Sydney City Council has come under fire over plans to give the team behind the Yes campaign $25,000 of free accomodation in the city’s CBD.
The Yes23 team will be allocated prime CBD office space in the form of Town Hall House on Kent Street for three months under the agreement with the council.
Staffers will be able to work out of a 137.5metre office at the building from August 8 to November 7 in the lead-up to the referendum.
The bill to house the Yes23 team is expected to cost $25,781 before GST, which will be footed by Sydney ratepayers.
The free rent comes after Qantas announced it would emblazon support for the campaign on the side of its aircraft and offer free rides to supporters.
A City of Sydney Council committee meeting under Lord Mayor Clover Moore passed an agreement to give free accomodation to the Yes team on Monday.
City of Sydney Council under Lord Mayor Clover Moore (pictured) has come under fire over plans to give the Yes campaign for the Voice free office space for three months
The council will meet again next week to formally approve the agreement.
However, it’s expected the plans will go ahead given the council has already entered a ‘three-month licence agreement’ with the Yes23 campaign, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The council added that it had already pledged funding to support the Yes vote for the Voice to Parliament.
The decision has sparked outrage from the No campaign, with Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price describing it as an ‘insult’ to ratepayers and a ‘divisive’ move.
‘Clover Moore should do something less divisive, like helping those Aussies struggling to pay their rates,’ she said.
‘This insult to every Australian struggling to pay their bills will just pile more division onto an already divisive referendum.’
She said that it was a ‘slap in the face’ of Aussies desperately trying to pay off their mortgages while forking out money for groceries and other essentials amidst the cost-of-living crisis.
‘I’m proud to say that the No campaign is run out of the lounge-rooms and sheds of ordinary Aussies across the country,’ Senator Price added.
Opposition to the plans has also been backed by Councillor and former Mayor of Cumberland City Council, Steve Christou.
Mr Christou wrote to local government minister and member for Heffron, Ron Hoenig, asking the NSW government to stop ‘woke councils wasting ratepayer money’ on the Voice.
Key members of the Yes team have also been given free flights by Qantas in order to travel to regional and remote Australian to campaign.
Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price described the move from the council as ‘divisive’ and an ‘insult’ to ratepayers
City of Sydney Council stated that it had already pledged funding to support the Yes vote for the Voice to Parliament (pictured, Yes supporters hold placards)
Qantas boss Alan Joyce has confirmed the airline’s support for the Voice to parliament, splashing the Yes campaign logo on three aircraft along with providing the free flights for the Yes team.
Mr Joyce said the national carrier was ‘literally flying the flag’ in support for the Voice.
‘These aircraft will cover a huge amount of the country. Every major city every major town will get to see this message, which is fantastic,’ he said.
Mr Joyce said the airlines support for the Voice was part of the Qantas’ commitment to reconciliation.
It comes after Senator Price took aim at Anthony Albanese for not reading the extended version of the Uluru Statement of the Heart – the key document Australia’s Voice referendum is based on.
Speaking from Alice Springs on Wednesday, the Indigenous Senator accused the Prime Minister of pushing a vote ‘about something he doesn’t understand’.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce (pictured left with Anthony Albanese) has confirmed the airline’s support for the Voice to parliament, splashing the Yes campaign logo on three aircraft along with providing the free flights for the Yes team
Mr Albanese earlier that day had admitted to not having read the full document during an interview with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, saying: ‘There’s 120 pages, why would I (read it)?’
‘For months the Prime Minister has claimed there is adequate detail on the divisive Voice and has told Australians to go read it,’ Senator Price told the Daily Telegraph.
‘But now we learn he can’t be bothered and has brought on a referendum about something he doesn’t understand.
‘Instead of hobnobbing with the Yes23 elites at the unveiling of their Qantas corporate jet, he should do his job and read the details of the divisive referendum he is foisting onto us.
Sky News commentator Peta Credlin also slammed Mr Albanese following the radio interview saying the fact that he hadn’t read the documents was ‘madness’.
The referendum for the Voice to Parliament will be held sometime between October and December this year.