Voice to Parliament: How residents in the suburb considered ‘ground zero’ reacted to Albo’s referendum announcement – after the PM launched the ‘Yes’ campaign there

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Voice to Parliament: How residents in the suburb considered ‘ground zero’ reacted to Albo’s referendum announcement – after the PM launched the ‘Yes’ campaign there

It's a must-win suburb in the state set to decide the fate of the Voice referendum but despite all the fanfare that Anthony Albanese and the Yes23 cam

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It’s a must-win suburb in the state set to decide the fate of the Voice referendum but despite all the fanfare that Anthony Albanese and the Yes23 campaign could muster, voters are largely indifferent to their message.     

The Labor stronghold of Elizabeth in outer northern Adelaide hosted the Prime Minister and the luminaries backing the Indigenous Voice to Parliament on Wednesday for the Yes campaign’s official launch.

However, the razzamatazz of the big-name event failed to spread much father than the Playford Civic Centre where the event was held.

Many voters in the surrounding homes and streets were unaware what the Voice even is. 

Some of the locals Daily Mail Australia spoke to didn’t even know they would be required to vote in the referendum, while others weren’t enrolled and had no desire to remedy that before October 14, when Australians will decide on whether to adopt the Voice.

Others refused to publicly state their views on the proposed constitutional change because they didn’t want to be seen as ‘racist’.

However, those willing to proudly state their opinions were overwhelmingly voting ‘Yes’.

Meanwhile, voters who had made their minds up fell fairly evenly into the Yes and No camps.

This is a reflection of South Australia’s status as a swing state, which both camps still feel confident they can win. 

To pass, the referendum needs a majority of voters in a majority of states. 

Politicians and key campaign figureheads descended on the small town to much fanfare from volunteers and supporters, who turned out by the busload to pack the auditorium

Politicians and key campaign figureheads descended on the small town to much fanfare from volunteers and supporters, who turned out by the busload to pack the auditorium

Politicians and key campaign figureheads descended on the small town to much fanfare from volunteers and supporters, who turned out by the busload to pack the auditorium

Politicians and key campaign figureheads descended on the small town to much fanfare from volunteers and supporters, who turned out by the busload to pack the auditorium

Politicians and key campaign figureheads descended on the small town to much fanfare from volunteers and supporters, who turned out by the busload to pack the auditorium

Pictured: A bus arriving at the Yes campaign event

Pictured: A bus arriving at the Yes campaign event

Pictured: A busload of Yes campaigners and supporters arrived at the official announcement of the Voice to Parliament referendum date

Chants of 'Yes!' reverberated through the room at the Playford Civic Centre, with hundreds of supporters decked out in Yes merchandise waving placards (above is Penny Wong)

Chants of 'Yes!' reverberated through the room at the Playford Civic Centre, with hundreds of supporters decked out in Yes merchandise waving placards (above is Penny Wong)

Chants of ‘Yes!’ reverberated through the room at the Playford Civic Centre, with hundreds of supporters decked out in Yes merchandise waving placards (above is Penny Wong)

Here’s what voters had to say: 

Rebekah, 20

Voting: Undecided

Rebekah told Daily Mail Australia she’s never heard of the Voice to Parliament, and wasn’t aware the Prime Minister would be in her neighbourhood trying to promote it.

‘I don’t even know what a referendum is,’ she said. 

The last referendum in Australia was held in 1999, before Rebekah was born. 

She’ll spend the next few weeks trying to research a better understanding of the proposal.

Yes23 campaign internal polling suggests there are still swathes of Australians who are yet to engage with the referendum.

A marketing blitz will be undertaken the next six weeks trying to target voters just like Rebekah. 

Several other young people told Daily Mail Australia in passing they haven’t registered to vote. One couple said they’re not planning to. 

