While not identifying as or trying to sound like an old school socialist, the slogan of the ‘ruling classes’ for the forthcoming referendum is abysmal. “If you don’t know, vote no’ is not only a reflection of the attitude of those that believe they are born to rule, it also assumes that people who have genuine questions or concerns don’t have the intelligence to do some research and determine a point of view for themselves.
The current strategy of the conservative political parties and their fellow travellers over recent years seems to be to encourage everyone to be relaxed and comfy at home in the favourite armchair, dressed in a dressing gown and fluffy slippers with a pipe and the gas heater burning away in the background listening to the wireless while the rich and powerful work out what is good for you. It all sounds very 1950ish and ‘father knows best’ doesn’t it?
But what if you have been recently kicked off the comfy home you have rented for decades, primarily because the Howard Government cut in half the tax on the profit of selling an investment property as detailed in this news story? Despite the Howard Government being turfed from power in 2007, the effects of this vote buying measure linger. While more progressive governments have attempted to resolve the issue, the hue and cry from disaffected investment property owners, amplified by the Coalition and their ilk to keep an obvious rort with a high cost of entry has been overwhelming.
But what if your comfy house is next to some bushland? Even if you’re not concerned than ever before about the greater risk of an out-of-control bushfire consuming your property, your insurance company is – and they have increased your house insurance costs as evidence of their concern. Their actuaries have determined there is a greater risk they will have to pay something out to you or others with a similar proximity to bushland because sadly more Australian’s homes will be consumed by fires this summer. It’s a pity that we have been pumping increasing amounts of carbon into the atmosphere for the last decade, because a Coalition Government scrapped an emission reduction program that was beginning to work. There is also a higher probability of more extreme cyclones, severe storms and other adverse weather events.
The conservatives that are now telling you not to do the research and vote for no change are also the ones that told you before the past couple of elections that the ALP’s vehicles emissions and electric vehicle mandates would ruin the weekend. The implication being the weekend’s future was dire as there were no electric utes. Well, there is and there is an growing industry in Australia converting two of the bestselling utes to battery power – here and here for starters. Before you start repeating the conservatives claims that the batteries only have a limited life before landfill – read this, including the bit where they tell you why dead batteries aren’t going to landfill. We haven’t even got to the potential health benefits of EVs, which the Coalition won’t tell you because it doesn’t suit their comfy 1950’s message.
The ‘anti-everything’ conservatives recently ran their CPAC event in Sydney. The usual roll call of right wing ‘thinkers’ (an oxymoron if ever there was one) reportedly stood up and preached that the world was going to rack and ruin because they weren’t in charge. Hopefully CPAC made enough to enable one of its ‘think tanks’, Liberty Works, chaired by leading ‘no’ proponent Warren Mundine to pay the $172,000 or thereabouts it owes the federal government after being found guilty of spreading misleading information during the recent pandemic. So much for ethics and morals.
“The Voice’ referendum is a response to the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Despite the claims from the naysayers, the statement is one page and slightly over 400 words. Perhaps unsurprisingly to the rest of us, it is not a third chamber of parliament as it can’t make legislation. It is not going to decide what the next interest rate movement is because it will not have any ability to do so (that ability is solely in the hands of the Reserve Bank) or make any other rules or legislation. It is certainly not going to mean that large swathes of Australia is going to be managed any differently to what is occurring now (as was claimed when the ALP passed Native Title legislation). But it doesn’t stop them trying it on.
The referendum is needed to enshrine a ‘voice’ to discuss and recommend actions to the parliament for our First Nations peoples in the Constitution so that a government in the future can’t abandon the process if and when it suits them. Certainly a future government can choose to ignore the ‘voice’, but will do so at their own peril. Let’s face it, the Coalition’s most recent attempt to assist First Nations people, the intervention in the Northern Territory, was ultimately as successful as many of the probably well-intentioned but ultimately useless previous attempts to ensure all our First Nations peoples have equal opportunities. Who knows, if we ask First Nations people how to help them, they might have the chance of an equal lifespan to the rest of us who are or have descended from immigrants.
If you want to retreat to the comfy 1950s and never change anything, that is your prerogative but you can’t pick and choose to take the technical and lifestyle benefits of the 21st century while decrying the same lifestyle and technology. In short – you can’t have it both ways. Do your research and vote accordingly but if you vote no because you don’t understand – that’s a cop out and a sad indicator of your intelligence.
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