September 26, 2023 6:59 pm

Why the Racist “Voice” Will Tear Australia Apart


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Why the Racist “Voice” Will Tear Australia Apart

By Malcolm Roberts

Martin Luther King’s dream was that his children would ‘not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character’. I share that dream.

Who would have thought we would be again fighting for such a basic concept nearly 60 years later.


As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I expressed my view about this legislation, the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023, and the brain-snapping folly that will occur if the Yes campaign wins the upcoming referendum. Martin Luther King’s dream was that his children would ‘not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character’. I share that dream. Although I doubt that he imagined we’d be discussing this same principle nearly 60 years later.

The Voice would result in constitutionally enshrining deferential treatment based on skin colour and heritage. I cannot endorse racism, and I will not do so. It’s difficult to discuss the ‘no’ case in relation to the Voice and its operations without being labelled racist. This has been Mr Albanese’s deliberate policy. He’s hoping to mislead voters into thinking this is a modest proposal, merely a goodwill gesture that needs very little thinking and should be supported because it’s simply good manners and will not change much or anything at all. He’s taken a leaf out of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s playbook. Mr Albanese is telling us, ‘Don’t you worry about that’—the details—’Just do as I say.’ Mr Albanese is telling a great mistruth.

The Voice, if established, will become a huge new institution with vast powers enshrined indefinitely into the Constitution based on race. It will change governance to Australia’s detriment. There’s no doubt that past governments failed to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s needs. This is despite billions of dollars successive governments have wasted lining the pockets of white and black bureaucrats, academics, activists, lawyers, consultants and all those whose incomes are based on the white and black Aboriginal gravy train siphoning off the money that rarely filters through to those who should benefit from assistance.

The government is already seeking mass endorsement of the ‘yes’ campaign. It’s calling in support from those already dependent on government funding. Sports organisations, the arts and big business are all dependent on government funding grants and contracts. They aren’t exactly independent but bribed. We’ll hear from more of those organisations in the lead up to the referendum.

While it’s interesting to look at the elites supporting the ‘yes’ case, we need to consider what real Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want. I’ve travelled with my staff to Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory and across Queensland. I’ve visited every Cape York community twice and in some cases three times—and to Torres Strait communities. I’ve listened to residents, and one thing that has struck me is the fact that there is little knowledge or even interest in this Voice. There is little interest or respect for the so-called Closing the Gap. A counsellor in the Torres Strait community of Badu summed it up accurately, saying that many in the Aboriginal industry do not want to close the gap; they want to perpetuate the gap to keep milking taxpayer funds.

There’s no common understanding as to what the Voice is or what it might offer residents in terms of improving people’s lives. Opinions differed from community to community. They differed from family group to family group. In fact, on most issues there’s little commonality of views. There’s no single Voice that could represent the differing views of each separate Aboriginal and islander community. I remain deeply concerned about the unworkability of what’s proposed.

Mr Albanese, when deflecting questions recently on how the Voice would work in practice, has constantly directed questioners to read the lengthy Calma and Langton final report on the Voice. It’s not a policy, merely recommended. The report says there’d be a need for 24 full-time roving commissioners and a secretariat. With 35 districts, there’s a need for local Aboriginal Voice to Parliament groups and committees. On each issue, these committees would seek to develop one opinion. There would be the likely risk of people in Tasmania giving their view on an issue for Torres Strait Islanders. The report did not say all representatives would be elected democratically. Retired High Court judge Ian Callinan has been vocal in opposing the Voice, questioning how it might not be truly representative of Aboriginal Australians and run the risk that the Voice might be made up of a hand-picked Canberra cadre. He noted practical difficulties with drafting the constitutional amendments that would need High Court interpretations. This Voice push is not from the grassroots; it’s coming from city elites, academics and others on the white and black Aboriginal industry gravy train. The Voice faces the real risk of a noisy minority of activist groups hijacking and driving it.

