Managing the post referendum fall out

Managing the post referendum fall out

Through this process, reputations have been damaged and enhanced.

Last night’s post referendum speeches had me glued to the TV.

I, along with millions of other Australians wanted to see how our Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, would respond following the Referendum loss, and wanted to see how the Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton, would handle his time in rarefied air.

This has been about politics, make no mistake about it. No Referendum has ever gotten up without bipartisan support, and this was a free hit to a Liberal party trying to regain ground after a demoralising 2022 Federal election loss.

Albanese positioned himself in the aftermath as a “Conviction Politician”. He was in full-throttle personal-brand damage control. Calm and emotional on the outside, he knows, better than most, how fragile political leadership in Australian politics is.

Dutton went on the offensive, but would have been better to not politicise his response, drifting into criticising Labour’s leadership in matters of Power Bills and Cost of Living. For mine, Dutton took the shine off what should have been his victory lap, taking cheap shots following the resolution of a life shattering decision for many Australians (39% of Australian’s voted ‘YES”).

The star of the campaign and clearly the big reputational winner from the Referendum was Indigenous Senator,  Jacinta Nampijinpa Price. That said, I was baffled by her comment “We (Australia) are not a racist country.” I understand her position throughout the campaign was that the “Yes” campaign was divisive and she asserted that she, and others in the broader Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander community, wanted to be treated as equals (not separated out, through having an exclusive Voice to Parliament). But I think you’d have to be ‘Blind Freddy’ to not believe racism still exists within our society, on so many levels. Whilst she was being pointed, I believe it was a mis-step in her hour of victory, thinly veiled and hard to believe given the world we live in today.

Through this process, reputations have been damaged and enhanced. This referendum was never going to get up without bipartisan support, but what I’ve learned is the kind of Leader we have and their ability to navigate through the issues.

In the wash up, “If you don’t know, vote no” seemed to be the winner. It cut through, and Albo was not clear enough in addressing this.

One thing is for certain, Indigenous health, education and incarceration is on the agenda like never before. Let’s hope our Leaders can be bipartisan in their support of addressing this shameful issue.