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If you don’t understand – do the research

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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  1. Keitha Granville

    Sadly a few of my friends were planning to vote NO as they said they didn’t know enough about the Voice. I admit to becoming rather strident in beseeching them to READ something, anything – as there is plenty if you look – and that anything that makes life a tiny bit better for most indigenous folk has to be a good thing. One of them said ” does it mean we have to have an Aboriginal Prime Minister ?” OMG – how bad is it when the nay sayers have people thinking a YES vote means we will be governed by indigenous Australians ( we could be if lots stood for Parliament, are voted in and became the leading party – gosh that’s likely in the next millenium !) I am disappointed that the date wasn’t announced at Garma – that would have been the best time and place. For the sake of sanity, decency, humanity – VOTE YES

  2. Terence Mills

    I was shocked to read that special consideration should be given to some Aboriginal people in completing the YES or NO referendum response. It was suggested that many of these folk were functionally illiterate and unable to read or write in English and should be permitted to place ‘their mark’ on the ballot, be it a tick or a cross.
    What has happened in our education system that we are producing a generation students who are unable to communicate in our national language ; our state governments should be wary that they could be sued for breach of a duty of care to ensure that every child no matter their ethnicity receives a well rounded education to enable them to get employment and participate in the broader community.

  3. Michael Taylor

    A comment on Facebook in response to this post:

    You don’t seem to understand that the Vote is to get hold of all our properties and land and the Aboriginals know that means there’s too. All
    Part of the Globalist New World Order of “You will have nothing and you will be happy” Where have you been the past four years?!?
    If you think this doesn’t mean YOU because you Rent think again – the property you’re living in belongs to someone else who will lose like the rest of us!


  4. A Commentator

    Unfortunately Facebook has given a platform to all sorts of conspiracy theorists. They can form their groups and reinforce their weird views
    There is no way to persuade zealots.
    The only purpose in engaging with them is to demonstrate that the Yes proponents are the voice of calm, mainstream rationality

  5. Michael Taylor

    AC, you’d be pleased to know that I didn’t engage.

  6. 2353NM

    @Michael Taylor – well that’s a response I didn’t expect! Non-engagement was probably the best option.

  7. K

    You don’t seem to understand that the Vote is to get hold of all our properties and land and the Aboriginals know that means there’s too. All
    Part of the Globalist New World Order of “You will have nothing and you will be happy” Where have you been the past four years?!?
    If you think this doesn’t mean YOU because you Rent think again – the property you’re living in belongs to someone else who will lose like the rest of us!

    That is just GOLD…

    Apart from being somewhat illiterate, the old “ignorance is bliss” is strong in this one!

    As for the New World Order, is there jackets? Coz if so, I want ones like the Pink Ladies in Grease…

  8. Kerri

    When Dutton says
    “If you don’t know, vote no!”
    What he means is
    If you don’t know, then stay ignorant and listen to me so I can continue to frighten the Bejeesus out of you.

  9. Max Gross

    Vote YES to go forward. Vote NO to remain static or worse, go backward.

  10. Peter Rainne

    Ilived with tribal Aborigines for 35 years and the VOICE has nothing to do with them. It will give them nothing.Voice is a whiteman’s politcal con in conjunction with the white pointed nosed Urbn mixed bloods .VOTE NO!

  11. Steve Davis

    Peter Rainne, extraordinary statements require extraordinary evidence. You’ve given none.

    “It will give them nothing.” Respect is not nothing. Is that too much to ask?

  12. New England Cocky

    An excellent article concisely outlining the failure of COALition non-policies.

    @ Terence Mills: In 1996 Little Johnnie Howard initiated an anti-academic excellence policy by ripping ONE BILLION DOLLARS out of university research funding and gifting it to American multinational corporations, that then sub-contracted to Australian academics for much less ….. and pocketed the large difference.

    This was continued at school level by deliberately increasing feral government spending to the private school sector to provide a third rate child-minding system that had languished on large government handouts since 1961 (35 years) without any significant improvement in the academic results of the private school system.

