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The No Case – Which Is A Little Ambiguous, I Know…

Now, when I wrote the “The No Case”, I suddenly realised that it sounded like I was arguing that there was no No Case… which after hearing their arguments, I’m starting to think that maybe that’s about right.

I mean, first we have people complaining that there is an information campaign being funded, so why isn’t there a disinformation campaign being funded?

But then today the “No Campaign” released their ad campaign and their slogan.

Basically, it said:

“Will the Voice cure cancer? Will it prevent climate change? Will it cure erectile dysfunction? Will it bring peace to the Middle East? Will it get the Russians out of Ukraine? Don’t know? Vote No…”

Ok, I may be guilty of saying something that’s slightly wrong but compared to some of the the things that the “No case” is saying, I think of got the gist of it right…

The slogan of “Don’t know? Vote No” is the sort of thing that Scotty From Mad Men would have come up with: that wonderful trick of advertising companies of helping something to stick in your brain by making it rhyme, because when something sticks, it clicks. Slogans like “Be Wise, Alkalise!” or “Beanz means Heinz” (which only partly rhymes even though they’ve deliberately spelled Beans incorrectly to make it look like it rhymes with Heinz…).

But less trivially, when you break down what they’re saying it’s this: “Look, if you’re ignorant that’s fine, don’t inform yourself: Just vote no.”

Obviously, this would be a lot less effective because, not only doesn’t it rhyme, it draws attention to the central fact that the campaign led by Warren Mundane is mainly aimed at appealing to the ignorant…

Now before you get on your high horse and say that you’re well-informed and you’ve read the hundreds of pages of detail and you’re still voting no because you have some concerns, let me assure you that it’s not you I’m talking to… just as it’s not you that the ad campaign is aimed at. After all, it actually says, “If you don’t know…”, which is a pretty clear indication that it’s not appealing to the informed.

Still it would be interesting if Labor or The Greens or the Independents were to apply this strategy to the Liberals. You know something like: “If you don’t know what the Liberal Party’s energy policy is, don’t vote for them!” Although in that case, it might qualify you to stand as a Coalition candidate.

Whatever, it does seem as though the Coalition are prepared to sell out First Nations people by doing whatever it takes to disrupt the Referendum because Labor are the ones proposing it. Since Dutton took over as leader, it’s hard to think of anything that he’s actually supported, even the censuring of Scott Morrison over the fact that he failed to keep his own people informed about his multiple ministries. “Look a lot of us are pretty upset that he did all this stuff behind our backs and we think it was wrong, but putting that on the record,, no, we’re going to go and pat him on the back after the motion.”

Imagine if Pete and Warren and Jacinta had been around in 1967 when there was that Referendum allowing the Aboriginal population to be included in the census and for the Commonwealth to make laws around race. We’d have had: “What laws?” and “We need more detail as to how they’ll be counted”; and “How will we get the census forms to people living in remote communities?” and “This won’t lead to any practical improvement in the everyday lives and any closing of the gap!”

Actually, that last point might actually have some validity…

But even if it does, that’s still no reason for voting down the 1967 Referendum, any more than the fear that the Voice won’t make enough of a difference. The point is that the Voice will either do some good or, in the worst case, do not much at all. Either way, it’s worth a chance.

What are we left with, if those who have No idea were to succeed? We’d have to the garbled mess that Jacinta Nampijinpa Price argued for on Insiders which was a lot of local voices that wouldn’t have a central voice in Canberra because once it went to Canberra then people would have to listen to them and that wouldn’t be right because once they were in Canberra then they’d be part of the elite and not worth listening to. You know, they’d be a Canberra voice like her and all the other politicians, so we need to just do something else.

Basically, the poverty of the No case is in their slogan. In general, I’d argue: “If you don’t know, FIND OUT before you open your mouth and make a fool of yourself!”


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  1. Frank Smith

    Don’t know? Vote NO! The trainwreck interview of Barnaby on RN this morning provided a timely endorsement of the case you make Rossleigh. Why do media even bother to seek interviews with this totally disoriented aggressive blabber mouth? Best thing to do is totally ignore him and, by doing so, deprive him of a stage and oxygen. What is wrong with you voters of New England that you can tolerate a spokesperson and representative who cannot put a coherent sentence together?