Across Australia are more than 3,000 Indigenous corporations and more than 12,700 registered charities with purposes including assisting Aboriginal Australians. Since 2018 more than 19,000 grants have been made, totalling more than $11.5 billion for Aboriginal purposes. All of this money has been directed towards the needs of a group representing less than four per cent of Australia’s population. For example, Noel Pearson’s Cape York Institute collected more than $50 million. He supports the Voice. The recent budget included $781 million for the National Indigenous Australians Agency, to be added to an already announced expenditure of $1.36 billion. Look around the communities. Where has this jaw-dropping amount of money gone? What has it done to lift the lives of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people? Previously, I raised in this Senate the sorry plight of Aboriginal people on Mornington Island, Australia’s third world disgrace. Has their life benefited from the jaw-dropping amount of wasted money? Clearly, no.

A core issue for me is there is the historic suppression of Aboriginal Australians under governments that continue to patronise and reinforce a victim mentality through misplaced paternalistic care, so-called care—control masquerading as care. This remains a national disgrace. The solution is not creating a powerful unaccountable body to satisfy a small group of activists with vested interests in maintaining an ever growing white and black Aboriginal industry.

There is not one word from the government on the cost of setting up the Voice. There is not one word from the government on the proposed annual costs. Why is this so, asked a famous and much loved and admired TV scientist. The Prime Minister does not want us to know the answer, as it would be a figure so large that no-one in their right mind would agree to such expenditure for yet another new bureaucracy, when many Australians are already wondering if they can afford to put a meal on the table for their family. Billions are already being spent. Billions more will be spent to run the Voice. Whoops, don’t tell the voters! A previous body created to assist and represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ needs was ATSIC, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission—and look how that experiment went. ATSIC’s abuse of Aboriginals and the related corrupt waste of taxpayer money led to ATSIC being abolished. It would be almost impossible to abolish the new version of ATSIC, which is the Voice, enshrined in the Constitution—how handy for the corrupt white and black Aboriginal industry, as the Voice, like ATSIC, would be a never-ending cash cow for those in the know, perpetuating bureaucrats, agency heads and board members living off taxpayer funds—parasites.

Let’s not forget the bloodsucking white and black lawyers, activists and academics, who are dipping their snouts in a new public funds trough. Is the Voice really necessary? Is it needed? The government says it’s needed to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people an opportunity for input into government. Currently there are already 11 members of parliament of Aboriginal heritage. Are they not doing the job of raising issues on behalf of Aboriginal Australians? If not, what sort of job are they doing? What about the National Indigenous Australians Agency? Isn’t its job to highlight to government areas of need? Will the Voice replace this body? The Prime Minister suggested that governance of the Voice would come under the jurisdiction of the future National Anti-Corruption Commission. This has been challenged. Retired senior judge Anthony Whealy said that further legislation would be required to extend the commission’s jurisdiction to cover the Voice, as it would not be covered under the current legislation setting up the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

This brings us to the issue of jurisdiction. The High Court would decide disputes about the Voice, because it would be created under an entirely new ninth chapter of the Constitution. The High Court is the only body having the role to interpret the Constitution—a whole ninth chapter added to the current eight chapters, with details in wording hidden. The High Court schedule could fill up rapidly with cases of this nature and slow down the judicial process. The Voice would be able to make representations to parliament and to the executive on matters relating to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. That’s almost everything. There’s little restriction on the sorts of issues that the Voice could raise, and the advisory role is not only to parliament; it’s to the executive government. That means that the potential for excessive involvement of the court system may necessitate expanding the High Court to consider Voice disputes and interpretation.

This leads to another criticism of the proposed Voice. At what stage can the Voice advise the parliament or the executive? Must the government consult with the Voice on all proposed legislation or the development of policy? Is the onus on the Voice to make representations about an issue with the government or the executive? The Aboriginal industry says it is to advise both. The Prime Minister has been unwilling to answer any of these vital questions. Will activists rely on the Voice to slow down government processes to the extent of blocking legislation and holding the government to legal ransom unless demands are met? That seems to be the activists’ intent. The Prime Minister’s comments that the Voice would be subject to the parliament are clearly wrong. Any law that was designed to rein back Voice activities may fail, as the power of the Voice is so broad that it is nigh impossible to minimise such power.

