Flat White

A belligerent Voice?

Andrew L. Urban

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Andrew L. Urban

30 November 2022

11:00 AM

To paraphrase the awkward words of Joe Biden, ‘The Nationals ain’t black … they’re not voting for the Voice.’

Biden’s original quip came during a 2020 election campaign TV interview, ‘If you don’t vote for me, you ain’t black…’

The Voice proposal is an echo of that sort of ingested racism.

It’s the ‘all blacks think and vote alike’ Biden-esque doctrine which has been Australianised to: ‘All Indigenous people think and vote alike. They all want the same things, have the same answers and solutions to the problems they all see in the same way.’

The Labor Party has made the assumption that Indigenous Australians must have the same political views, aspirations, and expectations all over Australia – from cities to suburbs to remote communities, from university lecterns to roadside motor engineers and bus drivers. And they will so advise Parliament with this Voice.

Politicians, however, refuse to have a single voice speak for them…

Lidia Thorpe and Jacinta Nampijinpa Price wouldn’t both ‘vote for Joe’ – nor would Warren Mundine. All three of these Indigenous voices have strong, well-informed voice in politics, along with many other Aboriginal representatives.

Advocates for the Voice claim that it would provide advice to Parliament on issues that impact Indigenous people. That’s straight out of the Joe Biden school of paternalistic benevolence. If you don’t vote for the Voice, you ain’t a friend of black Australia…!

Good lord, how can intelligent and rational human beings not see the custom-built racism on which the Voice concept rests?

Common or garden variety racism are exhibited when a racist assumes negative characteristics about a person of a different race, solely because of their race. The Voice is the manifestation of assuming different, homogeneous socio-political characteristics about a different race – different to white Australia. That is classic, unmitigated racism. Not the racism that segregates and lynches blacks, but the racism that consigns Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to their own socio-political canteen.

The Voice is the benign but depressing racism of well-meaning fools. But it could easily be manipulated by the elite Voice Guard to develop political muscles with workouts at the Grievance Gym.

Much has been written about this subject, and much more can be written about it. What stands out is the misconceived basis on which advocates of the Voice defend the concept.

Why would the Voice achieve what previous well-intentioned, loud and public support organisations funded with billions of dollars haven’t? Because like those, it would apply the wrong remedy; outsiders looking in. In this case, not white outsiders from the mainstream but Indigenous outsiders from the mainstream.

The real remedy for the last remaining source of disadvantage for isolated and remote Indigenous communities is a decision to assimilate. They would emerge from their communities, escaping from the self-perpetuating cycle of welfare and drug dependency, alcohol, domestic violence, and economic hopelessness to discover other Indigenous Australians living in a society that provides 24/7 health care, food, education, and housing. Of course, it requires taking responsibility for personal actions – as the late Bill Leak pointed out in a cartoon that was totally misunderstood, perhaps by the same people who support the Voice.

The Australian mainstream offers protection and opportunities to all, regardless of colour. We even celebrate (sometimes too crudely and assertively) the Indigenous tribes that came before; we recognise and pay tribute to them not just daily but every hour of every day, at every opportunity, on land and sea – and even in the air. The Aboriginal flag, its design copyright purchased for general public use by the government, flies alongside (and sometimes ahead of) the Australian flag.

Recognition has been ongoing for decades and policies are now made for all Australians as one nation and as one community. There are no corners of society, government, or institutions of law where Indigenous Australians are discriminated against. Indeed, sometimes it is the other way around – notably in academia. There is no greater social taboo than to be perceived as insensitive to Indigenous culture, history, and needs. Such has been the depth and tangible effect of the private and public acts of recognition – and the ‘sorry’ campaign. Not that the reconciliation that was intended by the apology has ever been achieved by a matching nod of forgiveness… That is where we would find genuine reconciliation. It is a case of:

‘Sorry brother.’

‘We’re good, bro.’

As historian Hannah Arendt noted, ‘In the case of the worst historical wrongs the victims and perpetrators die out – the one who gave offence and the person to whom offence was done. Some descendants may remember for a time. But as the insult and grievance fade from generation to generation those who hold on to this grievance are often regarded as displaying not sensitivity or honour but belligerence.’

The Voice would continue supporting that belligerence, not to improve anything, not eliciting that forgiveness, but to keep the belligerence alive.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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