This referendum is not about the Liberals, it’s about Australia

Ever since Peter Dutton announced the Liberal Party would be joining the Nationals in formally opposing the divisive Voice, most of the coverage has been about what this means for the Liberal Party.

This is typical of the mainstream media who obsess over horse race politics and consistently fail to analyse the actual issue at hand.

Changing the Constitution is a big deal.

The divisive Voice is a contentious proposal that will have a wide ranging impact on our system of government. You would think places like the ABC have a responsibility to ignore the internal politics of it and discuss the substance.

Instead, Radio National gave former Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman nearly nine minutes of airtime to talk about why he’s supporting the dangerous Voice and why the Liberal Party is wrong to oppose it.

Leave aside that the ABC loves nothing more than a Liberal MP who lost their seat, the interview is telling because host Patricia Karvelas never actually asked about the Voice itself and what it will do and why there might be opposition to it.

Here’s a rundown:

> Karvelas first asks why Zimmerman will vote yes and he trots out Albanese’s best talking points – that this is a ‘modest’ proposal. 

> He is then asked about whether or not the Liberal Party binding their front bench on the Voice is a good decision.

> The next question was about former Minister Ken Wyatt quitting the Liberal Party over their opposition to the Voice and if it signifies deep problems with the Liberal Party’s position.

> Karvelas’s next question is about holding on to younger voters in the future in light of opposing the Voice.

> The fourth question: “do you think it damages the Liberal brand to be on the ‘no’ side on this?”

> Karvelas’s final question was about whether or not the Liberals can win Zimmerman’s old seat of North Sydney back if they oppose the Voice.

There is one moment, seven and a half minutes in, where Zimmerman uses the ‘modest’ line again and Karvelas gently pushes back saying Peter Dutton says it’s not modest and it might hold up government but then lets Zimmerman simply disagrees and moves on.

Otherwise that’s it. Five questions. All about the Liberal party. There was no real discussion of the Voice itself. It was all internal politics.

This is a complete abrogation of responsibility from the ABC.

Australians are being asked to change our national rulebook, something we haven’t been asked to do for over twenty years.

Changing the Constitution to enshrine a divisive Voice is a serious issue and it deserves better than the horse race coverage served up by the ABC.