Any law that is passed related to the Voice must be subject to the Constitution. Surely that is a recipe for confusion and parliamentary disaster. The Voice does not practically solve any of the current issues facing remote Aboriginals or Torres Strait Islanders. These problems of people living in remote areas, Aboriginal or not, are already well known, yet solutions have not yet been offered. Allocation of vast sums of money, resources and programs have not worked. We’ve been told that the Voice is proposed to be advisory only, with no power to provide programs, resources or grants. How is that supposed to assist Aboriginals in need? The concept of native title was supposed to support Aboriginal Australians yet has failed miserably. Aboriginals living in a community are not able to own their own homes, are locked into rent cycles and unable to borrow to advance themselves, because they cannot use land under native title as security for a business or home loan or other loan. They’re locked into a system that keeps them from improving their lives and livelihoods or working towards buying their own home.

Native title freezes Aboriginal people out of the economy and keeps them from advancing personally. No-one should be surprised that the native title legislation’s preamble is littered with references to the Voice’s roots, the globalist United Nations. The Voice will further entrench Aboriginal disadvantage, promote victim mentality and sow further division.

One of the nastiest sides of this debate has been the coercive approach that ‘yes’ campaigners have taken, pitching any opposition to the ‘yes’ campaign as racist. Even within the Aboriginal community, where there are clear differences of levels of support, derogatory name calling and put-downs are the response from ‘yes’ campaign leaders such as Noel Pearson. He has derided Senator Nampijinpa Price and other leaders taking a strong ‘no’ stance. It’s interesting that in rural areas, where Aboriginals are most in need, the ‘no’ vote is way out front—much higher than the ‘yes’ vote. Aboriginals see little value for them in the ‘yes’ campaign. The ‘yes’ campaign support is in fact falling and remains strongest in cities, with support from the wealthy and the elites who have fallen for the cheap rhetoric of lies from government and lies from elite academia. Sadly, young people are being sold a pup, third hand, through a deceitful government media blitz providing huge sums to others to run a deceitful ‘yes’ campaign on behalf of the government.

What I dislike most of all is the fundamental flaw in this government’s whole referendum push, and that is the out-and-out racism underpinning the whole Voice concept. It is the insertion of a whole new chapter into our Constitution, as the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Ms Lorraine Finlay, recently highlighted by saying:

It inserts race into the Australian Constitution in a way that undermines the foundational human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination …

The proposed Voice will give Aboriginal people special rights. Only the members of the Voice will have a constitutional right to influence the parliament and the executive. No other Australian person or body would have that constitutional right to influence the parliament or executive based on race—not one. This is pure racism. If one goal of the Voice is to create harmony and reconciliation, this is doomed to failure, irrespective of the referendum outcome. This issue is so divisive that, whatever the result, a wedge will have been driven between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members of our Australian society, a wedge based on race, thanks to the Labor government. Australians should all have the same rights. If this referendum succeeds, that will not be the case in Australia, because one group, Aboriginal Australians, will have additional constitutional rights that other Australians will not have. That is racist and it is wrong.

We all share two identities. We are all human and we are all Australians. Our nation is the world’s only nation whose people voted for the national Constitution. Our Commonwealth Constitution is the people’s Constitution. Giving the government’s dishonest proposal an open slate—a blank slate—for changes made by politicians will degrade it to a politician’s Constitution. We have had enough of politicians in this country. In answering a question last week, the Prime Minister acknowledged the public has turned against the Voice. He then confirmed that if the people reject his racist Voice proposal he will legislate it. He will defy the will of the people.

Lastly, what is the point of a voice when the problem is not Australians speaking up; the problem is politicians not listening. It is the arrogance, the deceit, the unwillingness to listen. I will vote no.

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