Vocal referendum: Linda Burney is filmed on microphone denouncing the “racism and intimidation” she faced in Parliament
Linda Burney was recorded telling NSW Premier Chris Minns that she had been the victim of “racism and bullying” in Parliament over the past two sitting weeks.
The conversation was filmed at a Yes23 campaign event supporting Indigenous Voice to Parliament on Friday morning in the duo’s Sydney electorate of Kogarah.
She said: “We have just finished two weeks of a grueling Parliament… to me it is just incredibly racist and intimidating.
“The way they treated me is appalling.”
Mr. Minns started to say “hey, you know what…” before adding “yeah”.
It is unclear whether the two men knew they were being filmed.
The conversation was filmed at a Yes23 campaign event supporting Indigenous Voice to Parliament on Friday morning in the duo’s electorate of Kogarah in Sydney.
Ms Burney, Australia’s indigenous affairs minister who is at the forefront of the government’s referendum speech, faced an avalanche of questions on Voice.
This week marked the last sitting week of Parliament before the referendum, and the Yes campaign wants to move the debate outside of Canberra and reach ordinary Australians.
In the house, Ms Burney was asked to reflect on comments she made about the treatise several years ago, as well as give her thoughts on Professor Marcia Langton’s fiery Voice videos.
She was repeatedly criticized by opposition members for failing to answer what they saw as “difficult” questions, instead often referring to pre-prepared notes on the proposal.
Ms Burney faced 14 questions in total – some from within her own party – during the week.
Now that Parliament is over and the referendum is over, Labor politicians and affiliated Yes campaigners are hoping to step up their efforts to connect with communities across Australia.
Despite falling support in the polls, the campaign remains confident in its ability to achieve victory, relying on non-‘soft’ voters and Australians who have yet to take part in the debate.
This is a significant hurdle to clear: for the referendum to succeed, the majority of Australians in the majority of states must vote yes.
She said: “We have just finished two weeks of a grueling Parliament… just incredibly racist and intimidating. The way they treated me is appalling.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Linda Burney (pictured centre) wants Voice to provide advice on health, education, employment and housing.
The most recent Resolve Political Monitor survey showed that 43 percent of voters supported a plan to enshrine Voice in the Constitution, a drop of 20 percentage points from last year.
Ms Burney pledged to ask the Voice to consider the “key priority areas” of health, education, jobs and housing if the referendum is successful.
However, The Voice will not limit itself to giving advice only on these specific topics.
Ms Burney says the advisory body would “have a bin full” from day one.
“Unlike the government, it will not be distracted by three-year election cycles. He will plan for the next generation, not the next term. The goal will be to create a better future for the next generation,” she said in a speech on Wednesday.
The percentage of Australians in favor of the referendum has fallen for the fifth consecutive month and since the last poll, Victoria has moved to a No majority, leaving Tasmania the only state remaining in the Yes camp.
Ms Burney has pledged to work closely with the Voice in her role as minister and will ask it to help “resolve the most pressing issues”.
“When I meet The Voice for the first time, I will say: bring me your ideas on how to stop our people from committing suicide,” she said.
“Bring me your ideas on how to help our children go to school and thrive. Bring me your ideas on how we ensure our crowd lives strong, healthy lives. How to ensure more people have jobs – with the independence and purpose that entails.
“How we strengthen culture and language. How we better support families. How to keep our 65,000 years of culture alive and make it stronger.
Ms Burney said she hoped a voice in Parliament would target the “systemic and structural disadvantage” of Indigenous Australians in a speech to the National Press Club in July.
She referenced statistics from Closing the Gap which demonstrate that First Nations people face higher rates of incarceration and higher risks of dying at younger ages.