Nationals Leader David Littleproud says his party will support Peter Dutton's promise to hold a second referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution if the "yes" vote fails and the Coalition wins the next election.
But supporters of the "yes" campaign have slammed the Opposition Leader's proposal, with Yes23 director Dean Parkin saying it "is yet another example of why a voice is needed".
Dutton: second referendum is the 'right thing to do'
Appearing on Sky News on Sunday morning, Mr Dutton said his party would send Australians back to the polls for a second referendum if they win government at the next federal election, set to be held by 2025.
The Opposition Leader said recognising Indigenous Australians in the constitution was "the right thing to do", adding his party had taken the policy to previous elections.
While Mr Dutton said his party would be happy to work with the Labor government to set up "regional voices" for First Nations people across the country, he argued that "enshrining the voice in the constitution is divisive" and "permanent".
Mr Littleproud on Sunday told ACM, publisher of this masthead, his party would support the Opposition Leader's election vow and even would be happy to work with the Albanese government to hold another referendum before the next election, "so long as due process is undertaken".
"I sense my party room strongly supports constitutional recognition, but we don't support the Voice because it's not a new proposition that's been put to the Australian people" Mr Littleproud said.
"But if there was a proper process around what those words would look like in terms of constitutional recognition through a constitutional convention, then the Nationals stand ready to be constructive and supportive of that, and we've said that from the very get go."
Mr Littleproud didn't confirm whether he and his party were aware Mr Dutton was planning to make the election commitment on Sunday, but said that "we've been talking about this for well over a month now".
"I've made it clear that there'll be no victory lap if the voice goes down. Then what we'll be doing is being constructive about a due process around constitutional recognition," he said, adding he believes 90 per cent of the public would back the Coalition's proposal.
Critics slam proposal as 'empty promise'
Yes23 director Dean Parkin hit back against the Coalition's proposal, dubbing it "another Canberra-based idea by a Canberra-based politician who is not listening to what the Australian people and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander People have said".
"If there was a Voice, it would sit down with the Leader of the Opposition and say very respectfully, we've tried that before, it's not wanted, it's not going to lead to practical change and it's going to waste taxpayers' money," he said.
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Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh accused Mr Dutton of making an "empty promise".
"Peter Dutton's empty promise of another First Nations referendum reminds me of how some No campaigners in 1999 were promising another Republic referendum within a few years. Nearly a quarter of a century on, we're yet to see it," Mr Leigh wrote online.
The Voice to Parliament, called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, would set up an advisory body to provide advice to parliament and the government of the day on policies affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Campaigning from each side on the Voice to Parliament is ramping up as Australia closes in on the October 14 referendum date, Australian music legend John Farnham lending his iconic hit "You're the Voice" to an official "yes" campaign ad.
Mr Parkin said doorknocking on more than 100,000 homes across the country confirmed the "yes" campaign's assessment 35 to 40 per cent of Australians were still undecided on whether they will support the constitutionally-enshrined advisory body.
"We see that as an opportunity," he said.