Rebekah told Daily Mail Australia she's never heard of the Voice to Parliament, and wasn't aware the Prime Minister would be in her neighbourhood trying to promote it

Rebekah told Daily Mail Australia she's never heard of the Voice to Parliament, and wasn't aware the Prime Minister would be in her neighbourhood trying to promote it

Rebekah told Daily Mail Australia she’s never heard of the Voice to Parliament, and wasn’t aware the Prime Minister would be in her neighbourhood trying to promote it

A family divided: Phil and Trish Montgomery, 56

Truck driver and education support officer

Voting: No

Ryan Montgomery, 29

Student

Voting: Yes

While 29-year-old student Ryan Montgomery will be voting Yes come October 14, his parents aren’t sold on the model.

Education support officer Trish Montgomery, 56, said she needed to know more.

‘We all obviously want what is best for Indigenous people… [but] we just don’t know enough about it honestly.

‘We’re leaning toward a No. There’s not enough information and we still have questions.’

This family isn't letting different opinions divide them. While 29-year-old student, Ryan Montgomery (right), will be voting Yes come October 14, his parents aren't sold on the model

This family isn't letting different opinions divide them. While 29-year-old student, Ryan Montgomery (right), will be voting Yes come October 14, his parents aren't sold on the model

This family isn’t letting different opinions divide them. While 29-year-old student, Ryan Montgomery (right), will be voting Yes come October 14, his parents aren’t sold on the model

Her husband, truck driver Phil, agreed.

He is concerned about division among Australians, and said he wants everyone – wherever they come from – to be treated with respect and equally.

Their son Ryan listened intently, later saying that he’d spent some time researching the proposal.

‘I have a different opinion to them actually,’ he said.

‘I’ve done some research and worked with people and have different thoughts about it. I’ll be voting Yes.’

Ian Glanville, 77

Retiree

Voting: Yes 

Retiree Ian Glanville was thrilled the Prime Minister chose South Australia to launch the official campaign.

He told Daily Mail Australia ‘there is no harm that could come of it, only good’.

‘I’ll be voting Yes,’ he said. 

‘I hope South Australia will vote Yes. I think we will.’

Mr Glanville, 77, moved to SA in 1993 for work, and never looked back.

He said he’d come to know and respect many First Nations people over the years, and wanted to do his part in delivering constitutional recognition.

‘I remember one fellow used to call me Uncle on the bus. I learned later it’s a term of respect.’

Retiree Ian Glanville was thrilled the Prime Minister chose South Australia to launch the official campaign

Retiree Ian Glanville was thrilled the Prime Minister chose South Australia to launch the official campaign

Retiree Ian Glanville was thrilled the Prime Minister chose South Australia to launch the official campaign

Buddha Gurung

Voting: Undecided

Buddha Gurung said he is enrolled to vote in the referendum but doesn’t know much about the Voice yet.

He said he’s interested in learning more about it, but at this stage he’s ‘not sure’ which way he’ll be voting. 

Buddha Gurung said he is enrolled to vote in the referendum but doesn't know much about the Voice yet

Buddha Gurung said he is enrolled to vote in the referendum but doesn't know much about the Voice yet

Buddha Gurung said he is enrolled to vote in the referendum but doesn’t know much about the Voice yet

Monika Schwientek, 73

Voting: Yes

Monika Schwientek fought back tears as she explained what is motivating her to vote Yes. 

‘They deserve an opportunity to be equal and be counted in the Constitution,’ she said, adding that non-Indigenous Australians are ‘living life on their land’.

She hopes a Voice to Parliament will reduce the amount of money being wasted by the government – a message that Mr Albanese has repeatedly been trying to get across.

‘The money they’re wasting trying to fix things is not having any effect. They won’t take medical help all the time because it’s by white people, so I think if their people are doing it they’ll use it. Things like that can really be sorted out [with a Voice].’

Pictured: Monika Schwientek, 73

Pictured: Monika Schwientek, 73

Ms Schwientek will be voting Yes in the referendum

Ms Schwientek will be voting Yes in the referendum

Monika Schwientek fought back tears as she explained what is motivating her to vote Yes

Luke, 36 and Jess, 31

Indigenous Youth workers

Voting: Yes

Couple Jess and Luke are hopeful the Prime Minister’s appearance in their town will help to rouse a Yes vote out of South Australians.

As youth workers who have engaged closely with Indigenous children and teenagers, they consider themselves ‘very strong Voice to Parliament advocates’.

