Jacqui Lambie has launched a blistering attack on the government in the wake of the failed referendum, claiming it has left First Nations people “on life support”.
More than half of Australia, including all six states, resoundingly voted against the proposal to enshrine an Indigenous advisory in the constitution on Saturday night.
The Tasmanian senator revealed she was not surprised by the defeat and lashed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for not listening.
“There is going to be a lot of hurt out there. In the meantime, the last two years, basically the Labor Party has put Indigenous communities out there on life support,” she told the Today Show.
“They’ve done nothing for two years.
“I don’t know why you can’t speak and chew gum at the same time. Some of us have been standing there, telling you the actions that need to be done in these Indigenous communities, and you weren’t listening because you had one focus, which was to get the Voice up, and you failed and we have no plan B.”
Indigenous leaders who campaigned for the Voice have asked for a week of silence for Australians to grieve and reflect on the outcome of the referendum.
But Senator Lambie said communities didn’t “have a week left”.
“We’ve been sitting there for two years on this. We need to get into those communities and make them better,” she said.
As politicians return to Canberra, federal cabinet is expected to meet to discuss the next steps to address indigenous disadvantage.
The government on Sunday reaffirmed its commitment to treaty and truth-telling, the other components of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, as it moves forward.
Speaking to Seven, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles denied the referendum result was a failure of the Albanese government.
He said Labor had followed through on its election promise to hold the referendum and would respect the outcome.
“We now move forward with an increased effort to close the gap,” he said.