Lidia Thorpe says she’d support a legislated Voice to Parliament despite being one of the referendum’s most outspoken opponents.
The independent senator argued that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s decision to rule out a legislated advisory body if the referendum failed was “weak”.
“That’s just weak. What a weak response. It’s like, ‘Oh, I’ll throw my bat and run away. I don’t want to play no more’ kind of attitude,” she told ABC Radio National.
“So you think it should be legislated?” host Patricia Karvelas asked.
“Absolutely. Why not? Let’s see how it works,” the senator responded.
“I oppose the Voice because the Voice is window dressing for constitutional recognition.
“If legislation comes into that parliament, saying that they want to set up another advisory body and it’s going to be fully representative of the people, as long as we’re not in that Constitution, I’ll support it. We need all the help we can get in there.”
More than four million Australians have already cast their ballot on whether to enshrine an Indigenous advisory body, the Voice, in the Constitution.
It would provide advice to the government on matters that affect Indigenous Australians.
For the referendum to be successful, a majority of voters in a majority of states must vote Yes.
But recent trends indicate a No vote is likely to be returned on Saturday.
In his last-ditch appeal ahead of the referendum, Mr Albanese warned that there would be “no alternative” if the Voice was defeated.
But the Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung senator – and face of the blak sovereign movement – said a No vote would be an “absolute victory”.
“It‘ll be a beginning of a real healing journey and a truth-telling journey that this country must take before anybody makes any decisions on us without us,” Senator Thorpe said.
The former Greens senator said the referendum had inflicted harm on Indigenous communities and put the blame squarely on Mr Albanese’s shoulders.
“This is Anthony Albanese‘s fault that we’re seeing the rise in racism, we’re seeing families divided, we’re seeing communities divided,” she said.
“The sickness in our community right now is real. And I blame the referendum.”
Last week, Senator Thorpe was tagged in a video of a neo-Nazi burning an Aboriginal flag while doing a Nazi salute.
The AFP is investigating the video, which was condemned by all sides of politics, but the senator told the ABC that she was “still under threat”.
“My life is in danger,” she said.
Senator Thorpe accused Mr Albanese of not protecting her and not responding to a letter or text messages she’d sent him about “a new threat”.
“He’s not doing his job. He’s not protecting me, which means I have to cancel my media interviews to be able to have a say in this country,” she said.
“I can‘t help to feel that he’s complicit in shutting my Voice down.”