Australians are still no closer to learning when they will cast their vote on the Indigenous Voice to parliament despite calls for the referendum to be held sooner rather than later.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese indicated the vote would take place between AFL grand final Day and Melbourne Cup day during a Wednesday morning radio interview.
“It won’t be too late in the year because you have the wet season at the Top End and we want to make sure that people who live right around Australia can get the opportunity to vote,” he told Melbourne’s Fox FM.
It’s widely anticipated the referendum will be held on October 14.
Support for the advisory body has been lagging in recent polling, with the No vote gaining the upper hand nationwide.
The latest Guardian Essential Poll, released on Tuesday, found that 47 per cent of 1150 respondents did not approve of the Voice, with 43 per cent in favour, and the remaining 10 per cent unsure.
Opponents outnumbered supporters in every state except Victoria.
Mr Albanese brushed off the recent polling in a separate radio interview on Wednesday morning, insisting Indigenous Australians have “had setbacks before”.
“This is an opportunity to move the country forward, not just for the benefit of Aboriginal Australians but for the benefit of all Australians,” he told central Queensland radio 4RO.
“This is an opportunity for Australia to vote yes, and they will have that opportunity in the last quarter of this year.”
Megan Davis, co-chair of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, acknowledged there had been a lot of confusion in the community.
“What we’re hearing from Australians is a lot of confusion because of the misinformation and disinformation,” she told ABC News Breakfast.
“But once you walk them through it and you read them the Uluru Statement and you explain what happened, they are coming out the door as “yes” voters.
“That’s the really critical thing, just to be able to yarn face-to-face.”
In recent weeks, the Coalition has sought to use the second part of the Uluru Statement, the Makarrata commission, to press the government on its commitment to a treaty process with Indigenous Australians.
A Makarrata commission would oversee treaty and truth-telling.
Professor Davis stressed the treaty process was already under way at state and territory levels.