Like most fair-minded Australians, Family First supports recognising indigenous people in the constitution.
This would correct an error and foster unity.
But we can’t support the Voice.
That’s because it gives one race special powers in the Australian constitution.
Equality under the law is our Western inheritance and the basis for justice for all, regardless of race or creed.
Little detail is known about the Voice but what is known is that it will comprise a new chapter of Australia’s rule book, putting the Voice on equal standing with the judiciary and the parliament itself.
This is a radical change.
Prime Minister Albanese refers anyone seeking detail about the Voice the Calma-Langton Voice Co-Design plan which was overseen by indigenous academics Professor Dr Marcia Langton AO and Professor Tom Calma AO.
The Institute for Public Affairs released its analysis of this 272-page report this week.
It found that the “Calma-Langton Voice plan would potentially create an additional 850 new politicians, over 4,000 political staffers, at an annual wage bill in excess of $600 million – half the annual government hospital budget in the Northern Territory”.
It also found that the Calma-Langton plan proposes that the new Voice politicians would be “determined by local communities, which means closed-shop nepotism would be rife”.
It is also known that if Parliament or executive government chose not to heed the Voice, activists would have recourse to the High Court.
Unelected judges would interpret this new chapter of the constitution and could make rulings which override the Parliament.
Proponents even admit nothing will be beyond the remit of the Voice because everything the executive and the Parliament does has implications for indigenous people, just as it does for every other Australian excluded from the Voice.
The Voice will be more powerful than the average member of Parliament.
Former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, an opponent of the Voice, wrote in the Weekend Australian that it was part of the Uluru Statement designed to create a treaty which in turn created “self-determination” for indigenous people.
It’s not clear what this would mean but one can plausibly guess it means creating a separate self-governing nation within Australia.
Remember, when Albanese was elected, he said from the victory podium on election night that he was committed to the Voice and to implanting the Uluru Statement “in full”.
Clearly the Voice is a package deal which includes a treaty for “self-determination” and “sovereignty”.
Over which people and which land is unclear.
Anderson urges Australians to familiarise themselves with the Uluru statement. He is highly critical of it because it declares Indigenous Australians to be “powerless”, and that “constitutional reforms” are the only way to “empower our people”.
Anderson questions the very need for a Voice.
“It is misleading to suggest that Indigenous Australians currently have no voice to parliament when each Indigenous Australian has an equal vote to anyone else and, importantly, each state and territory has a minister for Aboriginal affairs, and federally we have a minister for Indigenous Australians.
“These portfolios liaise directly with many Indigenous stakeholders. Indigenous Australians, like all Australians, have many voices to parliament already,” he said.
Veteran political journalist at the Australian, Dennis Shanahan observed that Voice proponents were no longer mentioning the “V word”, preferring to focus on recognition.
If only the referendum, likely to be held in October, only had recognition on the ballot – it would sail through such is the goodwill of non-indigenous Australians.
Anderson is worried the Voice will become a platform for perpetual grievance until a treaty is enacted.
“The question of changing the date of Australia Day gets far more media attention than the horrific rates of domestic violence and child abuse in remote communities. We don’t need more distractions from the real issues,” he wrote.
The Parliament will vote on the referendum enabling legislation this week. Expect to hear lots about recognition and little about the Voice, its powers and activists’ ultimate agenda for a separate nation.
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