The Institute of Public Affairs has expressed disappointment in Noel Pearson’s comments about the IPA and has called for constructive and respectful dialogue in the debate about the voice.

At the Garma Festival on Sunday, Mr Pearson accused the IPA of dispatching ‘child soldiers telling lies about the voice’.

“Both sides of the debate should engage with each other in good faith and with mutual respect. Assuming bad intentions with those you don’t agree will result in the same old status quo,” said Daniel Wild, Director of Research at the IPA.

“There is broad agreement on both sides of the debate about how we can improve the lives of indigenous Australians, including through localism, real property rights, and regional economic development. We must unify around practical approaches to improve the lives of all Australians, rather than being divided by race.

“Race has no place in Australia’s constitution. The existing references to race should be removed from the constitution to make it clear that all Australians are equal regardless of the colour of their skin. There is no us and them – only us.

“Inserting an indigenous-only body into the constitution would be illiberal, divisive, undemocratic, and violate the egalitarian principle of racial equality under the law,” said Mr Wild.

For media and comment: Daniel Wild, Director of Policy; Morgan Begg, Research Fellow, via Evan Mulholland, Director of Communications, on 0405 140 780, or at [email protected].