Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with son Nathan
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese cast his vote in the Indigenous voice referendum a week early. Image by Michelle Haywood/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Young people ‘key’ to voice success as PM casts vote

William Ton October 7, 2023

Young people are urged to become the voice of their generation in the upcoming referendum as both sides make their final appeals on the final weekend before the vote.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took to social media on Saturday revealing he had cast his ballot a week out from the referendum alongside his son Nathan in his Sydney electorate of Marrickville.

“Yes for recognition, Yes for listening, Yes for better outcomes,” he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, with a picture of the pair casting their ballots.

“I cast my vote today for ‘yes’, and I did so proudly in the knowledge that this is the request of Indigenous Australians,” Mr Albanese said afterward. 

“A hand outreached simply asking for non-Indigenous Australia to grasp that hand of friendship in the spirit of reconciliation.”

Australians are being asked whether they want to put an Indigenous advisory body called the voice into the constitution.

It would be a permanent body but hold no veto right and the parliament would have the power to change the model and how it functioned through legislation.

Voice referendum
The ‘yes’ and ‘no’ vote campaigns are ramping up their messages with voting on the voice under way.

Senior NSW Liberal MP Matt Kean on Saturday went against his federal party’s stance on the voice, instead calling on young Liberals to ignore their parents’ voting intentions and stand up for their own beliefs.

“Our party needs the Young Liberals not to be a faint echo of what they hope will appeal to future preselectors, but to be a voice for its generation,” he said in a speech to the NSW Young Liberals convention, reported by the Daily Telegraph.

“I believe you are at your best when you embody the future rather than seeking to mimic and appease the past.”

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney praised Mr Kean for his call and said young people were “one of the keys” for the ‘yes’ campaign’s path to victory.

“I have to say to Matt Kean an enormous recognition of his intelligence, of his bravery and really putting forward to the young Liberals today – they understand that – they need to think independently about this,” she said.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott on Saturday urged voters to reject the proposal, calling the voice “a huge leap into the constitutional dark”.

Tony Abbott
Former prime minister Tony Abbott has called the voice “a huge leap into the constitutional dark”.

The ex-Liberal leader likened the change to signing a blank cheque in the constitution.

“Unless you are absolutely sure that this is change for the better, and unless you are absolutely sure that you are comfortable with all the possible ramifications, you should vote no,” Mr Abbott said.

Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor said many voters were frustrated the government was distracted from the issues voters were concerned about.

“This process, the way it’s been run by the government, and in particular, the division that is resulting from it, I think is a source of great frustration for many Australians,” Mr Taylor said.

Australians will go to the polls on October 14, with a majority of people in at least four states needing to vote ‘yes’ for the referendum to be carried, as well as a majority of Australians nationally.