Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been panned on social media for something he didn't say. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS

Albanese didn’t say voice opponents are ‘racist’

July 28, 2023

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a speech that anyone who votes no in the Indigenous voice to parliament referendum is racist.


False. There's no record of the prime minister ever saying that no voters are racist.

It’s claimed that Anthony Albanese declared in a speech that anyone who votes no in the Indigenous voice to parliament referendum is a racist.

This is false. There is no record of any such statement by the prime minister.

This Facebook post (archived here) makes the claim on June 9 as part of an 857-word tirade against the proposed Indigenous advisory body, which Australians will vote on later this year.

Albanese Post
 The claim is made as part of an 857-word critique of the proposed voice to parliament. 

“PM Albanese in his speech said: ‘Anyone who votes no is racist’,” the post caption says.

“How dare he insult the vast majority of Australia’s population.”

The heading of the post says “REASONS FOR THE NO VOICE VOTE SUCCEEDING.”, and the full text has been shared by other users here and here who attribute it to “Writer Mal Crowley From Alice Springs”.

However, the edit history of the original post shows that the text did not include the claim about the prime minister calling ‘no’ voters racists when it first appeared online at 11.09am on July 9.

It was then shared in an anti-voice Facebook group where at 4.59pm another user commented: “Add to that … Albo’s words in his speech ‘Anyone who votes no is racist’ ! Disgusting!!”

One minute later, that same user then edited the comment to add: “We all as Australians do not deserve his name calling!”

The original post was then edited at 7pm to add the claim about Anthony Albanese. 

AAP FactCheck found no record of the prime minister saying that ‘no’ voters were racist in any speech or other public comment.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
 Anthony Albanese criticised doomsayers about the voice in his speech at the University of Adelaide. 

Mr Albanese did criticise people making doomsday predictions about the voice in his Lowitja O’Donoghue Oration at the University of Adelaide on May 29, 2023. 

“Australians won’t succumb to their appeals to fear and their even more ludicrous invitations to jump at our own shadows,” Mr Albanese said in his speech.

“That’s because Australians have a healthy scepticism of doomsayers, a scepticism kept in good health by memories of all the predictions offered by the Chicken Littles of the past.”

Earlier that day, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton criticised the pre-released text of the prime minister’s speech at a press conference

“The prime minister (is) out there name-calling people and others suggesting that people are racist because they don’t support the voice. It’s completely and utterly unacceptable,” Mr Dutton told reporters.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton
 Opposition Leader Peter Dutton criticised Mr Albanese for “name-calling” in the speech. 

On May 30, Mr Albanese was asked about his speech during a radio interview in Adelaide.

“Prime minister, the Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton yesterday accused you of name calling and suggesting that those who oppose the voice are racist. Are people who don’t support the voice to parliament referendum racist?” the host asked.

Mr Albanese replied: “No, people will have a range of views and they’re entitled to it.”

Mr Dutton didn’t accuse the prime minister of calling no voters “racist”. He accused Mr Albanese of “name-calling” and said that “others (were) suggesting that people are racist because they don’t support the voice”.

Like the radio host, Facebook users appear to have mixed up Mr Dutton’s comment.

Either way, Mr Albanese dismissed the premise that he had said or thought that ‘no’ voters were racist.

The Verdict

The claim that Anthony Albanese said in a speech that anyone who votes no in the Indigenous voice to parliament referendum is racist is false.

There’s no record of the prime minister saying that in any speech or any public statement. 

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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