OPINION: Referendum ‘yes’ will not end the world

DEAR News Of The Area,

I write in response to P. Weyling’s most-recent letter concerning the voice.

He cites some interesting statistics without realising their implications. “ . . . 55 percent of those more than 15 years old . . . ” (Indigenous Australians) “ . . . are already employed right across all fields of employment”.

So this means that 45 percent of adult Indigenous Australians are unemployed.

This is supposed to be good?

Is this supposed to be success?

He goes on “ . . . Those people have already found their voice, and have assimilated”.

The fact that they have found work does not mean they have found their voice.

Let’s be clear – the Voice to Parliament is about representatives of Indigenous communities advising our government about issues that directly affect them.

He also assumes that because little more than half of the Indigenous population is employed, that they must be educated.

Surely he realises that many low-paid jobs do not require an education, or even literacy?

And to claim that such individuals have assimilated, and are consequently “ . . . virtually indistinguishable from anyone else” is appalling.

Claiming that becoming assimilated and ‘indistinguishable from anyone else” as a desirable goal for Indigenous Australians suggests a belief that Indigenous Australians need to be controlled and transformed into copies of the rest of us.

Weyling’s opinions also indicate a life of comparative privilege, and one in which he has never lived alongside Indigenous Australians.

His privilege allows him to imagine that only Indigenous Australians living in remote, isolated communities need assistance.

I have Indigenous friends living near me now who continue to need assistance as a result of intergenerational deprivations and continued systemic racism.

Of course, some incredibly resilient individuals have managed to climb out of deprived origins, but they are the exception.

Cherry-picking a grab bag of statistics without understanding their interpretation proves nothing.

To pretend that existing Indigenous advisory bodies, each with their own limited range of influence, means Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders already have a way to get their needs met is simply ridiculous.

Please stop this pretence that our government listens to Indigenous peoples and takes their needs into consideration when imposing laws, policies and procedures that directly impact upon them.

Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders as a whole are not living a great life.

Clearly, the current system is not working.

Change needs to happen.

We need to stop believing that the rest of us know what is best for Indigenous Australians because we obviously don’t.

I hope that Weyling honours his promise to stop writing letters to the editor about this subject.

His attempts to push the ‘no’ argument are not becoming any more convincing.

The Voice to Parliament will not be as P. Weyling claims “[imposing] . . . Yet another bureaucratic organisation over the many existing Aboriginal organisations already giving a voice”.

The Voice to Parliament will not be a national approach to local problems, and it is not a top-down model, imposed by government.

Proponents of the Voice have stated over and over that this is a grassroots movement that seeks to appoint individuals nominated by their local communities to get their voices heard.

The purpose of the Voice to Parliament is to enshrine it in the Constitution, so that it cannot be removed.

Weyling seems very scared of this proposed change.

He needs to understand that he will lose nothing.

Giving others a voice does not mean that the rest of us will lose ours.

Nothing will change for the rest of us after the Voice to Parliament is enacted.

Just like nothing changed for the rest of us after the Mabo decision, even though those against it told everyone that we would lose our backyards!


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