Indigenous Voice to Parliament: Federal Perth MP Patrick Gorman slams Jacinta Price’s No campaign event
Federal Perth MP Patrick Gorman has slammed a Voice to Parliament ‘No’ campaign event for “politicising the Anzac legacy”, accusing it of being “full of lies and misinformation”.
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, the shadow Indigenous affairs minister, addressed a 450-strong Perth crowd on Wednesday as part of her “Fair Australia” campaign at an event co-hosted by Advance executive director Matthew Sheahan.
The conservative lobbyist attempted to invoke the Anzac spirit during his speech encouraging a vote against the upcoming referendum — telling attendees they should not “surrender what our grandparents and parents fought for in Gallipoli, Kokoda, in Vietnam and in Afghanistan”.
Mr Gorman labelled the event and its war references as “despicable” and slammed senior Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash, who was in the crowd, for not publicly condemning some of the language used.
“Mr Dutton needs to call his shadow Attorney-General Michaelia Cash and Shadow Minister Jacinta Price and tell them to make a public apology,” he tweeted on Friday.
“Senator Cash needs to explain her actions in attending this event and whether she raised objections when the offensive statements were made. Senator Cash wants to be the highest law officer in the land.
“The sacrifice of the Anzacs should never be abused for political point scoring. Mr Dutton needs to put a stop to his Liberal team politicising the Anzac legacy.
“This is becoming a pattern of behaviour. Remember when Sussan Ley said the Voice would cancel Anzac Day, and even Barnaby Joyce said that was rubbish?”
Mr Gorman’s stance was backed by former Federal minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt, who said war references linked to a debate around the Voice to Parliament “shows disrespect”.
“None of us should politicise the Anzacs — doesn’t matter who it is,” the respected Libertal politician said. “Never politicise what our soldiers have done.
“I’m disappointed when we politicise any group in order to achieve an outcome. This is more about a democratic right for Indigenous Australians to sit as equals at the table.”
During her speech, Senator Price also mockingly proposed asking Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong if she wanted “an advisory body for Asian Australians”, which received laughter.
“We treat no other group of Australians this way. The separatism must stop. We don’t say, ‘Hey, let’s set up an advisory body for Anglo-Australians’,” she said.
Mr Wyatt said Ms Price’s references around Senator Wong’s race was “wrong”.
“It’s a strange comment to make,” he said. “Penny Wong is an Australian who’s doing a tremendous job in international relationships and working to ensure that our country, as a nation, is included in the global thinking.
“It just shows that people don’t understand the multicultural structures within this nation.”
Mr Gorman said Australians “deserve better” from Mr Dutton, Senator Cash, and the Liberal-National front bench.
“The Shadow Attorney-General especially has a responsibility to guide public debate about constitutional recognition in a respectful, factual way, rather than stoking fear and division,” he said.
“Peter Dutton needs to explain why he’s happy with two senior ministers attending such events.”
Former Liberal WA senator Fred Chaney said the campaign event on Wednesday night seemed more intent on causing greater disunity.
“The No case are illustrating that their case is about sowing division,” Mr Chaney said.
The Coalition supports constitutional recognition but wants a legislated network of regional and local Voice bodies, not a national body.
Senator Price was promoted after predecessor Julian Leeser’s resignation from the frontbench over the party’s decision to actively campaign against the Voice.
State Liberal colleague Nick Goiran was also in the crowd on Wednesday, however, his State leader Libby Mettam revealed earlier this month that she intended to vote “yes” at the referendum.
Ms Cash has been contacted for comment.