The Project’s Waleed and Steve clash over ‘racist’ Voice referendum remark

Waleed Aly and Steve Price had an awkward exchange on Monday’s edition of The Project over a letter writen about those who voted No in the Voice referendum.

The scathing letter from Indigenous leaders sparked controversy this week when it accused Australians of a “shameful act” in turning down the Voice proposal.

Kate Carnell, a former Liberal politician who led a party of MPs and members in breaking ranks and advocating for the Voice, spoke out on Monday against the letter and suggested it could further weaken support for a treaty among the 60 per cent of Australians who voted “No”.

On The Project, Price hit back at the letter and suggested that ‘Yes’ campaigners have learned nothing following their substantial loss at the polls.

“It seems to me ‘the yes’ campaign hasn’t learned anything about the result that happened Saturday two weeks ago. The public voted 60 – No, 40 – Yes. And yet, they pen a letter that they then send to the Cabinet and Prime Minister calling people who voted ‘No’ as doing a shameful act, suggesting ‘No’ voters are racists,” said Price.

The letter was written by a group of anonymous Indigenous leaders.

“If you are going to do that, at least have the courage to put your name to it,” he continued angrily. I know that there were some people who disagreed on the ‘Yes’ side to the sentiments in the letter … but there were those who agreed.

He appeared to suggest those who failed to make their support of the letter known were cowards, adding: “Those people should have the courage to put their names on it.”

Price’s remarks didn’t sit right with Waleed, who interrupted his co-star to disagree.

“I … I don’t think they said all no voters were racist … I have a couple of responses to this. Part of it, I don’t agree with their analysis, well you know, all of their analysis,” Waleed responded.

Price interjected: “It is three pages, right”, before Waleed replied: “I read through the three pages.

“There is a lot in there, it is hard to have a simple response,” he continued before glancing over at Price.

Jumping to the defence of the Yes campaign and those behind its grassroots beginnings, he added: “But I feel some of these people, you know, it is using this work and the research and time, and working in the community, you know, coming up with this proposal. They must be so hurting. I can’t deny them that.”

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph on Monday, Carnell warned that attempts by the Yes campaign to say they ‘were robbed’ would backfire.

“I do think it will weaken support for the First Nations treaty. It will get in the way of support for a treaty, not help support for a treaty,” she said.

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