14 March 2023
The so-called ‘Voice to Parliament’ is a proposal for a race-based advisory body established via a referendum to amend Australia’s Constitution. We have only just commenced this corrosive process and already, we are seeing more questions than answers.
I oppose the Voice as a matter of principle. It is a cynical attempt to divide Australians by race and distract them from those contemporary issues which the government would otherwise be defending like the cost of living, inflation, and mortgage stress.
That said, one of the key issues being whispered around the dinner tables and front bars of our country, involves the question of who will qualify as a representative of the Voice and on what terms? To put it more bluntly, who will be deemed an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander? It appears to be a question that politics is too afraid to ask but is as critical an issue as any associated with this frolic.
During the last round of Senate estimates, I asked the Attorney General’s Department that very question, and the responses were underwhelming to say the least. After some bureaucratic fumbling, I was directed to the three-part test which has been used to determine Aboriginality since the Mabo High Court decision of 1992. I explained that I was familiar with the test, which has three criteria: descent or lineage, self-identification, and acceptance by the local Indigenous community. However, what I wanted the department to explain was how descent is established. In other words, how does one prove that they are Indigenous for the purposes of the ‘Voice,’ or any legal matter (for example, government grants)?
One would think this a simple question for a government seeking to establish a Constitutionally enshrined advisory board on Indigenous matters but, just as the Department of Health couldn’t tell me what a woman is, the Attorney General’s Department couldn’t seem to tell me how Indigenous people are identified, so I pressed the issue. Is one considered Indigenous if they have one grandparent, or one great, great, great grandparent, who was Indigenous?
Predictably, I was informed that this line of questioning was ‘not appropriate’, and the Labor minister at the table called my line of questioning ‘borderline racist’. I wonder if the minister views all Australians who are concerned about the lack of transparency regarding the Voice to Parliament in this way. It’s unfortunate that name-calling, guilt-tripping, and accusing opponents of various ‘isms’ and ‘phobias’ is all they have, given their lack of clear answers.
Furthermore, when I asked whether the department was concerned about people falsely identifying as indigenous, I was informed that this question was too ‘hypothetical’.
One would think that getting this simple matter bolted down would be a top priority for the Labor government, but this is not the case. The reason is simple: the ‘Voice’ is not about helping Indigenous Australians, but about further expanding the bureaucratic class, trashing our heritage, and exacerbating the victimhood mindset that the left uses to make people dependants.
We can expect more name-calling as the debate goes on. Such accusations are a cudgel that the left have been able to wield for too long. We must stop being afraid of being called names. If an opponent resorts to such actions, you know you are winning.
Meanwhile, details about the ‘Voice,’ such as who will qualify, how candidates will be selected remain opaque. Surely the millions of dollars the ‘Voice’ referendum will cost taxpayers could be used in a more beneficial way.
Fundamentally, the details of the ‘Voice’ are not the issue. Australia is already too divided along the lines of race due to the woke takeover of our bureaucracies, especially our education system, and the media. White children are taught to be ashamed of their heritage, and Indigenous children are taught that they are being held back by ‘systemic racism’. The fundamental assumption behind the ‘Voice’ is that Indigenous people don’t have a say in our political system – a claim that is blatantly untrue.
We do not need more racial division or welfare state solutions in Australia; we need unity, appreciation of our heritage, and practical solutions. As my colleague Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has said, ‘We don’t need a voice, we need ears.’ Never mind an Indigenous ‘Voice to Parliament’, Senator Nampijinpa Price is an Indigenous voice in Parliament. Of course, her approach to Indigenous issues is not well received by Labor and the Greens. If they and the bureaucrats in Canberra listened to her voice, they wouldn’t get to feel good about themselves for doing nothing except unnecessarily altering our Constitution to create more jobs for bureaucrats in Canberra.
Identity politics and victim culture, two tools in the so-called progressive playbook for gaining and maintaining control, are tearing this country apart. Australians should not be divided by their race. The politics of sentimentality must come to an end. If the government can’t even tell us how Aboriginality is defined for legal purposes, why are we even discussing the ‘Voice to Parliament’? Simply put, if Labor were interested in helping aboriginal people, they’d do that, rather than wasting our time and money over the ‘Voice.’
Saying no to the Voice doesn’t make you a racist. Australians will not be bullied.