  2. Harry Lime

    He’s one of them,Frank,that’s what they understand.

  3. GL

    I see the ongoing trainwreck destruction of the LNP is continuing apace. I realise that it’s Formaldahyde Murdoch that I’m posting the links from but what the hey…

  4. Harry Lime

    Meanwhile,the Boofhead LOTO is busily rearranging the dwindling deck chairs on the rapidly sinking HMAS BROAD CHURCH.By elevating the befuddled Ms Price,he has telegraphed his desperation.When he should have assigned her to a broom cupboard to count the spiders.Spuddley is going for broke..all he has to lose now is his job..Jacinta is an inspired choice to assist him to the exit.

  5. New England Cocky

    I am honestly very upset that both Frank Smith and Harry Lime fail to appreciate the true worth of Beetrooter, the NOtional$ representative in New England.
    I sometimes ask myself, ”Why do Tamworth women support an adulterous, alcoholi, fornicating, sexually harassing misogynist” and one knowledgeable local lady replied, ”Because their men tell them to support him”.
    Funny thing is that when you make this observation at a polling booth during elections, the NOtional ladies handing out for Beetrooter get quite hot under the collar. I cannot imagine why ….. perhaps the truth hurts …..

  6. Rossleigh

    I did hear Senator Price say that the Indigenous people she’s spoken to are confused about the Voice… which I don’t see as at all surprising.
    However, I infer from that the people she hasn’t confused are the ones she hasn’t spoken to.

  7. Kerri

    Well said Mr. Brisbane.
    If the alternative to an Indigenous voice is the voices of Mundine and Price……???

  8. Lawriejay

    No one in this country knows more about a Voice to Parliament than the Hon. Barnaby Joyce?
    Barnaby is party to the party with the most powerful voice and presence in the Federal Parliament of Australia the Farmers and Graziers VOICE through the National Party 1982 ( created as the Country Party 1920 reasoned that they could have significant political influence, encouraged primary producers across the country to seriously engage with the idea of creating state and national Country Parties.)
    The National Party the most powerful VOICE the Farmers and Graziers VOICE to Parliament.
    That’s good – but not good for the originals for 60,000+ years?
    Hypocrisy ! Gall!

  9. Clakka

    It’s something to behold when the besotted, self-obsessed, premature ejaculators emerge from the LNP / CLP bush, “Coming ready or not!” Fire Aim! Ooops!

  10. Gangey1959

    Don’t know, vote no.
    Hope for Best, Vote for Yes.
    Not much of a decision really.
    Unless you are a potatoe-head.

  11. Paul Smith

    I think Albo has made a strategic mistake. I get that he want the country to vote on the principle of Inclusion in the Project of Australian Nationhood by Recognition in the Constitution. But isn’t it time the long pants came out in response to repeated bleats about the Voice being dominated by elites in Canberra when what is needed is a focus on local needs!? Isn’t it time for Albo et al to say that the most important single point in the Langton Calmer Model (LCM) bloodywell IS Local and Regional Voices – that you don’t even have to read the whole report to get the substance of the model – that the Executive Summary preempts every disingenuous gripe that has been uttered to date. I’m sure the government can make the point that the LCM is not The Voice set in stone and that aspects of it will almost certainly be altered by Parliament after the referendum. But if we keep hearing people say they don’t know what they are being asked to vote for shouldn’t we be shouting the LCM from the rooftops!?

  12. New England Cocky

    @ Lawriejay: Uhm ….. the Country Party was initiated about 1916 because the NSW Macquarie Street Parliament failed to spend government funds on a fair per head basis in N NSW electorates and Earle Page (later Prime Minister) got upset and showed that country people are politically important.
    This political strength was repeated in the 90s and 21st century when Tony Windsor (Independent) overthrew the NOtional$ influence of John Anderson, then leader of the feral NOtional$, and won first the NSW electorate of Tamworth then the feral electorate of New England, which he held until his family ”insisted” that he retire for genuine health reasons.
    Subsequently we got stuck with Beetrooter ….. whose father was reported as NOT voting for him in subsequent elections.

