21 April 2023
There’s a pub somewhere in the Aussie outback which displays a worn and fraying sign: ‘Free beer tomorrow.’ The larrikin spirit lives on… But could it also be a warning to Australians that not all promises are kept, nor all hopes fulfilled. Perhaps the claims for the healing properties of the Voice would be as illusory as tomorrow’s beer.
It is a well-known maxim that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Perhaps that’s because human nature remains as flawed as ever, making the same mistakes as it pursues similar ends. Cancel Culture is one characteristic of a cultural revolution that is white-anting the West. The Cultural Revolution of the mid-60s in China produced the Red Guard, a civilian ‘army’ mobilised by the state under Mao Zedong, that was powered by a desire to destroy the remnants of the old regime and enforce ideological purity. Right-think.
With the backing of the enforcement apparatus as well as the ideology of the state, the Red Guard quickly became a feared thought police, free to trample on human rights. Their ‘bible’ was the Little Red Book, a collection of 267 aphorisms from Mao ‘correcting mistaken ideas’ including the famous line that ‘political power grows out of the barrel of a gun’. It was mandatory reading … and quoting!
‘A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery. It cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.’
The Voice is a backdoor revolution, as I have argued in these pages.
One of the key features of the Red Guard era was the destruction of ancient texts, antiques, and Buddhist temples. History was filled with evil, had to be destroyed; sound familiar? ‘Not to have a correct political point of view is like having no soul,’ said Mao, a view echoed today in much of the hard left. Another was the public humiliation and shaming of anyone even just suspected of ‘wrong-think’. In time, public shaming grew more violent…
A sign of the rhyme: some public confrontations by Aboriginal leaders and Voice proponents go beyond debating the subject. These include personal vilifications intended to erode the legitimacy of opponents. This is copied from the ancient text that teaches how to prepare for revolution: denigrate your opponents, herd them all into a single class (e.g. white supremacist colonialists), and hold them up for contempt. In the process, this class becomes the target of both ideologues and the violent elements in the culture war. If nothing else, it helps create division and chills open debate. For example, Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price was attacked for failing to favour the Voice. It was claimed that she was caught in a ‘redneck celebrity vortex’ and that right-wing think-tanks like the Institute of Public Affairs and the Centre for Independent Studies were pulling the strings. This inferred she had no agency of her own.
Price had said the Voice advisory body would divide Australia by race and said calls to support the ‘failed model’ amounted to ‘emotional blackmail’. When asked if the decision by one of the major parties not to support the Voice amounted to a death blow for the Yes campaign, as they usually require bipartisan support, Noel Pearson said:
‘There is an overwhelming majority of Australians who are in favour of this Voice, and the National Party is in danger of being left behind in history… After all, it’s just a squalid little political party… that is currently controlled by a kindergarten child.’
Pearson marked Easter by condemning the Liberal Party’s decision to oppose the Voice at the referendum as a ‘Judas betrayal’. He said: ‘I couldn’t sleep last night. I was troubled by dreams and the spectre of the darkness of the Liberal Party’s Judas betrayal of our country…’ Responding to Julian Leeser wondering how Aboriginals might be identified (for example, to qualify for Voice committee membership), Pearson made an unfortunate remark. As reported by The Australian:
Julian Leeser has expressed his disappointment with Noel Pearson after the Indigenous leader targeted the former shadow Indigenous Australian minister’s Jewish faith. Mr Pearson questioned whether Mr Leeser wants people to wear a tattoo identifying them as Indigenous or “our clothes should be adorned with some kind of badge identifying us as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander”. At the time the Indigenous leader made those remarks, Mr Leeser said he was taking his son to the synagogue. “That’s not the sort of debate we should be conducting,” he told Sky News host Chris Kenny.
With such inflammatory speech, proponents of the Voice risk turning a debate into a confrontation, and an argument into insult. What does that show about character of the Yes campaign? And what does it portend if the Voice becomes a constitutional fact?
Will the vitriol turn into swagger? Will the newly anointed class of political overseers, unrepresentative of anyone but themselves, become the bloated new replacements of leadership? Is Australia to become a living version of Orwell’s Animal Farm? Where is the line that separates the Voice committee from giving advice to demanding new rules? If, as Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese has said, ‘it would be a brave government who ignored the advice of the Voice’, would it also be a brave local council or state government or corporation who did so?
And if the country votes No to the Voice in the referendum, will the Professor Marcia Langton’s threat (!?) to end the ubiquitous Welcome to Country ceremonies be realised? Surely not…
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.
Comment by Nelle_ pity these children are so ignorant obviously no Australian History or they would know Captain Cook died 9 years before first settlement in 1788 and why should we pay rent for land- the Pygmies were here before Aborigines and they didn’t pay for the land-they killed the Pygmies-