They weren’t in the area for the announcement, instead picking up a suitcase from the local shopping centre, but they were heartened to hear of the support.

‘This is a pretty Labor-orientated area,’ Luke said. 

He’s hopeful seeing Mr Albanese will help the local Yes vote, but knows ‘we’ll have to wait and see’.

‘It’s going to be a tight call. A very tight call. But I’m hopeful,’ he said.

Jess added: ‘We work in the same role and with kids who are Indigenous. It seems silly not to [have a Voice].

‘I don’t know why it’s even a question,’ she added. 

‘That’s probably controversial to say, but it’s true.’ 

Couple Jess and Luke are hopeful the Prime Minister's appearance in their town will help to rouse a Yes vote out of South Australians

Couple Jess and Luke are hopeful the Prime Minister's appearance in their town will help to rouse a Yes vote out of South Australians

Couple Jess and Luke are hopeful the Prime Minister’s appearance in their town will help to rouse a Yes vote out of South Australians

Local reveals why he won’t admit he’s voting No publicly

One local, who did not want to be named out of fear of being branded ‘a racist’, said he’ll absolutely be voting No come October 14.

He doesn’t think he is in the minority, but worries that there are many who have been shamed into keeping their opinion to themselves.

‘No voters are the only ones getting the backlash. That’s why we’re not going on camera,’ he said.

‘I actually think this Voice is racist. It’s dividing the country.’

He is concerned about recent media reports that ticks will count as Yes votes but crosses won’t count as No.

‘I think Albo will get his way. I think there will be a Yes outcome, because it’s all our Prime Minister cares about. That’s it, just the Voice,’ he said.

Noel Pearson reveals why South Australia is so important 

The widespread hostility and indifference was a far cry from the excitement being generated at the official launch. 

Mr Albanese, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, SA premier Peter Malinauskas and prominent ‘Yes’ figureheads such as AFL diversity manager Tanya Hosch were greeted with cheers and applause inside the auditorium.

Enthusiastic Yes volunteers and supporters arrived by busload. 

Chants of ‘Yes!’ reverberated through the room with hundreds of supporters decked out in Yes merchandise and waving placards in support of the Voice.

Passionate advocate and campaigner Noel Pearson on Wednesday described Adelaide as ‘the epicentre of our campaign’. 

Noel Pearson was sitting front row as Mr Albanese confirmed the referendum date, celebrating after a lifetime of campaigning for constitutional recognition and change.

On Tuesday, he described Adelaide as ‘the epicentre of this campaign’ and elaborated on why the state is so significant for the referendum.

‘South Australia is absolutely critical to this referendum, as it always has been to any progressive reform in this country,’ he said. 

Mr Pearson noted South Australia ‘led the nation in women’s suffrage’ and ‘led the country toward Federation’.

Noel Pearson was sitting front row as Anthony Albanese confirmed the referendum date, celebrating after a lifetime of campaigning for constitutional recognition and change

Noel Pearson was sitting front row as Anthony Albanese confirmed the referendum date, celebrating after a lifetime of campaigning for constitutional recognition and change

Noel Pearson was sitting front row as Anthony Albanese confirmed the referendum date, celebrating after a lifetime of campaigning for constitutional recognition and change

‘As a boy on a mission in Cape York Peninsula, my childhood hero was pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls, the first Aboriginal governor of any state in this country. And I was bewildered what kind of state would appoint one of our people as the governor? Well, South Australia was the state,’ he said.

‘In this campaign, we’re going to be calling on South Australians to once again lead the country.

Mr Pearson said he was both anxious and excited about the announcement, which would kick off ‘six weeks of conversations with Australians about the importance of this real reform’. 

‘South Australia, I think, as I said, is the epicentre of this campaign.

‘We win South Australia; we actually show the rest of the country a new direction for the relationship between original Australians and the Australian community.’

Yes campaigners and supporters outside Playford Civic Centre ahead of the referendum announcement (above)

Yes campaigners and supporters outside Playford Civic Centre ahead of the referendum announcement (above)

Yes campaigners and supporters outside Playford Civic Centre ahead of the referendum announcement (above)

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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