Last week, during Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s brief visit to Alice Springs, Peter Dutton tried to link Labor to the town’s rising crime rates. In addition, two Liberal premiers have joined their Labor counterparts in endorsing a Voice to Parliament, breaking with Peter Dutton.
When Peter Dutton appeared on the Today Show, host Karl Stefanovic questioned him about the former administration’s apparent failure to stop the rise in crime in Alice Springs while it was in power.
He claimed that the Labor government reversed the cashless debit card, or BasicsCard, and the alcohol ban that were both put in place to encourage people to spend their money on their families and children rather than on drugs and alcohol.
Therefore, that has significantly contributed to the decline that has been observed in the Northern Territory over the past six months or so. He added.
Peter Dutton’s Claims Over Alice Spring: The Facts So Far
As Labor sought to carry out a significant election promise, legislation to roll back the programme was in fact passed in September of last year. Up to 80% of welfare recipients’ payments are quarantined by the cashless debit card, making it impossible for them to withdraw cash or use the funds for gambling or drinking.
While the programme is being discontinued in some regions of the nation, the Northern Territory, where there are about 4,200 participants, has so far been exempt from the change and will continue to accept the card until March 6.
The Northern Territory will switch to enhanced income management after that date for all eligible cashless debit card users, according to a Department of Social Services (DSS) spokesperson.
Similar to the cashless debit card, the BasicsCard is still in use throughout the region but can only be used in establishments that have been authorized by the government.
Although The Sydney Morning Herald noted that government sources had confirmed the card would be phased out, they had reported in October that an 18-month consultation process would determine the BasicsCard’s future.
Meanwhile, the Northern Territory government’s official crime data reveals that almost all criminal offenses were rising prior to Labor’s changes to cashless debit cards.
Domestic violence-related assaults increased by 22%, alcohol-related assaults increased by 20%, and home invasions, business intrusions, and vehicle thefts all experienced “significant increases” in the year leading up to July 2022.
According to the most recent data, which covers the year ending in November 2022, assaults in Alice Springs have increased by 43% overall and by 54% when related to alcohol.
Peter Dutton on The Voice
The Voice to Parliament will be the subject of a referendum at the end of the year, which will be the first time Australians have had the opportunity to do so since 1999.
While their senior coalition partner has thus far declined to take a position, the federal National Party has already stated its intention to campaign against the proposal.
Jeremy Rockliff, the premier of Tasmania, and Dominic Perrottet, the premier of New South Wales, both Liberals, had previously signaled their intention to support the Voice despite the opposition of their federal counterparts.
The two made a commitment to combating false information during the Voice debate and ensuring that the process is run in a respectful and informed manner, along with all Labor premiers and the chief minister.
After the WA Nationals announced they would support the Voice just hours after the federal party room confirmed its opposition, it is the most recent instance of a rift between conservative state and federal parties.
Meeting with the Voice working group at Parliament on Thursday did not affect Mr. Dutton or federal Liberal Indigenous Australians spokesman Julian Leeser.
Following the meeting, which featured a presentation from the co-chairs of the Uluru Statement, Peter Dutton reiterated his criticism of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s referendum strategy in a statement.
He said in the statement that he and the rest of Australia approach this discussion with respect and goodwill. It is unacceptable for the Prime Minister to dodge questions about how his Voice proposal will operate. Before casting their votes in a referendum, Australians should be informed.
So far, the Liberal Party’s chances to win the prestigious seats of Sidney Harbour are slim. A clear path is available to Peter Dutton if he is willing to change his image and political position. The most significant issue of the day, the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, would be supported by him, demonstrating his willingness to pursue a more positive form of politics and heralding a much-needed end to the culture wars.
However, the odds don’t appear to be very good when considering the 15 queries Dutton posed to Anthony Albanese in an effort to get clarification on a referendum that would ask voters to endorse a principle rather than a particular design.
Peter Dutton not only takes a chance of being on the wrong side of history at Uluru but also ignores the present-day political geography of Australia. He appears to be falling short on the Sydney Harbour test right now.