    Aboriginal education has been neglected since 1901, with too much NT government funding sticking in Darwin and Alice Springs for the benefit of the European ”administrators”. In NSW the DoE followed the usual practice of ignoring Aboriginal needs in education.

    @ Peter Rainne: Well, all governments have given nothing to Aboriginal communities surviving on their traditional lands. The Voice is an attempt to rectify over 123 years of racist inspired state sponsored genocide by neglect. VOTE ”YES”!!!

  13. Steve Davis

    There is a human frailty based on those who sense that they are exploited by the system being content with their lot, as long as they see another group that suffers even greater disadvantage.

    This is a problem that the YES campaign has not adequately addressed. It was not present in the 60s referendum because there was no perceived significant gain for indigenous people. There was no losers. Now, however, many white folk incorrectly sense that they are heading for the bottom of the social structure. They will vote NO.

  14. Terence Mills

    Peter Rainne

    Noel Pearson has said “if you don’t have a voice, you won’t be heard”.

    That makes sense to me Vote YES

  15. Paul Smith

    THIS HAPPENED ON 9/8/2023 (just so y’no… I’m not making it up.)

    Group Leader: Everyone’s here’s annoyed that they’re being asked to vote but there’s no information – they don’t know what it’s about.

    Conversation Host: Did you ask your members if they would like me to conduct a Kitchen Table Conversation with them?

    Group Leader: Yes. They said no.

  16. Paul Smith

    Michael Taylor, of peak stupid and responding thereto, I agree that non-engagement is the go, but I had a moment of joy a couple of weeks ago by holding a mirror up to a bloke who said that when we become a republic, the UN will own all of the land in Australia. From where I know not came my instant response. Yeah! Good! That suits me just fine, because I OWN THE UN! He didn’t expect that and was triggered to say something sensible: Don’t be stupid, how could you possibly own the UN. To which I responded: Mate! You’re the one telling us about all the deep state secrecy that underpins all these dire things that are happening and more to come. But Guess what! You don’t know all the secrets. So I’m not going to tell you how I came to own the UN because it’s a secret. For some reason that I can’t fathom, he continued to disbelieve me. Could that be a sign of hope???

  17. Stable Genius

    The headline of this article demonstrates yet again, why The Voice will go down. Between the lines, it says that a YES vote is enlightened and well informed. Whereas a NO vote is stupid and wrong, get up to speed, you dunce.

    Read the Yes-No pamphlet. The Yes side doesn’t even bother to address the No concerns, just assumes that voters will do as Albanese (via the Uluru Statement) requests. They won’t.

    Has anyone ever been so authoritarian fake-left as Anthony Albanese? After the Voice is defeated, we’ll never see him in Australia again. He’ll be too busy doing climate-change victory laps at the UN and EU.

  18. Terence Mills

    Stable What ……………

    You say The Yes side doesn’t even bother to address the No concerns. Well that’s not the job of the YES proponents, it’s up to the punters to decide which way they lean in accordance with the issues raised by respective parties.

    The NO campaign makes much of the fact that we don’t have all the details of how the Voice delegates will be selected (elected or appointed) or how the Voice will operate or be funded and I have sympathy with their concerns but, we have repeatedly been assured that our elected parliament will determine the parameters and the mechanics of how the Voice operates : that is both levels of our elected parliament, the House of Reps and the Senate – that’s how our democracy operates.

    What we are simply being asked at the referendum, is do we agree ‘in principle’ that there should be a Voice for first nation’s people inserted in our Constitution – that’s all.

  19. Phil Pryor

    Plenty of heat here, some warmth, a little light, more jokes about anecdotal things, and not much hope. One knows (??) that getting a majority of the people and states is difficult, The average and below average mentality outweighs the above average awareness.

  20. wam

    The median IQ here is 99 in America 88? The referendum will win as over 50% has the brains to understand the need for YES. The danger is the power of racism over the common sense argument that if laws are being set for Aboriginal people then Aboriginal people should have input before the laws pass parliament.
    how about the tick vs the cross???

