His No campaign has misinformed the public, maligned his opponents, and muddied politics for a long time to come.
In yesterday’s The Age, Tony Wright summed up Peter Dutton’s approach to the Voice referendum in a single sentence:
The Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, who chose to align his parliamentary team with the No vote in what looks very much like a strategy to cause political defeat to Albanese, rather than a matter of national principle, and who has very successfully fostered distrust of the Yes movement ever since, has pointedly avoided placing distance between himself and those campaigners using manipulation through subterfuge.
I’ve just been in Canberra for the past two weeks. There I saw first-hand Peter Dutton’s ugly, negative approach to the Voice referendum. Every single day, the Liberal Party leader, and his frontbench, stood up in Parliament and backed a campaign that has spread disinformation — deliberate misinformation — to an extent we’ve never previously seen in Australia.
This debate was never about First Nations Australians for Peter Dutton. It was about politics, and it was about Peter Dutton’s political ambitions.
Let’s choose love and community over fear and doubt.
It’s been deeply depressing to see how the opposition has reduced such an important issue to personal politics. My thoughts have in particular been with First Nations Australians, many of whom have had to deal with harassment and vitriol.
Not all people have used the issue to seed division. On Wednesday, Julian Leeser told Parliament that the Voice was not about ‘special treatment or privileges’, but rather about “getting Indigenous Australians to the same starting line that other Australians are at.” He invited all Australians to “lift up their eyes, and despite their own challenges, to see the gap that does not close.”
On Thursday I was proud to join with Julian, and with Bridget Archer, as well as many of our colleagues, Michael Long and the Prime Minister, as they closed the Long Walk to Canberra.
If you feel compelled to take action in light of the Liberal Party’s handling of the referendum, I encourage you to click here to join the more than 100 people who have already signed up for a referendum polling shift.
The rest of this week’s newsletter is much brighter: I explain why I wrote an op-ed in the Australian Financial Review about Qantas, give an exciting update on the Middle Arm gas project, and share details about Kooyong’s upcoming housing forum.
You Should Get Compensated For Delayed Flights
When a flight is delayed by more than three hours in a European Union country, each passenger receives EUR250 on top of a full refund. When a Canadian flight is delayed, each passenger receives $400 dollars. In the United States, it’s $100.
Australian air travellers are disadvantaged by some of the worst consumer protections in the Western world. When our flights are delayed or cancelled, we count ourselves lucky to receive a $20 or $40 meal voucher.
With Qantas recording a $2.5 billion pre-tax profit, it’s the right time for us to question whether we’ve got the balance right between protecting consumer rights and protecting corporate profits — especially amid a cost of living crisis.
That’s why I stood up in the House of Representatives on Monday, and urged the Federal Government to catch up with the rest of the world.
With fare prices sky-high and people struggling enough, this is a simple measure to make sure airlines aren’t taking us for the wrong sort of ride.
An Exciting Middle Arm Update
Last month, I was thrilled to welcome the largest delegation of doctors to ever arrive at Parliament House, to help them sound the alarm over Middle Arm, a new gas project in Darwin that would unleash a 1.4 billion tonne carbon bomb if it goes ahead.
The scientists have been unequivocal: we must not open new coal and gas projects if we are to avoid the devastating consequences of climate change.
Now, the doctors are adding their voices. I’ve been in the medical profession my whole working life and I’ve never seen doctors stand up like this before.
I’m telling you all this because last week we received an exciting update. After communities like ours stood up and backed the doctors, we’ve had a breakthrough: the government has now agreed to authorise the Senate to hold an inquiry into Middle Arm.
It’s a crucial next step that will put Middle Arm under more scrutiny than ever before. It will give us the chance to make the case that the project should not go ahead given the potential impact on health, water and climate.
Congratulations to everyone who was involved — we’ll keep you posted on how we go.
Sign Up For My Free Housing Forum
The government isn’t doing anywhere near enough to fix the housing crisis.
The reality is that the parties have spent the past few months bickering over minor changes when we need bold, practical action to fix the housing crisis.
As with my other policies, I’m working on a housing policy in response to the community’s views and values — which is why I’m hosting the Kooyong Housing Forum from 7-8:30pm on 28 September.
The forum welcomes some of the country’s top housing thinkers to our community to hear what can be done.
Hear from Homelessness Australia CEO Kate Colvin, former Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Director Wendy Stone, and Under Cover documentary producer Adam Farrington-Williams at our special Kooyong Housing Forum.
What’s On With Mon
Buying a house — or renting — has never been more challenging. With mortgage repayments rising, so many in our community are having to make tough choices about what to buy and what to go without.
That’s why I’m hosting an in-person panel discussion and Q&A, featuring experts from across the housing sector, to explore what the Federal Government should do to help make homes more affordable to buy and rent.
The Electrify Boroondara Expo is designed to inform our community about electrification and energy efficiency.
To help fix the climate crisis and lower your energy bills, come along to the expo.
You’ll hear from inspiring speakers, including Saul Griffith and Alan Kohler, and have the chance to talk directly with suppliers to learn about practical clean energy solutions.
When you elected me last year, I promised politics done differently. Town halls like this one are a key part of that commitment: I’m taking seriously my responsibility to hear from the community, listen to your feedback, and represent your values in Canberra. It’s all part of my vision to put community at the heart of politics again.
As always, my team and I are always here to help where we can.
Have a great weekend,