A wabi-sabi nation

Flat White

Australia is a wabi-sabi nation: perfect in all its imperfections

Beverley McArthur

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Beverley McArthur

26 January 2023

1:00 AM

In The Strange Death of Europe, author Douglas Murray says of post-war immigration that, ‘…each European country has the similar experience of short-term policy creating the longest possible repercussions.’

He could have equally been talking about energy policy in Australia today as we chase Europe’s energy disaster to a known outcome: like a race between dumb and dumber, the winner is inevitably a fool.

But this ‘short-term policy creating the longest possible repercussions’ applies just as comfortably to The Voice’s plans for Australia – the referendum to change the nation’s Constitution to officially provision Indigenous oversight and interception of legislation will happen before 2024 dawns.

Between now and that political sunrise there will be much chatter. Much noise. Lots of vibes. Mabo moments. And people will be called racists to shadow and shield debate.

The name-calling will go one of two ways.

If someone supports The Voice, they will be called virtuous, intellectually superior, soulful, cultural, visionary, a warrior against colonialism, and a soldier for right and good. They will vote ‘yes’ no matter what the fine print says. To precis: White Man Bad.

If someone doesn’t want The Voice, they will be labelled a racist. The title will stick like the mud now putrefying the flood-ravaged parts of this nation.

The ‘no’ voters will be called right-wing extremists, nut jobs, culturally naive, blind to the rainbow serpent, and forever cruelling the birth rights of others.

Yet it is ‘the racists’ (the ‘no’-voters), who are fighting against racism. They are the ones who oppose division based on skin colour and genetics.

The ‘no’ voters see no need for a system that will divide. For a system that will allow a few people, based on the colour of their skin, a second say in democracy and the ability to hold sway over every piece of legislation before the Australian Parliament, for what legislation doesn’t relate to Indigenous peoples? They are equally Australian and therefore equally beholden to the impacts of each legislative endeavour, no less than any other citizen.

This ‘short-term policy’ is about as necessary as a bee sting on a bottom. It will hurt and ‘repercussions’ will be long and tragic. Douglas Murray, come on down…

With 11 Indigenous representatives in the Federal Parliament, a number in excess of the proportion of Aboriginals in the population, Aboriginal people have a Voice in the Parliament.

Why would a Voice to the Parliament be better than democratically elected voices in the Parliament? Especially as these voices are not there because of the colour of the skin, but because they represent all people from their electorate: all skin colours, creeds, and concerns.

Currently, no Voice is required because Australians are all equal. The Voice changes that, and it will change it forever.

It can only divide – but division is the air that the Woke breathe.

It makes one think about Australia Day this year.

It may be the last as we know it – albeit a day already stripped and torn of much of its unifying purpose.

It is just one day to say, ‘Hello Australia – hello all Australians – here we are on this island, far from others and special in so many ways for so many reasons – not perfect – but pretty darn good!’

Yet that one day – for all – sits in contrast to Naidoc Week celebrating Indigenous people. There is also Sorry Day that dedicates itself to highlighting the impact of colonial failures and interventions. Are we also saying ‘sorry’ for the introduction of health systems, electricity, education, mobile phones, supermarkets for a stable food supply, along with the roads and aircraft for transportation across this vast island continent?

Are we saying ‘sorry’ for introducing democracy, or would a 1788 arrival of a communist regime have been better?

Australia Day and the anthem that embraces it, are under siege. The words within Advance Australia Fair have already been changed from ‘young and free’ to ‘one and free’.

The Voice will demand further change because ‘one’ will no longer be the case, and ‘free’ is hardly what comes from creating a two-tiered populace deprived of the one-person one-vote formula.

Many Australians will simply not want to think about the fine print of this constitutional change – and that’s understandable – it’s legal mumbo jumbo for most people at the best of times.

A five-second solution to this problem will be all that some will abide. After all, there is the important business of Tik Tok and Twitter to attend to.

The Voice represents the architecture of repression and regression. It is neither nation building nor unifying. It is without solution.

Australians have become policy nomads, searching for a new horizon, a political place to call home.

The Voice is not that resting place.

On Australia Day, I urge contemplation for what we have – for all our faults, failures, and fragilities as a nation – but for all the reasons why we are also quite fabulous.

We are a wabi sabi nation: perfect in all our imperfections.

They are imperfections that will not be made beautiful by The Voice.

Beverley McArthur a Liberal Member for Western Victoria.

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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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