  13. leefe

    “Whatever, it does seem as though the Coalition are prepared to sell out First Nations people by doing whatever it takes to disrupt the Referendum because … ”

    … because if there’s one thing about which the LNP are consistent, it’s bashing minorities and vulnerable people/groups.

  14. GL

    At the rate Putrid Dud is going I can see him becoming Mr 10% very quickly and dragging the rest of his offscourings of sociey, I meant party, down with him.

  15. Fred

    Remember back to the 2nd week of January – ref:

    On Sunday, Duddon released a letter demanding extra detail on the proposed voice. He accused Albanese of “treating people like mugs” for holding a referendum primarily on the principle of its establishment.

    On Tuesday, Duddon said Labor could “put [the voice] in legislation tomorrow” to demonstrate it was effective before holding a referendum.

    Not an example of a carefully considered logical approach to the issue.

  16. Spunty

    Dutton did support secret NACC hearings rather than the public hearings that Labor promised before the election.

  17. wam

    There was half a million people who voted no in 67.
    The driver of the baby boomers(46-64) is fear.
    The libs from pig-iron bob to dutton have stoked that fear-flaw to reason, at every opportunity and without a repeated case to disallow that fear, the 67 ‘no’ boomers, plus decendents, may disrupt the result.
    the voice legislation without Aboriginal input and bipartisan discussions is the maximum insult to Aboriginals.

  18. Carol Taylor

    I see the Voice issue as the same as the marriage equality issue, white straight people making decisions about people ‘who aren’t us’. The only people who should get a vote on the Voice are those who identify as indigenous, otherwise we should stop flapping our gums because it’s got nothing to do with white people, Voice or no Voice why do we whites deserve a vote at all.

  19. Terence Mills


    We have a system for changing our Constitution : the fact is that the constitution belongs to all of us no matter our heritage or our skin colour. There is only one Australian nation.

    Your comment is very racist, effectively arguing against any recognition of ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the First Peoples of Australia’.

    This is a referendum for all Australian people, if we see it as black v white it will fail.

  20. pierre wilkinson

    the most cogent reason for voting yes is to vote on the principle of looking at who opposes it and determining whether you could ever possibly agree with anything they propose

  21. totaram

    pierre wilkinson: hear hear! Very simple and very logical. Nothing much else to say. 🙂

  22. Benjamin

    The “NO” case, is just another divide and conqeur strategy, to make Labor look like failures.

    The LNP hate everything, that doesn’t agree with their fascist, racist ideology.

    The LNP should be renamed to, Donald Trumps Hitler Youth Party … “DTHYP”.

    This will condemn their party ’til the end of time … HOPEFULLY !!!

  23. B Sullivan

    It has been pointed out that a referendum is not required to grant a special voice to parliament to a select group of people. By all means voices should be granted to as many disadvantaged and unheard people as possible, not just to a small minority deemed to be entitled to this privilege on the basis of their birth rather than their needs.

    The referendum is required to alter the constitution in acknowledgement of First Nations people. We keep hearing or referring to contemporary indigenous people as first nations people, which is absurd because those people, whoever they were, are long dead and will only be heard through the popularly disparaged (in Australia) sciences of archaeology and paleontology. So how is the acknowledgement to people who are proven by modern genetic science to be essentially no different to everyone else on the planet going to be worded? Given that we don’t even know if they were the first people to invade Australia (we are all invaders or descendants of invaders) or just the earliest known, they are representatives of the same species as the rest of us. Their arrival signifies the arrival of all of us homo sapiens in Australia. We are all therefore First Nations people, even those who have never lived here.

    Why is an acknowledge of unknown prehistoric people required in the constitution at all? Acknowledgement for what? What did they do to warrant any acknowledgement at all? What value is an acknowledgement when all we know is that we are ignorant about the people we’re meant to be acknowledging? Why enshrine ignorance in the Constitution?

