Voice to Parliament Yes campaigner Marcia Langton labels No voters as ‘racist, stupid’
Prominent Aboriginal leader and Yes campaigner Marcia Langton has accused No voters of opposing the referendum because of ‘base racism’ or ‘sheer stupidity’
Professor Langton made the comments at a forum in Bunbury, Western Australia, and said Australians need to apply more scrutiny to claims by the No campaign.
‘Every time the No cases raise their arguments, if you start pulling it apart you get down to base racism – I’m sorry to say that’s where it lands – or sheer stupidity,’ Professor Langton said.
‘If you look at any reputable fact-checker, every one of them says the No case is substantially false. They are lying to you.’
‘I’ve asked the No voters, what would you propose is a better option? What are we to do? Go on, as we are, with no change?
‘I’ve not heard any of them come up with a solution that would work themselves.’
The event was reported by the local Bunbury Herald newspaper to have been held on the campus of Edith Cowan University, but the institution denied organising it.
Professor Langton appeared alongside local Labor state MP Don Punch who is said to have hosted the forum.
Her comments come after the office of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stressed the need for a ‘respectful debate’ on the Voice referendum to Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday.
No campaign leader Jacinta Price, shadow minister for Indigenous Australians, slammed Prof Langton’s name-calling which would be ‘highly offensive’ to half the country, she said.
She told The Australian it was an ‘insight into the mindset and agenda of the Aboriginal activists pushing the divisive Voice.’
Senator Price added: ‘Whichever way the referendum goes, the result looks like it will be extremely close.
‘Any suggestion no voters who are unpersuaded by their proposed voice are siding with racism or stupidity is highly offensive to at least half the country.’
Prof Langton’s abusive language is at odds with the official line from the PM’s office which has been demanding a ‘respectful’ debate after Indigenous Australians said they faced a tsunami of racist vitriol since the referendum was promised.
Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney repeated the call for respect in Question Time on Tuesday.
‘I want to say this very clearly,’ she said. ‘I call on everyone involved in this referendum to act respectfully and with care for their fellow Australians.
‘We are a great country. We are enhanced by listening to a diversity of views and opinions.
‘Fundamentally the voice is all about the act of listening. Listening to some of the most disadvantaged Australians, First Nations people, listening to remote communities so we can help close the gap and improve lives.
‘Because we know that listening leads to better results. Of course there is no room for racism of any kind in this country. We are a diverse country.
‘This is one of our greatest strengths. Whether your family arrived here 60,000 years ago, six years ago, we’re all part of this country’s story.’
Ahe added: ‘I encourage all Australians to vote yes on October 14 because it is time to listen, it is time for recognition.’
Yes campaigner Noel Pearson called for a more considered debate on the ABC on Tuesday to win over voters swaying either way on the vote.
‘There’s a great swag of Australians who still are undecided or soft in their No or soft in their Yes,’ Mr Pearson said.
‘I’m finding that as long as we treat their questions and concerns with respect and we attend the outstanding questions they have in their minds I find that people are willing to listen to the answers and people are willing to contemplate changing their position once they have a greater understanding, a clear understanding of what we’re doing with this referendum.
‘So, it’s ours to win.’
But he admitted the vote would be ‘a test of our democracy, because the real question, I think the big question is, can hope and belief and optimism triumph over fear and anger?
‘You know, that’s a real question for us in this social media age, in the modern democratic age, can a campaign of positivity for the future prevail against a headwind, an absolute raging storm of fear and anger.’
More to come