The terrifying future of the Voice found in its past

Flat White

Matthew Stratton

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Matthew Stratton

3 April 2023

7:00 AM

In March 1982, the National Aboriginal Conference established under the Whitlam government put forward what can genuinely be described as the most radical proposal in Australian history.

The proposed treaty between Aboriginal peoples and the Commonwealth (without referendum) sought to ‘return’ sovereignty to Aboriginal peoples regarding:

…all original reserves to be acquired by the Commonwealth and given as freehold, in perpetuity; the development of ‘self-government in each respective tribal territory’, with respect for Aboriginal life and culture; the payment of 5 per cent of the Gross National Product per annum for 195 years; the return of national parks and forests, as well as artefacts, art-works, and archaeological finds; mineral rights to the land and control of the air space above it; recognition of Aboriginal customary law; Aboriginal schools, medical centres and legal aid offices where needed; tax exemption for 195 years; the voiding of all extant laws relating to Aborigines; the reservation for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders of seats in the national and state Parliaments; and that ‘the studying and diggings of all lands by Anthropologists and Archaeologists cease…

(Aborigines and the Age of Atonement, Colin Tatz, The Australian Quarterly, Spring, 1983, Vol. 55, No. 3 (Spring, 1983), pp. 292 – 293.)

So when GetUp told us that their role was ‘to be more ambitious than just referendum’, advocating for the yet more extreme ‘treaties, truth-telling commissions, representative structures’, they were not kidding. And it would not be hard to imagine the proposed Makarrata as an ‘improved’ version of the Voice to be advised to the Parliament, or even put to voters directly at a referendum.

Should Peter Dutton and the Liberals fail to stop the Voice dead in its tracks before it’s too late, some of us will not be shocked to see the already radical Voice become yet even more extreme in the not too distant future.

And with now independent Senator Lidia Thorpe declaring that Australia ‘has a strong grassroots black sovereign movement, full of staunch and committed warriors, [wanting] to represent that movement fully in [the Federal] Parliament’, it won’t be hard to find genuine political extremists arguing this case on our totally undeservedly underfunded ABC on QandA at a new time slot, on a new day, with a new host, to every Australian home sooner than we may think.

Thorpe’s focus will be to ‘grow and amplify the black [sometimes written blak] sovereign movement in this country, something we have never had since this place was established’. And she won’t be the only one.

Chillingly, for the first time in Australian history, we have legitimate political extremists in our federal Parliament proposing unparalleled changes to every aspect of Australian life. This issue alone makes Dutton’s yet undecided stance on the Voice referendum even more concerning to not only Liberals, but also any Australian that doesn’t want to see changes that are so drastic they cannot predict the outcome.

If we are to establish a legitimate third chamber, a radical change itself, do we really believe activists would simply pack up shop and go home? Would there be nothing more to complain about? Indeed, what even is the limiting principle of the support for a Voice to Parliament? And can we really expect the tycoons of big business, who have the money to support these radical changes, to not just as enthusiastically support an expanded Voice as they have supported the proposal?

Megan Davis, the Pro Vice-Chancellor at UNSW and Aboriginal activist, said recently: ‘Over five years, we’ve given speeches, we’ve gone to schools, we’ve gone to the Minerals Council, we’ve gone to Atlassian, to Telstra, to the banks, to the law firms, to every professional services firm in the country. We’ve handed out merchandise at NRL games. We have an endorsement database where we’ve tracked every endorsement since May 2017. We see ourselves as the cultural authority on these statements.’

So, if big business is in the pocket of the tax-exempt ‘Yes’ campaign (the ‘No’ campaign is not tax exempt by the way), and we have genuine extreme positions already in the Parliament pushing the Voice proposal even further to the left, and progressive groups promising that the Voice is just the beginning (all while there is no limiting principle on the Voice’s future), would it be at all shocking to see a continued push to ‘modernise’ or ‘update’ the Voice to it original 1982 proposal?

Forgetting just for a second what the drastic changes would entail for Australia’s future and the much loved Australian way of life, come the referendum later this year, voters should know that the Voice is not the end of the line, it’s just the beginning. If you don’t want Australia to become a new country, not too far off resembling a legitimate apartheid government where we have one (indefinable) type of Australians with unique and exclusive rights, and the rest of us just living in their world, vote ‘No’ to this referendum.

Got something to add? Join the discussion

Comment by Nelle- Aboriginals never had sovereignty to cede -they also are not First Nations the traitor Whitlam with the help of a black activist airbrushed the Pygmies from history-they were here before Aborigines and were all by wiped out by the Aborigines who stole their land- a few pygmies did survive and they live in north Qld rain forest-there was nothing here when the British arrived and set up the nation of Australia and without killing any Aborigines- then consequently the nation was built by the sweat and hard work of the white settlers -there were ructions between the tribes and the settlers and people from both sides were killed-if people are capable of reading and understanding the written word they should access Australian history (the original version not the Woke edition) Keith Windshuttle editor of Quadrant has written books covering this subject and you can access these on the Quadrant website. be informed not led by the nose by misinformation created by the Marxist left

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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