The latest Newspoll on Monday showed support for the Indigenous voice to parliament was declining, but Albanese said he believed most Australians would not “focus” on the referendum until closer to its date.
With the yes and no arguments to be made public on the Australian Electoral Commission’s website on Tuesday, Albanese said the yes campaign was “having a crack” and would gain momentum, but conceded it faced an uphill battle.
“What we know is that there’s been a considerable no campaign already that is out there just trying to sow doubt,” he told Sky News.
“The yes campaign needs to be stronger in putting the case because we know that referendums in Australia have been difficult in the past only eight out of 48 [have been successful].
“But this is a clear and simple proposition for recognition and then listening, in order to achieve better outcomes for Indigenous Australians.”
The prime minister said he would not be announcing the referendum date at the upcoming Garma festival, but again confirmed it would be held in the last quarter of the year. He said it would not be long between the time he announced the date of the referendum to when it is held.
“I don’t think that Australians appreciate very long campaigns,” he said. “That’s been the case in the past. So I don’t envisage at this time announcing a date at Garma.”
Albanese said he would not be attempting to guarantee the referendum’s success by altering the referendum question to only include constitutional recognition and then afterwards seek to legislate the voice through the parliament.
“We are having a vote. That is what Indigenous Australians asked for, and we are having a crack here,” he said.
Albanese said Dutton was “full of relentless negativity” on most issues, but said he believed Australians wanted “something better”.
“How well did it work for the functioning of the government that came in? How well did it work? Tony Abbott didn’t last for two years as prime minister,” he said of negative opposition.
“They had just the relentless negativity, and I think that Australians want something better. Australians want a positive vision for the future.”