What could go wrong with ‘Voice to Congress’?


Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, along with Prime Ministers of all states and territories, formally endorsed Indigenous Peoples’ “Voices” to Parliament to advise Parliament and the Commonwealth on policy issues. He has said that a successful constitutional referendum later this year is a priority for his government.

In past referendums, the federal government has facilitated debate by providing pamphlets formally outlining the pros and cons of proposed changes. For now, however, the debate is curbed by hinting that anyone who has concerns about such a proposal could be racist.

according to To Labor Senator Pat Dodson, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Indigenous Voices, “The government has no interest in supporting a racist campaign to influence the pamphlet issue.”

Some seek to challenge or even discuss constitutional proposals for reasonable fear of being branded racist and sued. This seems to confirm the worst fears that Aboriginal scholar Anthony Dillon once stated:

So it may be necessary to make it clear that we passionately support the right of Australians of Aboriginal heritage to freely embrace, practice and celebrate their rich cultural heritage.

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Children from the Yolngu tribe of northeast Arnhem Land prepare to perform a traditional Bungul dance at the Garma Festival near Nhulunbey, East Arnhem Land, Australia, August 4, 2018. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

But a referendum does not really call for reconciliation, it abandons the very essence of democracy.

Australians are asked by the government to introduce the idea of ​​racial preference into the constitution. This, according to Chris Merritt, Deputy Director of the Australian Rule of Law Institute, racial preference is asking to give one racial group. Additional influence over all areas of public office is guaranteed by the Constitution.

However, when this “advisory body” is incorporated into the framework of the country’s constitution, the voices of indigenous peoples can make representations to parliament and government, and influence the development of all public policies, and the wider You can influence your community, but only be accountable to your race. constituencies based on.

These policies are merely “advice”, but if the Prime Minister’s own assessment is correct, it is virtually impossible for any government to ignore such “advice”.

big lie

One detail that remains undefined is how Indigenous Voices members are appointed. The fact that such issues are important to all democratic people seems to have been ignored.

Instead, the final report of the Indigenous Voices Collaborative Design Process raises the prospect that some of its members will be directly selected by Indigenous communities, but nominated by local and regional Voices. .

This appalling erosion of democratic principles undermines the justification for incorporating such race-based organizations into the Australian Constitution.

“Sadly, this is a lasting legacy of Australian Aboriginal problems,” says Australian Aboriginal Dallas Scott.

As Scott points out,

“In societies where citizens are dying for the chance to bring democracy to other countries, some turn a blind eye to the undemocratic state of native organizations.”

Scott is very proud of his Aboriginal heritage, but he sees himself fundamentally no different from his fellow Australians and has been involved in many debates about Aboriginal identity.

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The Aboriginal Tent Embassy will host a family barbecue and entertainment in Canberra, Australia on 26 January 2023. (Martin Ollman/Getty Images)

However, according to him,

“Australians happily swallowed the lie that Aborigines were one big multicolored family, stuck together. Functionally illiterate and often unemployed people thousands of kilometers from where they listen and decide what is important to them.”

Arguably, the political system has a vested interest in fostering a divisive and racist agenda that ultimately undermines the principles of equality enshrined in our Constitution.

Australian historian Keith Windstoll explains why he believes Australians have not been told the full truth about such proposals to change the constitution:

“It is not only the Aboriginal academic and political authorities that want to re-draft some of them to suit their own political agenda. The aim is not social improvement or progress, even if they consider themselves “progressives.” A unique opportunity to change the constitution to fulfill their own political ambitions. ”

Windstoll then explains that the main ambitions of some elitist elements of our society are not centered on achieving liberal reforms or making Australia more democratic. In fact, as he interestingly points out,

“Most constitutional commentators today see democracy as an obstacle that must be overcome, rather than an end that must be pursued, in order to pursue the political agenda.”

institution race card

Either way, the simple and indisputable fact is that establishing Indigenous voices in our Congress will create different rules for people of different cultures, ethnicities, and ancestry. about it.

Of course, the question of who is Aboriginal and who is not, and what those who identify with Aboriginal are entitled to is a controversial and important topic.

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A girl holding an Australian Aboriginal flag on Australia Day in Sydney on 26 January 2022. (Steven Saphore/Getty Images)

Adding a race-based element to the parliamentary system instead of creating reconciliation could set us further apart for generations.

For example, stating racism in the constitution could entice some people to ‘play the race card’, exacerbating the differences between Australian Aborigines and all other Australians.

One of the great virtues of our Constitution is that it treats all citizens equally. It is a federal document for all Australians regardless of race, culture or origin. It is inappropriate to use such documents to promote one group over the rest.

According to former Australian High Court judge Ian Callinan QC, “Constitutional provisions that seek to justify different laws for people of different ethnicities on the grounds of their different ethnicity should be resisted. be.”

I wholeheartedly agree. Citizens should not be treated the same under the Australian Constitution. Because “We are all equal and endowed by God with inalienable rights” is a much better constitutional principle than “We got here first!” It’s from

However, a voice referendum is not only because it grossly violates the principle of equality, but also because its supporters have given enough information to enable the Australian public to make informed decisions. It should be rejected because it refuses to provide it.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.