Former PM Tony Abbott to attend Raymond Terrace ‘No’ vote rally

Former PM Tony Abbott will speak at a rally at the Raymond Terrace Bowling Club on Thursday 5 October from 5:30pm.

FORMER Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a one time ‘special envoy on Indigenous affairs’ under Scott Morrison, will visit Raymond Terrace this week to attend a Voice to Parliament ‘No’ vote campaign event ahead of the Referendum on October 14.

Mr Abbott, occasionally referred to by the moniker of ‘Uncle Tony’ in progressive circles due to his record on Indigenous affairs, has been a staunch opponent of the Voice since it was announced.

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The former PM will speak at a rally at the Raymond Terrace Bowling Club on Thursday 5 October from 5:30pm, an event organised by the Paterson Liberals in conjunction with Newcastle and Hunter for NO.

“We are very excited to have Mr Abbott here in the Hunter,” said a spokesperson for the Paterson Liberals.

“The No campaign is receiving a lot of community support, and we hope that Mr Abbott’s visit will increase that.”

Despite being ahead across a variety of polls just a week out from referendum day, Blake Keating, the campaign manager for Newcastle and Hunter for NO, said the No camp was taking nothing for granted.

“It is an old political saying that the only poll that matters is the one on election day, and that is certainly our attitude.

“We are of course very encouraged by the recent national and local polling, but we’re taking nothing for granted,” said Mr Keating.

Mr Keating described Mr Abbott as an “articulate and consistent advocate for speaking out about the risks of this proposal”.

Mr Abbott famously championed the idea of a referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution while he was Prime Minister.

However, in 2014, he drew ire from Indigenous advocates for comments comparing the arrival of the First Fleet to “foreign investment”.

“‘I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then-unsettled or scarcely settled great south land,” Mr Abbott said at the Melbourne Institute economic conference.

The same year, Mr Abbott, at a breakfast with former British Prime Minister David Cameron, described pre-1788 Sydney as “nothing but bush”.

“As we look around this glorious city, as we see the extraordinary development, it’s hard to think that back in 1788 it was nothing but bush and that the marines and the convicts and the sailors that straggled off those twelve ships just a few hundred yards from where we are now must have thought they’d come almost to the moon.”

A flood of high profile Liberal identities have arrived in Port Stephens in recent weeks, with Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton questioned on the Voice during his recent visit to Shoal Bay.

Mr Dutton was asked to comment on prominent Yes campaigner Noel Pearson’s comments that the Voice to Parliament was the “last, best hope” for reconciliation.

Mr Dutton once again echoed the chorus of No voters who suggest not enough detail has been provided to the public about what the Voice will entail.

“It would make more sense to have designed the Voice so that people can understand what it is they’re being asked to vote for.

“I think the fact that the Prime Minister has made a deliberate decision to stop Australians from having the information that they need when they vote on 14 October.

“I hope that Australians vote against the proposed change because it will be the most significant change to our nation’s rulebook in our country’s history, and there’s no detail about how it will work, how it will operate.

“It’s open to interpretation – very broad interpretation – by the High Court, and it wouldn’t deliver the practical outcomes that we all want for people living in particularly remote Indigenous communities.

“I think the Prime Minister’s lack of respect for the Australian public in not giving the details has really switched a lot of people who otherwise would have voted ‘yes’ into ‘no’ voters.”

With early votes now being cast, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has not given up hope of a late swing in the Yes camp’s favour, and is calling for Australia to come together in “national unity” over the “modest request” that is the Voice to Parliament proposal.

“It is a request to be recognised,” Mr Albanese said last week on NOVA Perth.

“Our history, the reality of this great continent we share with the oldest continuous culture on earth.

“And we should recognise First Nations people in our founding document.

“Pretty straightforward.

“And the second thing is the form of recognition that Indigenous Australians have asked for is just a non-binding Advisory Committee to give advice, to give a Voice, so that they can be consulted on matters that affect them.

“Because we know that when you ask people who are directly affected, you get better outcomes.

“But I’m still very hopeful going forward.”

For more information on Thursday’s rally, visit


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