LETTER TO THE EDITOR: How hard can it be to establish The Voice?

DEAR News Of The Area,

SO a representative group of our Indigenous brothers and sisters, after long deliberations and under the perception that our nation is finally fair dinkum about Reconciliation, have asked that as a starting point they could be included as a ‘Voice’ to our Parliament in Canberra.

To make it official, and so it carries some weight, they have asked that it be included in our Constitution.

How hard could it be?

After all, there is an entire industry operating in Canberra to make sure organizations and various business interests can have a Voice.

They’re called ‘lobbyists’ and they pay substantial amounts of money to have the ear of the relevant Ministers.

Some don’t even have to pay.

Remember the executives from our gas industry who landed plum positions in our National Cabinet during the recent pandemic and unsurprisingly went on to recommend a ‘gas led economic recovery’?

No referendum required there.

Then there was the Mabo case?

Despite a ten year court case which resulted in the 1993 recognition of land rights for First Nations people, it did not result in mayhem, and our courts were not overrun with land rights claims.

Nor have we had to ‘pay to go to the park or the beach’ as alarmists back then predicted.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a recognition of entrenched disadvantage and an invitation for all of us to unite and agree on a permanent official advisory Voice specifically for First Nations people in our Parliament in order to facilitate some long overdue change.

Ideally this ‘Voice’ will result in change on the ground; but arguing that it won’t is not high moral grounds for dismissing it.

A Voice will, at the very least, provide an opportunity for decision makers to make a difference.

Those who also argue that the Voice would introduce a race based division in our constitution are seemingly ignorant of the extent of our shameful racist history and the abhorrent White Australia policy which was not only integral to the foundations of Federation and our constitution in the first instance, but has sadly influenced much of our attitudes and behavior ever since.

Maybe the race based divide is the one being manifested by those who are choosing to throw up every conceivable barrier to a united yes vote.

Sometimes in history, the greatest impacts are symbolic.

While a yes vote, just like the Apology to the Stolen Generations and the successful Marriage Equality Bill may not hold much relevance to many of us as individuals, to a united Australia and our place on the world stage, this referendum outcome will carry critical historical significance and a positive outcome for many.

Dave WOOD.

2 thoughts on “LETTER TO THE EDITOR: How hard can it be to establish The Voice?

  1. Yes, trauma and generational trauma and disadvantage have impacted Indigenous Australians for centuries, there is no denying this. In fact, the past can only inform the present for necessary change, however, the society and values of the past cannot be applied to the present because they have their own human bias, greed, ignorance and narrowness. The Voice to our Constitution is a present value to national identity. NZ does not divide the Maori from the nation, they include them. The voice is a complex legal argument and to use race in this limits the identification of Indigenous Nations, of which there are over 200, many who have lost their cultural heritage. Australian Indigenous societies are permitted under law to manage their own affairs and remember too that there is also a racial divide of Indigenous nations in this country. It’s a complex issue and voters need to be informed. My experience of Indigenous students from various schools around NSW is that colonists/invaders have destroyed connection to country and destroyed the land we belong to, there is additional trauma and sorrow attached to this difference in how laws apply.

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