Former Tasmanian Liberal premier Peter Gutwein has accused federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton of dividing Australians over the proposed Indigenous voice to parliament.
Mr Gutwein, who passed the premiership to Jeremy Rockliff a year ago, told The Australian the Tasmanian Liberals had held government successfully for almost a decade by “governing from the centre”.
He said federal Liberals had made the wrong call in opposing the proposed Indigenous voice to parliament.
“The federal Liberal Party appears to have learned very little since its election loss,” Mr Gutwein said.
“The voice was an opportunity to take a bipartisan approach and at the same time exercise their right, in the parliament when the legislation was introduced, to argue very passionately about the things they believe in.”
Mr Gutwein said the voice was an opportunity that could have brought the country together.
“What I see from the federal Liberal Party at the moment is that they seem determined to keep the country apart.”
Mr Gutwein backed Mr Rockliff’s decision to campaign for a Yes vote alongside Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Tasmania has the only Liberal government in Australia.
Mr Gutwein said he, his predecessor Will Hodgman and Mr Rockliff had all “led from the centre”.
“We have won three consecutive elections and held government post those elections with a majority, so quite clearly that style of leadership works.”