Steve Price rant about the Voice to Parliament, claiming it is ‘dragging Australians apart’

Steve Price has unleashed an extraordinary diatribe about the ‘divisive’ referendum on the Voice to Parliament, claiming it is ‘pulling us apart’ and doomed to lose.

The conservative firebrand opened The project on Monday about his views on the landmark vote that was green-lit by the Senate earlier today.

Anthony Albanese’s voice broke with emotion as he announced that between October and December, Australians will have a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to improve the lives of First Nations people.

The referendum aims to establish an Indigenous body to advise Parliament on issues facing Aboriginal Australians. It will also enshrine First Nations People in the Constitution.

“Where’s the downside here?” the prime minister asked. “What are people risking here? ‘From my perspective, this is all positive.’

But Price has poured cold water on Mr Albanese’s positive outlook, predicting that the yes vote will only win in News South Wales, Victoria, the ACT and Tasmania, meaning the Voice will ultimately ‘not rise’.

The Prime Minister said Australians will have a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to improve the lives of First Nations people between October and December this year


Do you want the Constitution to be amended to recognize the First People’s of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?

  • Yes 628 votes
  • No 7285 votes
  • Insecure 543 votes

“Everyone says this is bringing Australia together, but I’m sorry, I feel like it’s tearing us apart,” Price said.

He added: “The nation is divided about it. We had the plebiscite on same-sex marriage and I think that was a coming together of people and a good feeling about it – this has a bad feel to it.”

Price pointed to Senator Lidia Thorpe’s comments in the Senate today, where she petitioned for a treaty like in New Zealand.

“I’ve done a lot of media in New Zealand for a long time and the situation there is very divided,” Price said.

“What happened there with the way they handled the treaty has pulled people apart.

He added, “I don’t like saying it at all. I’m going to vote No, probably, but I can change my mind.’

He also accused Indigenous minister Linda Burney of being ‘naive’ after she said that now that the legislation has been passed, the politics of it are over – and it’s now up to the Australian public.

“Politics isn’t over yet,” Price countered.

“You get the yes campaign versus the no campaign led by politicians, so it’s all going to be politicians. It is not over yet. It hasn’t started yet.’

His remarks came hours after Mr Albanian read aloud parts of the Uluru statement from the heart, surrounded by members of the referendum working group, Indigenous minister Linda Burney and Attorney General Mark Dreyfus.

Steve Price (pictured) said he took no pleasure in saying he thought the Voice would lose

Steve Price (pictured) said he took no pleasure in saying he thought the Voice would lose

Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured left) will vote 'no' in protest of the 'symbolic advisory body' proposed by the government

Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured left) will vote ‘no’ in protest of the ‘symbolic advisory body’ proposed by the government

Moments before, the Constitutional Amendment bill passed in the Senate by 52 to 19. Among the ‘no’ votes were the Independent Lidia Thorpe and Pauline Hanson of One Nation – who were opposed for very different reasons.

Senator Thorpe said the Voice to Parliament will have no real power to make change and help Indigenous Australians. Instead, she pleads for a treaty.

Meanwhile, Senator Hanson argued that the advisory body is getting too much power.

Mr Albanese said the opposing views on his proposal indicated to him that he had ‘found the perfect balance’.

He said: ‘When people look at the balance of some people who say this goes too far and others who say it doesn’t go far enough, I would say we have the right balance.

“It won’t have veto power, it’s just that, an advisory body. Vote is a powerful word because it will give First Nations people a voice.”

Mr Albanese said: “The truth is that for most people watching this it won’t impact their lives” but it will “might make things better for the most disadvantaged people in Australia”.

After years of doing things ‘for’ Aboriginal people, often with the best of intentions, the Prime Minister said a Voice to Parliament would empower Indigenous people to take the lead on issues that matter to them.

There have been many concerns about what exactly this means. Critics of the vote say not enough details are being provided about the matters the advisory body will have input on.

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus tried to clear up that confusion during today’s press conference.

He listed five key themes that will become the focus of the advisory group’s attention: health, employment, education, housing and justice.

“This referendum can do no harm, only good,” he said. “Parliament has done its job and now it’s up to the Australian people.”

Mr Albanese later echoed Mr Dreyfus’ calls, urging the Australian public to take the opportunity to ‘make history’.

“Parliaments pass laws, but it is people who make history,” he said. Mr Albanese reiterated that he believes a vote to parliament is a “merciful” request that will bring Australia together.

Both the yes and no campaigns will now ramp up their efforts to engage with voters ahead of the referendum, which is likely to take place in October this year.

The Liberal Party, Nationals and One Nation will all oppose the Voice and contribute to official No pamphlets delivered to every household.

Labor and the Greens will collaborate with several independents on a Yes pamphlet.

What we know so far about the Voice to Parliament

Here, Daily Mail Australia looks at some of the top questions on the Voice so far, and how the government has addressed them:

What advice can The Voice give to parliament and the government?

The Voice advises on matters directly related to indigenous peoples.

It will respond to government requests, while also having the power to proactively address issues they believe affect them.

The group will have its own resources to research and engage with grassroots communities to ensure it best reflects their needs.

How are the members of the Voice chosen?

Members of the Voice are appointed by indigenous communities and will serve on the committee for a fixed period to be determined.

The way the communities elect their representatives is agreed upon by the local communities in conjunction with the government as part of a ‘post-referendum process’ to ensure cultural legitimacy.

Who can join the committee?

Members of the Voice must be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

They are elected from every state and territory and have a balanced representation of men and women at the national level.

The government has also guaranteed that young people will be included on the committee to ensure representation across the broad scope of the community.

Will the vote be transparent?

The government states that The Voice will be subject to auditing and reporting requirements to ensure it is held accountable and remains transparent.

Voice members will be held to National Anti-Corruption Commission standards and will be disciplined or removed from the committee if misconduct is found.

Will the Voice have veto power?


Does The Voice operate independently of other government agencies?

The committee must respect the work and role of existing organizations, says the government.

Will the Voice handle all funds?

The Voice will not manage money directly or provide services to the community.

Its only role will be to comment on improving existing government programs and services, and advise on new ideas coming through the parties.