Linda Burney Criticises Peter Dutton’s ‘Bullyboy Tactics’ in Indigenous Voice Debate

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Linda Burney, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, has spoken out against the “bullyboy tactics” employed by opponents of the Indigenous Voice debate, particularly targeting opposition leader Peter Dutton.

In her address to the National Press Club, Burney urged the public not to let the “no campaign” divide them using divisive politics similar to those employed by former US President Donald Trump.

“It is post-truth. Its aim is to polarise, to sow division in our society by making false claims, including that providing advice to the government would somehow impact the fundamental democratic principle of one vote, one value. A claim designed to mislead,” Burney said.

Burney’s speech coincided with the release of a report by the Diversity Council of Australia, which revealed a 9% increase in discrimination, harassment, and racism experienced by First Nations employees since 2021. 

While Burney criticised claims that the Voice would “re-racialise” Australia or threaten national events, she emphasised the importance of ongoing consultation with Indigenous communities regarding the details of the Indigenous Voice.

The government has been critical of the Fair Australia campaign, run by the conservative lobby group Advance, accusing it of spreading misinformation and attempting to polarise society. On the other hand, Burney highlighted the support for the Indigenous Voice from major sporting codes, charities, church groups, and leading businesses, refuting claims made by Peter Dutton about business leaders opposing the Voice.

“I just think elites like Ms Burney and the CEOs of the big companies yelling at Australians, telling them that they’re racist if they don’t vote for the Voice, or telling them that they’re hard-hearted, or suggesting that our international reputation will be tarnished – that’s not the way to win a vote,” Dutton claimed.

Overall, the Indigenous Voice debate sparks intense discussions, emphasising the need for careful consideration and respectful dialogue to shape Australia’s approach to Indigenous issues.

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