Opposition Leader Peter Dutton ‘prepared’ to meet with Voice Working group after invitation from PM Anthony Albanese
Peter Dutton says he is willing to meet the referendum working group to learn more details about the Voice to Parliament.
Sky New Australia’s political editor Andrew Clennell announced Mr Dutton’s position on Thursday afternoon after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese issued an invitation saying he was “more than welcome” to attend.
“Peter Dutton told me this morning that he is willing to take up Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s offer… to meet with the working group working on the details of the vote,” Clennell said.
“Mr Dutton says he is pleased to meet with the group as the Prime Minister has still not responded to 15 questions he asked him about the vote in a letter he sent and released on January 7.”
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In a sit-down interview with Clennell on Wednesday, Mr Albanese said he is “up for” practical suggestions for The Voice.
“My door is open to this,” Mr Albanese said.
“Because it’s up to Parliament to be very explicit in the wording I put forward as a draft, it means it could change over time.
“So Peter Dutton … if he is successful after the next election, of course he will also be able to progress and improve.”
The news signals a break in the deadlock between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition over the Voice proposal.
Mr Dutton has been largely tight-lipped about whether he will support the Voice, but has consistently criticized the government for the lack of details provided.
He said in September that Labor had “made this up on the run”, telling a closed party room in August that he wondered if Australians understood the proposal.
On Thursday, Mr Dutton reiterated his concerns about the proposal at a press conference in Brisbane.
“As you move through the community, it’s pretty obvious that people don’t understand what the prime minister is talking about,” he told reporters.
“They understand that changing the constitution is a big deal.
“The tragedy unfolding in Alice Springs will not be addressed by what the Prime Minister has offered in the form of fig leaf.”
The Prime Minister has also extended the invitation to Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Julian Leeser.
Mr Leeser, one of the main supporters of the coalition vote, told Sky News Australia’s Kieran Gilbert he would be “delighted” to attend the working group.
“I’m looking forward to meeting them and talking to them, and hearing what they’re doing, and also raising the concerns I’m hearing from Australians who want to support this but don’t feel enough detail,” he said. .