  21. Zathras

    The “lack of detail” argument is nonsense and Dutton knows it. His is purely a political strategy intended to unite the Right and secure his own position.

    No matter what Albanese legislates a future government can replace the Voice with two men and a dog. The only thing that remains is the concept of having a voice but if the Albanese model proves successful then they would have to tread warily.

  22. GL

    I am convinced about the “Vote No” sections in the pamphlet that arrived in the mail yesterday was written by a bunch of idiots who were bombed out on helium, nitrous oxide and grain alcohol and living in a different reality called the Moronoverse. It’s just the same hoary old fact free bullshit that Dunceolini (Anyone else notice that his head is looking more and more like an egg lately?) has been spewing for months.

  23. Clakka

    More than 30 years ago I had a small cottage in Alexandria, about 1km from Redfern Station. I worked in the city, and suited up, used to walk to and from the station catching the train to / from town. One evening I was attacked by a couple of black guys on the station platform under the bridge. I managed to escape, with a split eyebrow and a shiner. Before I got home, I was met by Tony Mundine. Word had got to him. He sorted it by conciliation over the following couple of weeks. I was offered recompense, but refused it – bodies heal and I had been treated well and with respect by the elders, and was now known. I wouldn’t have gone to the cops, as they regularly harassed and bashed the ‘black bastards’ as most of those cops called them.

    During that time I had a friend, Sally, from the North Shore, a professional writer, a smart woman of the stolen generation, still vulnerable and still searching for her roots and mob – a difficult and painful task in those years for anyone, even though she was an adept researcher. Particularly because the First Nations culture is matrilineal, whereas the ‘white’ system is patrilineal, and patriarchal – more often than not disregarding and oppressing women to protect their arrogant and brutal patch. One doesn’t need much imagination to understand how they ranked black women – usually not sufficiently to warrant any record of them at all.

    During that time, I also met Mick Mundine, Black Santa (Syd Cunningham), the Fenechs who lived about half a click down the road from my place, Gary Foley frequently on his bike in Glebe Point Road, and a few of the La Perouse mob. Years later, I also had the good fortune in Melbourne to share a few words with Archie and Ruby and enjoy their songs at a small and intimate gathering in the bush. These folk were very well informed, of both the past, and the realities of the now. They were resilient and determined to act in good faith for all First Nations folk, and to bring to light to ‘whites’ the realities.

    I have also had the pleasure of meeting East Arnhem Land blacks such as Bobby Bunungurr and others as part of Seb Jorgensen’s Waak Waak Jungi, and many other locals from Roeburn, to Broome & Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Gibb River and the broader Kimberly to Kunanurra. The usual, “G’day.” “Where’ye from?” “Where’ye going?” “Whatd’ye want?” Straight to it, good questions, and very important on that country, as there are many perils, and besides, you may be useful to one another (almost certainly). The formalities done, one may be fortunate to enjoy a yarn, some wit and laughter and local wisdom. Time and space is different up in that neck-o-the-woods, and if one is fortunate, there is much to enjoy over and above the frequent insularity of the Big Smoke rat race. And they know it, yet they would like to experience the Big Smoke, like so many of them that have attained that education, those that they don’t call ‘city elites’, as they have respect where it’s due.

    One can develop understanding by years of reading or going meeting and experiencing people and country. It would seem however that the Big Smoke rat race, after more than a century of much brutality and oppression, for too many has developed its own haves and have-nots insularity, for the latter often fuelled by bitter envy. Wrought by divisive interventions into an ordinary life. Such interventions that have long been experienced by First Nations folk. Interventions they rightly do not want any more.

    Yet it is those such interventions into the mind, the body and the soul that the ‘NO’ campaigners seek to embed alienation and mistrust via tweaking the retrograde dysfunction of insularity and bitter envy. Those campaigners that seek glory only for the weakness that is themselves, and those driven by greed. In reality, it does not need much research, just reflection on community, an ordinary life and a path to goodness and wellbeing.

    ‘YES’ will certainly be a powerful step on that journey.

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