s hit Power and the Passion.

“Your vote’s totally up to you, but don’t get sucked in by all the bulls–t scare campaigns,” the lead singer says.

“If you don’t know, find out.”

Cleary threw his support behind the voice the day after winning the NRL premiership with the Panthers, in a video posted on social media on Monday.

Cleary, who won the Clive Churchill medal for best on ground in Sunday’s history-marking Panthers’ win, recorded his short video after Wiradjuri man Roy Ah-See spoke to the NRL team three weeks ago “about the reasons Indigenous people asked fellow Australians for a Voice”.

Ray Martin's support for the Indigenous Voice

Source: TikTok/@voteforchange23

Journalist and long-time host of A Current Affair Ray Martin has also backed the Yes campaign.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” Martin said in a video posted to TikTok by Voteforchange23 on Monday.

“We can embrace this. It’s a plus not a minus.”

However, No proponents such as Nationals senator Matt Canavan say the government and Australian stars should focus on issues that matter, rather than the voice.

“The government only seems to have celebrities arguing for its constitutional change, not arguments,” Canavan told Sky News on Tuesday.

“I think the higher the bar should be very high to get change, and with all respect to Mr Cleary, I think we need actual arguments about how this is going to improve people’s lives.”

Progressive No proponent and independent senator Lidia Thorpe said the Voice was not about changing the lives of Indigenous Australians.

“This is about assimilation, putting us into their founding document – which is an absolute joke,” she told ABC Melbourne radio on Tuesday.

But Mr Albanese said there was no downside to voting “yes”.

“Voting yes, we’ll just give 3 per cent of the population the opportunity to be heard,” he said.

“We know that when people are directly affected and they’re able to have a voice and be listened to, you’ll get better outcomes.”

Early voting centres opened in NSW, the ACT, Queensland and South Australia on Tuesday, as Monday was a public holiday in those states.

Voting has already opened in Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

Anyone able to vote in person on October 14 has been urged to do so as early voting is for those who cannot get to a polling centre on the day.

Postal vote applications are open until 6pm on October 11.

13YARN 139 276

Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905

-with AAP

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