24 January 2023

Michael Bradley: “To seek change as ground-shifting as the Voice, you need to be honest and you need to try to build the widest constituency of support. In the context of Australian constitutional reforms, that means bipartisanship. So it was wise to come out open-handed, asking the Coalition to join hands in the cause. But now we know that is never going to happen. We know that even if the polls shifted radically in favour of the Voice question being answered Yes, Dutton would only triple down on his mission to wreck it. This is a cast-iron fact. Dutton has also settled on a strategy that is likely to work if the government maintains its tactical approach. … If there was bipartisanship, the ‘lack of detail’ wouldn’t matter and the entire debate could focus where it should: on the question of principle. However, there is and will be no bipartisanship. The Liberals are disingenuously demanding ‘the detail’, and Albanese is not going to succeed if he continues just calling bullshit on that. Yes, it is bullshit, but … [it’s] time to change tack to find a way to neutralise the attack. … The 260-page report does exist, and nobody’s going to read it. If they did, they’d understand the necessity of the Voice. They wouldn’t lose this one chance to change our country, permanently, for the better. Albanese’s task now is to take those 260 pages, distil their essence and deliver that to the right brains — the emotional, triggered brains — of the fearful. To still their fears, neuter Dutton’s shamelessness, and engage their empathy for a righteous cause.” Albanese reckons “more detail would be released by the referendum working group, which is due to meet again on 2 February” — I think letting the detail come from the expert group is the right approach, but they need to get a move on.