Indigenous Voice to Parliament: Anthony Albanese ‘not sorry’ for going to ASEAN and G20 summits as Yes campaign support drops
A RedBridge poll taken in the first week of September found that just 39 per cent of people are planning to vote Yes in the upcoming referendum on October 14.
But, speaking from the Indian capital New Delhi, Mr Albanese said he makes ‘no apologies’ for missing a week of the Yes campaign, which he previously championed as ‘a once-in-a-generation chance to bring our country together’.
His absence came as it was revealed the Yes23 campaign spent $512,831 on social media ads in a month, only to see its support go backwards.
‘The G20 is such an important body. It represents 85 per cent of global GDP. And that’s why what happened here matters,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘One in four Australian jobs is dependent on trade. I make no apologies for being engaged because it’s important that Australia has a seat at the table; because it impacts on the living standards of Australians.’
Yes23’s massive spending on 4,786 Facebook and Instagram ads from August 7 to September 5 compares to No backer Advance Australia’s $64,165 for 135 ads in the same period.
Another No campaign, Australians for Unity, spent just $22,849 on 22 ads in that time, as the Yes vote fell below 40 per cent in every state bar Victoria.
In April, the Prime Minister said the Voice was ‘about how Australians see ourselves, but also how the world sees Australia,’ and that the referendum would ‘affect international perceptions’ of the country.
But while Mr Albanese spent a week in Asia, the pro-Voice campaign’s appeal for a Yes vote hit a brick wall and went backwards.
RedBridge director Tony Barry said the Yes campaign’s decision to closely associate itself with Qantas and its outgoing CEO Alan Joyce harmed it.
‘Attaching your campaign to a toxic brand like Qantas and one of the most disliked CEOs in the country might work if you are pitching your message to the members of the Chairman’s Lounge, but in suburban and regional Australia it goes down like a cup of sick,’ he told the news.com.au.
The Redbridge survey’s results were similar to that of a Freshwater Strategy poll taken last week which found 59 per cent of respondents planned to vote No when undecided voters were excluded.
Mr Barry said the Yes campaign is ‘now in freefall’.
‘The Yes23 campaign keep briefing the media that they are taking their campaign to the suburbs and regions but then they pivot back to media stunts with corporates, celebrities or former senior politicians who previously opposed it,’ he told the Telegraph.
One of the reasons the No campaign has continued to gain ground is that it has a consistent message in repeatedly referring to the proposal as the ‘Canberra Voice’.
‘Their research is presumably showing it is a persuasive message that moves soft voters into their column,’ Mr Barry said.
Another RedBridge director, Kosmos Samaras agreed that the Yes campaign’s messaging was not hitting home.
‘This suggests their research has completely missed the mark here and not identified the real drivers behind why people are voting Yes or what may help convince undecided voters,’ he told the Sunday Telegraph.
A quarter of those polled said their top reason for voting against the Voice was the No campaign’s key message that ‘it divides us’.
‘There are not enough details’ and ‘it won’t help Indigenous Australians’ were also listed as top reasons for not backing the referendum.