Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was heckled at a voting booth in anticipation after voting ‘no’ in the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum.
Mr Abbott was chased by a Yes supporter and repeatedly said he was “on the wrong side of history” after walking out of an early polling station in Penrith, in Sydney’s west.
“Always on the wrong side of history, Tony,” said the heckler behind Mr Abbott as he walked down the stairs away from the polling place.
The former prime minister was vocal in his opposition to The Voice, saying it would reinforce a deep-seated sense of victimization in Australia.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott heckled outside a polling center after confirming he voted no in the referendum Voice to Parliament
The heckler berated Mr Abbott as he left the polling station, telling the ex-prime minister he was “always on the wrong side of history”.
Mr Abbott has been vocal in his opposition to The Voice, saying it would only deepen Australia’s sense of victimisation.
What started as a casual discussion about his glasses soon led to Mr Abbott quickly leaving the scene after a Yes supporter began berating him.
“I guess I didn’t need my glasses to write NO, but I did,” Mr Abbott told one person before the heckler appeared.
“Always on the wrong side of history, mate,” the man shouted at Mr Abbott.
Mr Abbott was a key supporter of the No campaign, alongside current Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and fellow former Prime Minister John Howard.
The former prime minister, who created an Indigenous Advisory Council of prominent indigenous representatives during his tenure, had given speeches across the country, sometimes evoking the words of civil rights leaders, to campaign against The Voice.
At an Institute of Public Affairs event in Perth on August 9, he outlined his reasons for voting “no”.
“Quoting…the wonderful words of Bob Hawke on Australia Day in 1988, “We are a country without a hierarchy of descent. We are a country without origin privileges,” Mr Abbott said.
“Quoting the immortal words of Martin Luther King from a previous generation: ‘I want to live in a country where my four children are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’
“My absolute desire is that we can move forward as an equal people and that is why I will vote no. Because I absolutely reject any suggestion that there is something fundamentally wrong with this great country, the Australia.”
Mr Abbott said if The Voice’s Yes campaign was successful it would “entrench victimhood forever in our constitution”.
In 2013, while still in office, Mr Abbott appeared at the annual Garma festival to discuss Indigenous recognition.
“I want to say that as far as I’m concerned, one of the most important things that any new government can achieve is the definitive recognition of indigenous peoples in the Australian constitution,” he told the crowd at the era.
“Indigenous recognition would not modify our constitution, but would complete it. »
Mr Abbott also supported the Recognize campaign in 2015, which sought recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the preamble to the Australian constitution.
Both Abbott and Howard said that Australia was “lucky” to have been colonized and that British colonization had been beneficial to the country.
Building on this momentum, the Uluru Heart Statement was created in 2017 and served as a starting point for referendum discussions.
However, in 2013 the then prime minister said the constitution would only be “completed” when indigenous recognition was enshrined in the document, during a speech at the Garma Festival (pictured).
Australians have begun voting in the referendum, with next Saturday October 14 the last day to vote yes or no to the two First Nations peoples recognized in the constitution and to establish an Indigenous consultative body to the Australian parliament.
This will be the first referendum held in Australia since 1999.
The most recent poll suggested that the Yes vote would fail by 36 to 56 percent.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese voted at the start of the historic Voice to Parliament referendum from his home electorate of Marrickville.
“Yes for recognition, yes for listening, yes for better results,” Mr. Albanese wrote in a message on social media, accompanied by a photo of him voting in the ballot box alongside his son Nathan.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese voted early in the historic Voice to Parliament referendum from his electorate of Marrickville.
How prime ministers vote in the voice referendum
Most of the surviving former Prime Ministers weighed in on the Voice to Parliament referendum, providing powerful support to each side of the debate.
Mr Keating spoke to leading Indigenous rights campaigner Noel Pearson in 2022 and said Voice offered the best way to ensure practical improvement in the lived experience of Indigenous Australians.
The ambassador to the United States has shied away from the subject since taking up his new role, but he was the first to vote in Washington, DC, on October 2. He had previously strongly supported Voice to Parliament.
Ms Gillard launched the Yes23 campaign for expats in London in September, telling the crowd that “the Voice will ensure that we always hear, that we always have the best, the best voice to tell us what our nation should do Next”. .
Mr Turnbull wrote an article in the Sydney Morning Herald explaining why his government has not held its own referendum but is voting yes in Mr Albanese’s.
As the main campaigner of the Voice to Parliament Yes campaign, the current Prime Minister has made no secret of his full support for this proposal.
Mr Howard told The Australian that “I don’t think it will produce anything other than regular clashes between what The Voice is asking for and what the government of the day is prepared to do”.
Mr Abbott said The Voice would enshrine victimhood in the country and confirmed at a voting center in Penrith, Sydney, that he had voted no.
The latest former prime minister has remained silent on the upcoming referendum, but criticized Mr Albanese for “playing with the constitution” in a speech in May.