Prominent Yes supporter Peter FitzSimons fronts column declaring that if Australia votes no it could be ‘our greatest day of national shame’
Prominent columnist and author Peter FitzSimons said if the Indigenous Voice to Parliament fails it will be Australia’s “greatest day of shame”.
FitzSimons made the comment while tweeting an opinion column with the same title by lawyer and investment banker Duncan Murray, arguing that the No campaign employed ‘a deceptive dog whistle’.
Mr Murray said the “harm” was caused by No campaigners who argued that “the Voice proposal would introduce a racial divide into the Constitution”, leading people to object to the welcome in their ” own damn country.”
He called these feelings “rage at the margins.”
“Given all we have done to First Nations people for over 200 years, this is a humble and gentle request,” Mr Murray wrote of The Voice.
Peter FitzSimons (pictured right with his wife Lisa Wilkinson) says if Australians reject The Voice it will be our biggest day of shame
“If we say no, it may be our day of greatest national shame.”
FitzSimons, a former Wallaby who lives on Sydney’s North Shore and is married to TV star Lisa Wilkinson, is one of Australia’s best-known authors and columnists. He is also a leader of the Australian republican movement and a strong supporter of constitutionally enshrining an Indigenous voice in Parliament.
FitzSimons, who inserted “#Yes” into his Twitter profile, said he was “a strong supporter of The Voice” during an interview with his “friend” and left-wing Yes advocate Thomas Mayo in April .
The tone of his interview was very different from the combative one he conducted with Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price for the Sydney Sun Herald in August 2022.
The interview with Mr. Mayo ended with a joking exchange about not threatening FitzSimons’ “entrenched white privilege,” while the interview with Senator Price ended with a ” “thank you” laconic.
Senator Price said the August 2022 interview with the columnist started out well, but Fitzsimmons became “aggressive…condescending and rude” towards her.
She said it was “like talking to a brick wall” and she felt “insulted”.
“I’m not a faded violet but he’s a very aggressive guy, his interview style is very aggressive, he doesn’t need to get going,” she said.
“Accusing me of somehow empowering racists because the issues I raise are being faced – he’s completely losing the point.”
FitzSimons made the comment while tweeting an article pleading for The Voice by businessman Duncan Murray.
FitzSimons denied Senator Price’s description of how the interview took place and said his claims were “complete and utter nonsense.”
The interview was a “professional exchange,” he said.
During the interview with Senator Price, FitzSimons disputed his assertion that Voice would drive a wedge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, which was not the case.
“With progressive sentiment sweeping the country, we are far more united now than we have ever been in our history, and the greatest divide, I respectfully submit, Senator, is people like you and your supporters?” FitzSimons said. .
“I don’t accept that. How does having a race-based bureaucracy written into the Constitution not create a divide? Senator Price responded.
“It conveys racial stereotypes that Indigenous Australians are a separate, homogeneous entity, which is not the case with us.”
FitzSimons also asked Senator Price if “during the silent watch of the night” had she ever “thought that in the very important and powerful position that you hold, you were misusing the platform that you have and actually harming the indigenous causes?
FitzSimons and Jacinta Price, leader of the No Advocate movement, had a combative interview in August last year.
Senator Price responded that she had no doubt about what she was trying to accomplish and the truth she was trying to unveil.
The referendum to constitutionally recognize Indigenous Australians in the Constitution through the creation of The Voice will take place on October 14.
Polls published so far show that the referendum is likely to fail.