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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Perry

ANALYSIS: Could Liberal MPs quit over Voice opposition - and does the party's stance even matter?

It follows The Nationals announcing their formal opposition last year.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton can confirmed the Liberal Party will formally oppose the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, coming after their Coalition counterpart in The Nationals announced their decision to support the No campaign in November.

The Liberals are instead looking towards a "focus on local and regional voices, rather than a constitutionally enshrined national voice."

The decision will mean that moderate frontbenchers who might support the voice, such as Simon Birmingham - who's previously said he supports the 'principle' of the Voice, will be required to ensure and vote for the Liberal Party's decision.

Other moderates, such Bridget Archer, who is backbenchers, will crucially not be required to follow the Liberals on the subject.

Today on the ABC's Afternoon Briefing, Ms Archer said the decision has "tested her faith" in the Liberal Party.

A question that's been raised is - will support from both major parties even matter?

Of the 8 referendums that have ever been successful, none had not had bipartisan support. This means that if the referendum is successful, it will occur without agreement from both major parties.

Polling also suggests that the referendum is on track to record a majority yes vote, on a nationwide level and in all 6 states - with the exception of Queensland, where it does have more support than the 'No' campaign but not at the 50% level needed for the referendum to pass.

Nevertheless, there has been no published opinion polling since the decision from the Liberals earlier today.

On the federal level, the question of defections as a result of today's move has also been raised.

The fact that more supporting backbenchers like Bridget Archer are not necessitated to agree with this statement will be crucial in this, due to the fact that multiple defections to the crossbench over this subject would hurt the Coalition as a whole, who are already down another seat after the weekend's Aston by-election loss.

One defection has already occured from The Nationals because of the Voice: Andrew Gee, the Member for Calare.

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