Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has copped an absolute pasting online for his pitch to hold a national referendum on January 26 to decide whether First Nations people should be recognised in the constitution.
In a tweet posted on January 26 – a day of mourning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their allies – Albanese said that holding a referendum on that day in the future would be a “unifying moment” for Australia.
it begs the question: according to fucken who?
Albanese’s tweet came after he held a press conference in Canberra, saying that the country needs to find a way to shift away from divisive debates around January 26, and “move forward in unity”.
“We need to work out ways in which we avoid the divisive debate that’s occurred every year around this time about the choice of date to have our national day,” he said.
“One of the things that I proposed now three years ago on Australia Day in 2018 was the idea that we could do, perhaps, is to consider having the date for the constitutional recognition of First Australians, have that referendum on January 26.
“So that truly that was the date in which we could remember our history and our past, but also acknowledge, of course, that it’s a significant date.”
A referendum on constitutional recognition for First Australians being held on 26 January would be a unifying moment for our nation https://t.co/gY4ER2m6lr
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) January 26, 2021
The tweet, doubling down on his idea, was immediately blasted online and reportedly panned by unnamed Labor MPs who didn’t agree with the idea, either.
If only there were a way to do this without giving majority white people a chance to publicly campaign against it.
— anna s-r | sovereignty was never ceded (@annaspargoryan) January 26, 2021
Um. No ????????
— Nova Peris OAM OLY (@NovaPeris) January 27, 2021
Albo, this is half baked and twice cooked at the same time.
— Possum Comitatus (@Pollytics) January 26, 2021
Almost as good as a marriage plebiscite was for the gays. Whose side are you on Albro?
— stereogamous (@stereogamous) January 26, 2021
The fact that he personally pitched this three years ago, admitted to SBS it “wasn’t a very party political position” and found Labor members didn’t support his idea, you’d like to think that he stopped for half a moment to think about whether it was a good idea to bring it back up again in 2021.
Did we just plumb forget about the same-sex marriage plebiscite, and all the deeply homophobic campaigning and hate speech-filled conversation that happened in the months leading up to that postal vote in 2017? Because even that happened before he pitched this idea the first time.
This ain’t it, chief.