The Voice has failed, and Anthony Albanese has said he is responsible for its failure. Those were his words. And yet, he has not apologised for his failure.
Instead of accepting blame, his response amounts to nothing more than ‘well, we tried’. He had the chutzpah to claim this was a Labor election promise now delivered. A rare moment where the facade cracked, and finally Albanese admitted this was always about electoral politics. It’s just not good enough from our nation’s leader.
As I have said for months now, if I was an advocate of the ‘Yes’ campaign, I would be disappointed with how the Prime Minister has handled this referendum and how he tried to make the case.
I am sure many are disappointed in him today.
Labor luminaries, their pollsters and their proxies have been privately telling Albanese that the Voice was always on track for failure.
While there is some shock in the size of its failure, the fact it has failed is not surprising to most Australians.
Because Australians have been confronted with an arrogant Prime Minister whose first words as national leader were to write a cheque he should have known he was not in a position to cash.
His first pledge on election night was to enact, in full, a proposition which was completely unfamiliar to the Australian people.
It was a commitment he made with a mandate manufactured in technicality, not transparency.
It was a promise to our First Australians that he could not keep.
In the 18 months since, time and time again the Prime Minister has arrogantly placed ideology over practicality.
He tried to wedge his political opponents for electoral benefit, but instead saw a 65% majority for yes turn into an almost 65% majority for no – directly because of his decisions.
He then ignored all warnings and consistently failed to course correct.
He made it clear that it was his way or the highway, and forced Australians to choose the highway.
And so, he has taken us to a moment of national disunity which has hurt our country.
Indigenous Australians and many people across the community have walked a long way on this process.
I want to acknowledge those many people who have invested a great deal, in good faith, to this effort.
In putting his own political legacy before the long walk of reconciliation, Albanese sprinted ahead and left Australians behind.
The Australian people have responded clearly in rejecting his divisive approach.
The Prime Minister must now apologise for how he has mishandled this process.
All Australian must now come together and refocus on practical action to help close the gap.
We need to focus on what we know works and we need to make sure every dollar delivers better outcomes.
Regardless of what some have said in the wake of this result Australians should be proud of our country.
We are a fair-minded, good-hearted, compassionate people.
That has not changed.
That is why I am confident we can come together and forge a new path forward that will deliver a better future for Australians no matter where they live in this great country.