Australia News & Commentary

Why We Should Say ‘No’ to the Voice

"There are many good reasons why Australians should be very cautious about changing the Constitution in this regard. In the name of combating racism, it seems we will instead just be enshrining racism."

Australia’s Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wants a referendum about including an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution. This is to supposedly counter “racism” and the like. While there are many lefties clamouring for this, how many ordinary citizens actually want it?

This seems to be yet another example of our elites (often with white guilt complexes) pushing something ordinary people do not want, including many ordinary Indigenous Australians. Indeed some of our key Aboriginal leaders have said no to it, including Senator Jacinta Price and Indigenous activist Nyunggai Warren Mundine.

The two have even started a “No” campaign about it. Part of one media report says this:

The former national president of the Labor Party said the “No” campaign group already had “several thousand of volunteers” and was preparing an advertising campaign and speaking tour. “Senator Jacinta price and myself will be spearheading the campaign of going out and meeting with everyday Australians,” Mr Mundine said. “We’ll be asking to go into the mosques and the temples and into the suburbs of Australia, in the bush and everywhere to have those conversations and have those talks.”

Two entities have been set up for the movement; a policy and campaigning group as well as a group in charge of fundraising and administration to ensure the campaign operates within the laws of the referendum. “I’m president of the Recognise a Better Way, which is the no Voice committee, and I’m also working with our funding group which Jacinta Price has set up,” Mr Mundine said.

As Mundine said late last year:

From the beginning, I have never been convinced to support the Voice, a position I share with many other Aboriginals from across the political spectrum. The reason for this is threefold:

  1. The Voice is not Aboriginal culture. In our cultures, only countrymen and women can speak for country. No national body can speak for the circa 300 traditional owner groups, Australia’s “First Nations,” it would be a huge bureaucratic structure drowning out Aboriginal voices, not enabling them to be heard;
  2. I am a believer in liberal democracy and all the freedoms and opportunities it creates; and
  3. I don’t believe Australia and its Constitution is racist. There are racist individuals in our country, like every country in the world, but that does not make our country nor the laws that govern us racist.

The Parliament already has the power under the Constitution to set up a Voice to Parliament today or at any time of its choosing. So, why does it have to go in the Constitution at an enormous cost of some $180 to $200 million (US$122 to $135 million), not including the money spent already? How about Parliament legislate the Voice and do something better with that money by spending it on the ground in ways that could produce practical results right now?

And a petition has been set up opposed to this move. It begins:

Australians should be one, together. Not two, divided.  

As one of his first acts as Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese announced a referendum to create an Indigenous ‘Voice to Parliament’.

He wants to change the Australian Constitution to cement identity politics in our founding document.

This means our nation will be divided by race.

But why don’t other special interest groups deserve a ‘Voice to Parliament’? Why not children, or Australians with disabilities?

Labor is making up the details on the run and that’s not the way to amend the Constitution.

They want the Constitution changed before there’s even detail on the amendment.

Where’s the evidence this will produce practical change for Indigenous people?

Instead of bringing us together, this will drive us apart. And it will be there in our Constitution forever.

Many others have expressed their concerns about this. In a recent social media post Australian academic Stephen Chavura has offered ‘10 reasons why I oppose the Indigenous (activist) Voice to Parliament’. The first four are these:

1. It’s premised on the lie that Indigenous Australians have no voice to our parliaments. Our state and federal governments all have Indigenous affairs ministers that regularly liaise with many Indigenous organisations. Don’t accept the lie. The first thing you say when someone asks if you support the voice is “Of course, and Indigenous Australians have had direct voices to our parliaments for years.”

2. It’s racist. It assumes that all Indigenous Australians agree on everything and therefore their will can be expressed in a single voice. We’d never say that about other races.

3. There is not a shred of evidence or even argument to show that it will make any practical difference to Indigenous employment, health, educational, substance abuse, or domestic violence outcomes.

4. It’s a boondoggle – a pointless exercise designed for professional activists and academics who have little idea of how to address practical problems to be able to point to something and say “This is what we’re doing.” As Ralph Wiggum would say: “I’m helping!”

And a few weeks earlier James Macpherson also provided a list of reasons why this is not in the nation’s best interests, and will do nothing for Indigenous peoples. He said in part:

Albo’s ‘Voice’ is unnecessary because Aboriginal people already have a voice to parliament via their local MP – the same as every other Australian.

Further, we have 11 Aboriginal MPs in the federal parliament right now.

But most importantly, if the PM feels the need to consult Aboriginal people over certain government policies there is absolutely no impediment to him doing so right now. He could pull together an Aboriginal consultancy group this afternoon if he chose.

Albo’s ‘Voice’ is discriminatory because it differentiates between Australians based on their race. Australians get one chance to influence parliament, unless they are Aboriginal in which case they get two. This is fundamentally wrong.

Albo’s ‘Voice’ is divisive since, by favouring certain people based on race, it separates us from one another and will create animosity.

The principle of one vote, one people, one voice is destroyed by Albo’s scheme. Some people, based on skin colour, are seen as a different people and get an extra voice.

Resentment at such inequitable treatment would be inevitable

The Voice fosters ‘otherness’. ‘Otherness’ fosters division.

But it won’t only create division between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals, it will create fighting between Aboriginals as they compete to see who gets to sit on the various local Voices and regional Voices that get to influence the Voice.

And various politicians have spoken out about this. For example, Senator Malcolm Roberts said this: “The Voice won’t help anyone in remote communities. Remote Australia already has a voice and they have solutions, what we don’t have is politicians who have the guts to solve the problems rather than doing things just to look good and virtue signal.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said:

In Western countries, we’ve spent hundreds of years, millennia even trying, to get to a situation where we do not discriminate on the basis of race, colour, creed, gender, etc. Where everyone be they slave or free, gentile or Jew, male or female is as one.

I’m very worried that out of an abundance of good will, Australians might end up doing something deeply counterproductive, which they then find almost impossible to reverse because it’s entrenched in the Constitution. Anything that involves changing our Constitution is for keeps in a way that something parliament does is not. That’s why it needs the closest and the deepest possible examination before people actually vote upon it.

One final resource to be aware of is a new book edited by Peter Kurti and Andrew Mundine AO: Beyond Belief – Rethinking the Voice to Parliament. It includes chapters by Price, Abbott, Mundine, Amanda Stoker and others. Connor Court Publishing says this about the volume:

In Beyond Belief: Rethinking the Voice to Parliament, twelve distinguished Australians set out their reasons why we need to question the wisdom of enshrining a Voice to parliament by amending the Constitution.

Some of these reasons are legal, political and constitutional; but others express concern that constitutional amendment will do nothing to address the social disadvantage endured by many Indigenous Australians – a burden which weighs heavily on each of the contributors.

Beyond Belief: Rethinking the Voice to Parliament will equip Australians who have their own doubts about the proposed referendum with informed and compelling reasons for deciding to vote ‘No’ when asked to change our nation’s founding document.

There are many good reasons why Australians should be very cautious about changing the Constitution in this regard. In the name of combating racism, it seems we will instead just be enshrining racism.