Nine has been forced to apologise over a “racist and “offensive” ad supporting a no vote to The Voice Referendum campaign that appeared in yesterday’s Australian Financial Review yesterday.
The ad by conservative lobby group Advance Australia ran across a full-page in the print edition of the AFR.
The rather odd creative shows WA independent MP Kate Chaney in a teal dress and pigtails sitting on the knee of her father, Wesfarmers chairman and Yes23 director Michael Chaney. He is handing a wad of cash with a $2 million price tag on it to Yes campaigner Thomas Mayo, who is wearing a red shirt with the communist hammer and sickle on it.
Of particular concern is the depiction of Mayo who appears to be dancing for the money.
The ad, authorised by the Advance group, describes Mayo as a “radical activist” and sits under a caption that reads: “Don’t worry sweetheart, it’s just shareholders money.”
The ad and the AFR were immediately called out by Liberal politician and former NSW treasurer, Matt Kean, who is also a pubic advocate of the Yes vote.
Kean tweeted that the ad had “no place in Australian politics”, alleging it used a “racist trope” to depict Mayo.
Despite support from other politicians, an Advance Australia spokesman said, “Matt Kean can keep his elitist Sydney views to himself”.
“There it is again, the Yes campaign elites playing the race card straight off the top of the deck,” the spokesman said.
A spokesman for Nine, which publishes the AFR, said the company regretted running the ad.
“The political advertisement about The Voice Referendum placed into today’s Financial Review should not have run and we apologise for that. We want to encourage a mature debate from both sides and avoid personal and/or inappropriate attacks,” the spokesman said.
Kate Chaney, who is depicted wearing a teal dress and perching on the lap of her father as he offers the money to Mayo, said the No campaign was “stooping to personal and racist attacks”. Wesfarmers has donated $2 million to the Yes23 campaign and both Chaney and her father have been vocal supporters of the Voice.
When asked about the offensive ad during a press conference, prime minister Anthony Albanese limited his comments to “we’ll continue to be positive” in response.
Monique Ryan, another federal independent MP and Yes supporter, said on yesterday: “In a few small steps, the No campaign has reduced a respectful and important national conversation to racist, sexist, insulting tropes. We are so much better than this. Australians are kind and compassionate people. That’s why we’re voting yes.”
However, former politician Warren Mundine, an Indigenous man who has campaigned against the Voice, said the ad was not problematic.
Mundine told the ABC: “It’s a straightforward cartoon that is spelling out exactly what it is, which is about corporate Australia spending shareholders’ money on this campaign.
“She (Ms Chaney) is his daughter. There is nothing in that cartoon that is sexist, that is racist. This is a complete joke,” Mundine said.