Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has admitted he “expected the worst” ahead of the voice referendum.
As poll numbers for the Yes vote continue to plummet across the country, Mr Albanese has also had to reject suggestions by The Voice to divert his government’s attention from the cost-of-living crisis Australians face on a daily basis.
Mr Albanese has previously described the prospect of a failure of the October 14 referendum as “hypothetical” on which he is not focusing.
Mr Albanese is at odds with the opposition, with coalition leader Peter Dutton staunchly opposed to the referendum.
The Prime Minister said he hoped he would garner cross-party support for the Yes campaign but admitted he “expected the worst”.
“Politics will always be a challenge,” he said The Australian.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has admitted he “expected the worst” ahead of the voice referendum
Mr Dutton has promised to hold a second referendum if the vote fails in October.
He will hold a referendum to constitutionally recognize Indigenous Australians without establishing a body.
“The problem isn’t that entertainers and people from uptown support or lend their support to the voice, it’s that the prime minister doesn’t support the public in their decision-making,” Dutton said.
“He is intentionally withholding information and is withholding that information until after the election. He’s made it very clear that he’ll give you the details after the vote, which is quite remarkable.”
Mr Albanese says he thought he would be given credit for “having a crack” and tried to hold a referendum.
A leading yes proponent blamed the prime minister for the dwindling yes vote, which averages just over 46 percent in nationwide polls, according to ABC.
The well-known Jesuit priest and constitutional lawyer Father Frank Brennan wrote in: Weekend Aussies The vote faltered because Mr Albanese had made three “Captain’s Picks” that had caused major division.
Father Brennan said the mistakes are in choosing a sweeping constitutional model for the vote, abandoning a convention to allow the public to participate in shaping the body, and instead negotiating this in secret with hand-picked working groups.
Although Father Brennan said he would vote “yes”, Mr Albanese’s decisions had left voters with an “unpleasant choice”.
With the No votes rising, opinion polls show Mr Albanese believed that even if the referendum failed, he would be viewed positively because he has “a cracker”.
“Regardless of the outcome, my hope is that no future prime minister again makes a series of captaincy decisions without a process of public engagement,” Father Brennan wrote.
“It’s no way to bring the country together in a yes.” “Unfortunately, the country will be divided regardless of the outcome of the October 14 vote.”
Mr Albanese has also had to resist accusations that the referendum was mistimed because it distracted his government from Australia’s serious economic woes and made voters increasingly angry.
The PM said there was no ideal time for such a referendum and that now is as good a time as any.
“The question for me was to take all these people into account, (Tom) Calma, (Marcia) Langton, (Noel) Pearson, and the idea that I could say, ‘Hey, you know, we said we would hold a referendum, but we can.’ “Don’t do it for another year,” he said.
“You’re just like, ‘Nup, I’m for it, I believe in it and I’m going to do it’.”
Mr Albanese insisted his government could champion the vote while tackling mounting economic woes.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton has accused the Prime Minister of “taking his eyes off the ball” on economic issues.
“Just this past week we’ve focused on skills, resources, jobs, Medicare and things that are having an impact,” he said.
“We are focused on cost of living pressures, a very comprehensive economic agenda and an international agenda that includes trade and economic relations.”
Treasurer Jim Chalmers repeated the Prime Minister’s message.
“We can focus on the pressures that people are under and we can invest in the future of our country while achieving this,” said Dr. Chalmers.
“The cost of living is the number one concern for Australians and as such delivering billions of dollars in responsible cost-of-living relief is the government’s primary focus.”
In June, opposition leader Peter Dutton accused Mr Albanese that his “obsession with the voice” made him “lose sight of economic policy”.