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Albanese tells Garma ‘we have to hold to the courage of our convictions’ in Voice fight

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will pay an emotional tribute to the late Yunupingu while declaring the importance of Voice advocates sticking to the courage of their convictions, when he addresses the Garma festival on Saturday.

Indigenous people from around the country are attending the annual cultural festival in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, where much attention will be on the Voice. Originally it was expected Albanese would announce the date for the referendum vote while there but he said recently that announcement is still some time away, because he wants a relatively short campaign.

In his speech, released ahead of delivery, the Prime Minister says it is hard to imagine Garma without Yunupingu, who was a strong advocate for the Voice.

“Even as I look out on this crowd, I somehow expect to see him looking back.

"Yunupingu walked in two worlds: with authority, power and grace. And he sought – always - to make those two worlds whole.”

Albanese again stresses the role of the Voice in tackling Aboriginal disadvantage – “a once-in-a-generation opportunity for real, overdue and much-needed change”.

Despite fears, on the basis of public polls that the referendum could lose, he reiterated there would be no delaying it, as some (both supporters and opponents of the Voice) have advocated.

“We will not deny the urgency of this moment.

"We will not kick the can down the road. We will not abandon substance for symbolism, or retreat to platitudes at the expense of progress.”

While in a democracy there is “no such thing as a foregone conclusion,” and “there are no guarantees of success […] that’s not a reason to delay – it’s why we have to hold to the courage of our convictions”.

“We can convince our fellow Australians to vote yes” Albanese says, through respectful discussions and engagement with neighbours, colleagues, friends, sporting team mates, fellow worshippers.

“And, at the heart of it all, is a conversation between generations. Young Australians talking to their parents and their grandparents about what this moment represents.

"Explaining just what voting Yes can mean for our country and our future. Making it clear that there is nothing to fear - and so much to gain. And making it plain that there is indeed no time to waste.”

Albanese targets Peter Dutton and some other “no” supporters who favour a legislated Voice but oppose putting it in the Constitution. Apart from rejecting what Indigenous people have asked for, their commitment to a legislated Voice undermines all the other arguments they make against the Voice, Albanese says.

“Clearly they acknowledge it is needed - otherwise why legislate it? Clearly they recognise it will make a positive difference - otherwise why legislate it?

"Clearly they don’t see it as divisive or radical or any of the other noise and confusion they are seeking to inject into the referendum – otherwise why legislate it?”

Albanese says the reason Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders want the Voice in the Constitution is so it “can’t simply be abolished with the stroke of a pen. So it will have the stability to plan for the long term, for the generational challenges we are facing but also the generational progress we can make, for lasting national unity.”

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