About 200 people have gathered at a No campaign event in Gawler, north of Adelaide, ahead of the Voice to Parliament referendum.

Key points:

  • Senators Alex Antic, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and Kerrynne Liddle attended a No campaign event at Gawler
  • Organisers say the referendum has caused division among Australians
  • Senator Liddle said the proposed change to the constitution has no “real detail”

Organisers and leading Voice opponents Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, Senator Alex Antic and Senator Kerrynne Liddle said they would use the community forum to discuss why Australia must say “no” to an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

Debate for the Voice has entered a critical stage with the last leg of campaigning in South Australia well underway ahead of the referendum on October 14.

South Australia has been seen as a key state in deciding the outcome of the referendum and Ms Price has been in Adelaide this week ramping up the No campaign.

“If Yes is successful going forward, the consequences are huge and they’re unknown,” she told forum attendees on Wednesday.

“We are sick to death of Aboriginal people being used in this way to suggest that we all somehow think the same and that we should now be relegated to an entity based on our racial heritage – this is paternalism written large.”

“This is what I truly believe is the separatism we’ve experienced in our country that has ensured our marginalised remained marginalised.”

About 200 people attended a community forum by the No campaigners at Gawler on Thursday night.(ABC News: Bethanie Alderson)

Ms Price told ABC Radio Adelaide that the referendum has caused division to Australians.

“I think there are a hell of a lot of Australians who are sick of seeing the ideological push, the blackmail push, and they want to see more practical ways forward for Indigenous Australians,” she said.

On Wednesday night, Ms Liddle said the Voice and the proposed change to the constitution has “no real detail for people to consider”.

“There is considerable overreach but importantly this is really just about putting another bureaucracy within the bureaucracy,” she said.

“Here we are in one of the most divisive processes I think Australia has seen in a very long time.”

Despite the ABC being invited to the community event, reporters were not allowed to stay for the Q&A session.

South Australia’s Attorney-General and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Kyam Maher, said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the Yes vote nationally and the vote in South Australia.

Kyam Maher urged the public to find out more about what the Voice and the referendum mean.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

“What this referendum does, is firstly fix that great hole in our constitution – recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the oldest living culture on the planet and its people, in our constitution,” Mr Maher said. 

“That’s a huge gap in the birth certificate of our modern nation.

“And the other thing it does is create an advisory body … a body that can help governments do better by listening to the people whose decisions you’re making affect.”

He said a no result on the referendum would have no impact on the South Australian Voice.

“On March 16 next year there will be that first election where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander South Australians will get to vote their own into local voices and those local voices will then select representatives to sit on the statewide voice,” he said 

“I am absolutely certain, and the evidence shows, that this will help us as a state government do better in the services, in the programs, we provide for Aboriginal people in this state.”