The Coalition is split on what they would take to the next election should the Voice to parliament referendum fail.
While neither the Liberals or the Nationals support a Voice to parliament, both support constitutionally enshrined recognition of Indigenous Australians.
While Mr Dutton has pledged to legislate local and regional voices, a fracture has emerged over what the Coalition would take to voters at the next election should the referendum fail.
Speaking on ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, Nationals leader David Littleproud said he had concerns over “regional models”.
“What it means to us in regional and remote areas is hundreds of thousands of square kilometres – not 20 square kilometres across a couple of suburbs,” he told host David Speers.
Mr Littleproud said while the Nationals party room had not come to a final position, he said the party did not need to agree with the Liberal’s position on legislating local and regional voices.
“Well, that‘s OK. I’m in the National Party. And if the National Party doesn’t get comfort with that, that’s what we stand for,” he said.
Mr Littleproud said regional bodies would struggle to property represent massive land masses that were made up of “hundreds of diverse communities”.
He instead signalled his support for local Indigenous bodies, saying empowering local elders would deliver better outcomes for First Nations people.
Mr Dutton does not support a national Voice to parliament, but has thrown his support behind legislating local and regional voices.
The apparent split in the opposition comes a day after NSW Liberal leader Mark Speakman backed in the proposed Voice to parliament, saying the rewards “outweigh the risks”.
Mr Speakman said he came to his conclusion after having “taken the time to reflect carefully” on the proposed Voice.
“It is a proposal for a purely advisory body on behalf of Indigenous Australians, who are far and away the most disadvantaged people in our nation,” he said.
“On balance, I think the potential rewards outweigh the potential risks, and I personally support a Voice in the Australian Constitution.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese congratulated Mr Speakman for his “very clear statements” on Saturday as he made a pointed message to the Coalition, and undecided voters.
“There were people during the Republic Referendum who said, ‘Oh, I don’t particularly like this model. I will wait for the next vote.’ That was last century,” he said.
“It is 2023, we are still waiting and there is no vote on the horizon. I say to Australians, this is an opportunity. Don’t miss it.”
“(To Peter Dutton I say) Don’t use this issue to cause division. Don’t use this issue. It is something that I have pleaded with him on. I’ve put the case very strongly.
Mr Albanese has yet to set the date for the referendum, but after confirming a visit to the United States for late October, it’s increasingly likely Australians will head to the polls in the first few weeks of October.