Peter Dutton
Peter Dutton's claim about the PM's prior silence on the voice doesn't match the evidence. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS

Dutton wrong about Albanese’s record on the voice

Kate Atkinson October 13, 2023

Anthony Albanese never mentioned the Indigenous voice before the last election.


False. Anthony Albanese mentioned the voice numerous times before the 2022 election.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has claimed Anthony Albanese never mentioned the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice before the 2022 federal election.

This is false. The prime minister mentioned the voice to parliament multiple times in parliament, public speeches, media releases and opinion pieces.

Mr Dutton, who is a prominent “no” campaigner for the upcoming referendum, made the claim during a radio interview with 2GB Sydney on October 12, 2023.

Peter Dutton
 Peter Dutton made the claim during a radio interview. 

“The prime minister’s been obsessed with the voice from the day he was elected, never mentioned it before the last election I might say, and now the first 15 months of his prime ministership have been lost to his obsession on the voice…” Mr Dutton said while speaking about the cost of living crisis (audio mark 22mins 30secs). 

AAP FactCheck contacted Mr Dutton’s office to ask for evidence supporting the claim but did not receive a response. 

The last federal election was held on May 21, 2022. The official campaign started on April 10.

Mr Albanese mentioned the voice to parliament on numerous occasions before these dates.

An early example is his speech to the House of Representatives on February 5, 2018, when he was the opposition infrastructure, transport, cities and regional development spokesman.

“The Uluru Statement from the Heart has advanced a constructive proposal for a voice for First Nations after extensive engagement. Indeed this is not a proposal for a third chamber,” he told the house.

Anthony Albanese
 Anthony Albanese spoke about the voice in parliament four years before the 2022 election. 

Seven days earlier, on January 29, 2018, Mr Albanese proposed that two referendums could be held on January 26 on Indigenous constitutional recognition and on Australia becoming a republic.

He again spoke in support of an Indigenous voice in parliament on December 5, 2018, in response to the release of the Joint Select Committee report on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

“The connection that First Nations people have with the land and with water is something that we can learn a great deal from, so Labor very much accepts the Statement from the Heart. We support a voice to parliament and we support constitutional change,” Mr Albanese told the house.

He also mentioned the voice when he was opposition leader in a speech at the 2019 Garma Festival and in his statements about Closing the Gap in 2020 and 2021.

Mr Albanese spoke about the voice in his speech on the 13th anniversary of the National Apology, in a January 2022 National Press Club address and in his budget reply speech on March 31, 2022. 

Anthony Albanese
 The prime minister also backed the Indigenous voice at Labor’s election campaign launch in 2022. 

Other examples of him mentioning the voice before the 2022 election can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

The voice was also mentioned in speeches and policy documents in Labor’s campaign ahead of the election here, here and here.

“I am proud to promise our Labor government will work with First Nations people to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full… We will deliver a constitutionally enshrined voice to our parliament,” he said at Labor’s campaign launch in Western Australia.

The Verdict

The claim that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese never mentioned the Indigenous voice to parliament before the last election is false.

Mr Albanese mentioned the voice and Labor’s commitment to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart, including the voice, at least 16 times before the 2022 election campaign began.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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