    Already the people of today who claim to be the first nations are promoting the myth that they were always here, and always will be (in spite of the impending mass extinction). Really? The exact same species of homo sapiens must have miraculously evolved twice, first in Africa and then in Australia, presumably from apes that came out of Africa to settle in Australia millions of years ago of which no evidence has yet been found.

    First Nations People is a divisive expression that implies that there are second, third and later nations people, colonists, immigrants and refugees for example, with second, third and fourth class rights as will be recognised in the Constitution if only by their omission and denial of an equal standing and voice to the parliament as the First Nations people. The point of the voice was, I thought, to address inequality, not to enshrine inequality in the constitution for the sake of a reconciliation based not on truth but on myths about people who were not the traditional owners of the land because land ownership is an artificial construct that did not exist in Australia prior to colonisation. Nor were they owned by the land. Land doesn’t own anything. That’s more artificiality trying to justify an unjustifiable claim. Nor were they the stewards of the land. Stewards look after the property of owners in their absence, and nobody owned the land. Nor were they custodians of the land. Like humans everywhere they took from the land what they could and the environmental destruction they caused was limited only by their technology and sparse numbers. Custodians of the land is just another delusional myth, which is a polite word for a lie. If they were custodians, they didn’t look after the megafauna very well because it isn’t here anymore, and we will never know how many species of fauna and flora above and below the ground became extinct due to traditional burning practices that were never intended to take care of the land but just make it easier for hunter gatherers to exploit the land. I don’t blame them for their lack of environmental awareness. As a science environmentalism is barely a century old (In 1996 John Howard graciously declared that it was no longer a fad). I do however object to the pretence that native people all over the world have an innate environmental awareness and connection to the lands they just happened to be born in. That is really dangerous ignorance.

    This referendum is like the one calling for a republic, when the desire for a republic was thwarted by the contentious issue of appointing a head of state. The Parliament should scrap the referendum to alter the constitution with myths and just grant the request for the voice by enacting a bill.

  24. Fred

    BS: What a load of … I haven’t the time to respond to the entire diatribe.

    Let’s take: “myths about people who were not the traditional owners of the land because land ownership is an artificial construct that did not exist in Australia prior to colonisation” Oh really! As far as I can tell, “land ownership” has existed as long as Homo Sapiens has roamed the planet. It is wired into our genes to be territorial. It doesn’t need to be documented for most “owners” to know or think they know where the boundaries are. Prior to documentation systems and surveyors, boundaries were typically defined by natural features such as rivers, boulders, etc.

    When the colonisers arrived with their advanced weapons of the day, diseases and so called “civilisation”, which was barbaric by modern standards, they also brought a relatively arbitrary approach to land “ownership” documentation. It wasn’t until the “Torrens Title” system was up and running, first introduced in 1858, that land ownership became largely non-contestable.

    While you might dismiss “land ownership” as an artificial construct, I’m sure those that have fought and died, in the various millennia, over what they thought they owned would differ. You can be sure the various 150+ First Nations mobs were/are well aware of the boundaries.

    I’m pretty sure you would have a different take if one day a bunch of thugs toting guns turned up in your suburb, muttered something about Terra Nullius, kicked everyone out of their houses and moved in. The dispossessed no longer own their land and should you or any of your neighbors complain/resist, they would be hunted down and killed.

  25. Terence Mills

    I heard* that Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has declined to be interviewed by Patricia Karvelas (ABC RN Breakfast) to promote and defend her arguments for the No campaign on the Voice, as she perceives that Karvelas may be biased and in favour of the Voice.

    There seems to me to be something fundamentally flawed in the senator’s attitude. Surely as a representative of the people and as somebody who holds a strong and committed view on a particular issue, she should welcome the opportunity to promote her view on national radio and, if the interviewer is seen as having a contrary view, then the opportunity for a vigorous discussion should exist.

    Is the senator only prepared to be interviewed by those supporting her view (e.g SKY) ? If so, it doesn’t say much for open discussion and the freedom of communication, does it ?

    *the program where this was mentioned was Between the Lines on ABC RN with Tom Switzer.

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