An incident involving a ‘Yes’ campaign volunteer spitting on a ‘No’ voter has caused controversy and prompted a police investigation amid the ongoing Australian Indigenous Voice referendum. The incident, which was caught on video, took place at Centennial Park in Cooma, NSW, on Sunday at 12:30 PM. The video shows the ‘Yes 23’ campaigner spitting in the face of a member of the public who was filming the altercation.
The Australian National University (ANU) reacted to the incident by distancing itself from the campaigner, identified as Denise Ferris. In a statement, the university clarified that “Emeritus professors,” which includes Ferris, are not paid members of staff. ANU stated that it will investigate the matter and take appropriate action if necessary.
Despite the video evidence, the ‘Yes’ volunteer denies spitting at the man. The severity of the incident highlights the intense emotions and animosity surrounding the Indigenous Voice referendum. However, it is important to note that the video lacks both pre and post context, making it difficult to fully understand the situation.
The referendum has sparked tensions in the public sphere, and prominent figures from the ‘Yes’ campaign have faced criticism for their behavior. Some individuals have labeled ‘No’ voters as racists, further fueling the already heated debate.
The Indigenous Voice referendum is scheduled for October 14. Australians will have the opportunity to vote on the proposal, which aims to establish an Indigenous body that advises the federal parliament on matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The referendum seeks to address the historical marginalization and lack of representation experienced by Indigenous Australians.
In light of this incident and the divisive nature of the campaign, it is crucial for all individuals involved to promote a respectful and tolerant dialogue. The referendum provides an opportunity for the Australian population to come together and address the inequalities faced by Indigenous communities.
As the referendum draws near, it is essential for both campaigns to focus on educating the public about the potential benefits of the Indigenous Voice. By fostering a peaceful and inclusive environment, Australia can move towards a more equitable future for all its citizens.