Senator Jacinta Price has formally quit from the Voice to parliament “no” campaign group she founded with Warren Mundine, updating her pecuniary interests register to reflect the change.
Price and Mundine are the two most prominent members of the anti-Voice campaign.
Price told media in February she was departing the Recognise a Better Way anti-Voice group she had founded just weeks earlier, yet her ties to the outfit have remained unclear, with her bio initially removed from its website and then added back again in recent months.
Recognise a Better Way and Price have refused to comment, despite repeated requests since Friday last week.
Searches show the former Alice Springs deputy mayor, who was elected an Australian Senator in May last year, has on August 13 last month updated her parliamentary interest register to show she is no longer a “committee member” of Recognise a Better Way.
Price discloses her departure as Recognise a Better Way committee member. Source: Australian Senate
Senators are required to update the register “within 35 days of the alteration occurring”.
On August 13 Price updated her register to state: “Deleted….Committee Member — Recognise a Better Way”. She had not disclosed that role on the register in the first place, searches show.
“Senators are required to notify any alteration in these interests within 35 days of the alteration occurring” — Australian Senate
Price and Mundine were among six “committee members” who in January launched Recognise a Better Way to “offer a positive alternative solution to Aboriginal recognition ambitions”.
Recognise a Better Way is launched in January. Source: WayBack Machine
Price has since become affiliated with “right wing” political group Advance, although her specific ties to it are unknown.
She appears in its advertising material but is not listed as a director of the group or any of its affiliates and she has made no disclosure of it or any of its affiliates on her pecuniary interests register.
The Recognise a Better Way campaign was set up though an entity called The Voice No Case Committee Incorporated, which is not a company but an “association” registered under under Victorian state law.
As such it is not possible to determine who its key office holders are, beyond what the group or its members choose to make public.
Price’s image and details were removed from the Recognise a Better Way website in February.
Snapshot of Recognise a Better Way’s website from February 23. The Source: WayBack Machine
Since then Price has been added back to the website, yet close reading shows she is listed as a “supporter” rather than a committee member.
We asked Price and her office what being a “supporter” meant specifically, but received no response.
The anti-Voice campaign has faced days of turmoil, after Mundine on Sunday expressed his support for changing the date of Australia Day and for the creation of Indigenous treaties — both opposed by the broader no campaign.
Recognise a Better Way’s website currently. Source: Recognise a Better Way
The Voice No Case Committee and Recognise a Better Way campaign was launched to media on January 30 with six founders, four Indigenous and two non-Indigenous.
The two non-Indigenous founding members are former National Party leader John Anderson and Gary Johns, a former executive with the “Institute of Public Affairs”, a secretive, US-style dark money lobby group.
The “IPA”, which spends large amounts of money fighting action to curb climate change, refuses to disclose who funds it, although major oil and gas companies are among its known major financial backers.
Last week, in comments that have been widely condemned, Price said there was “no ongoing negative impacts of colonisation”.
“No, there is no ongoing negative impacts of colonisation. A positive impact, absolutely,” Price told the National Press Club on Thursday.
The no campaign is ahead in the polls, yet tens of thousands of people turned out to rallies across the nation in support of the Voice at the weekend.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Price was reported in February saying she would depart Recognise a Better Way, as well as to add additional context.
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