NSW coalition MPs free to campaign yes or no to voice

·2-min read

NSW coalition MPs will be able to campaign freely on the Indigenous voice to parliament referendum, unlike some of their federal counterparts.

The decision was made during the first meeting of shadow cabinet on Wednesday morning.

Opposition Leader Mark Speakman had backed away from former premier Dominic Perrottet's 'yes' position, reserving his stance until speaking with shadow cabinet.

The position means NSW Liberal and National MPs are not bound to a position and can campaign either for or against a constitutionally enshrined voice.

"The NSW coalition is committed to reconciliation and improving the lives of Indigenous Australians across our state," a coalition spokesman said

"This is demonstrated in our record investment in government through the National Agreement on Closing the Gap."

The proposal for an Indigenous voice to parliament and executive government will be put to the public at a referendum later this year.

The 'yes' campaign will only succeed with a majority of votes across the country, and majorities in four of the six states.

The referendum has become a vexing issue for the federal coalition after the Albanese government made it the centrepiece of their first 18 months in office.

Calare MP Andrew Gee, whose federal electorate spans the NSW rural towns of Orange and Dubbo, quit the federal Nationals last year after the party bound itself to the 'no' campaign.

Federal Liberal MPs in Peter Dutton's shadow cabinet are also bound to the 'no' campaign, prompting Sydney-based Julian Leeser in April to resign and head to the back bench.

Also in April, the first Aboriginal person to hold the Indigenous Australians portfolio, Ken Wyatt, resigned from the Liberal Party over federal shadow cabinet's position.

Elsewhere, Victorian coalition MPs were last week permitted to freely campaign for either side while the 'yes' side is supported by both WA Nationals Leader Shane Love and the country's only Liberal premier, Tasmania's Jeremy Rockliff.