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On Friday’s episode of Please Explain, senior writer Jacqueline Maley sits down with chief political correspondent David Crowe and columnist Sean Kelly to discuss Saturday’s referendum.
What happens after the Referendum? Where to next for reconciliation? And what did the Voice debate reveal about Australia?
Jacqueline Maley begins the wide-ranging conversation asking if, and how, the horrendous events in Israel this week impacted the last week of campaigning.
Sean Kelly: We live in an attention economy. The Yes campaign is going into this final week behind – they needed to persuade as many people as possible, they needed to change minds … There is a great deal of indifference towards the outcome of this referendum. There have been weeks at a time when it has not felt like there has been much attention going towards the campaign.
David Crowe: I think it means that this final week of what’s meant to be the Yes campaign is really a week focused entirely elsewhere. And it’s focused elsewhere for good reason. I mean, what’s happening in the Middle East is shocking. And it’s something that has, for good reason, drawn attention from all sides of politics.
Jacqueline Maley: We don’t obviously want to preempt the result on Saturday night, but if No wins and Yes loses, as seems likely, what will the reaction be of the Aboriginal leadership? The men and women who have spent so many years decades in some cases working towards this reform?
Sean Kelly: I don’t think Australians are really prepared for this. I think most people will be quite shocked when they see what happens on Saturday night and in the days following.
Jaqueline Maley: What has the Voice debate shown us about ourselves?
David Crowe: It’s reminded us of how conservative Australia is as a country. I mean, we have a Labor government, but we’ve only got it there by a couple of seats. So these things can be narrowly contested. Australians can be very conservative – they rejected a republic in 1999. They appear to be willing to reject the Voice in 2023. Change is incredibly difficult. And division is easy.
Sean Kelly: The overriding message is that Australians do not understand there is a problem that needs to be addressed in Indigenous Australia … we have failed as a nation not only to come to grips with the past … we have failed to come to grips with the present and with our responsibility to fix that present.
Listen to the panel’s discussion in full on Please Explain wherever you get your podcasts.
Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.
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