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Why I am voting ‘Yes’


I shall subsequently return to 8.6 in a moment, but there are some other matters I wish to initially address.

The excerpt (below) from the Sydney Morning Herald journalist David Crowe is putting politics in its place about #TheVoice, particularly Mr Dutton’s ongoing Trump like blast of misinformation.

#TheVoice is not about politics. #TheVoice is about a simple constitutional change, and there is enough judicial and legal opinion to put to bed the argument about legal challenges. As the retired High Court of Australia (‘HCA’) justice Kenneth Hayne KC AC (‘Justice Hayne’) said in June of this year, the words of #TheVoice are spare and lacking in complexity. 12 retired Supreme Court judges from each Australian state have publicly endorsed #TheVoice along with the retired former HCA chief justice Robert French AC (‘French CJ’). The Victorian and New South Wales Bar Associations support #TheVoice, as does the Law Council of Australia. As Justice Hayne also stated, even if there was a future legal challenge to a Commonwealth law it would be only on the grounds of judicial review because #TheVoice representations were excluded, and the HCA would simply say go back and receive the representations. Parliament and the Executive are not bound by the representations. As French CJ also said a few months ago, common sense will prevail.

#TheVoice addresses two issues in the Commonwealth Constitution (‘CC’). The first issue is the recognition of First Nations as the first people of Australia. The second issue is the provision for a First Nations body to make representations to the Parliament and the Executive. #TheVoice does not have any powers of veto over Parliament or the Executive. To quell some of the disinformation on social media, you will not lose your backyards, and First Nations will not hold superior constitutional rights over non-First Nations. S.51xxvi of the CC allows Parliament to make beneficial and detrimental laws specifically about First Nations, therefore it is only fair they have CC recognition of making mere representations about those laws. 1967 did not cure the race problem in the CC regarding s.51xxvi of the CC. 1967 was an amendment to give Parliament legislative supremacy over the state parliaments regarding First Nations, particularly as Queensland and Western Australia would not close their First Nations reservations. First Nations were not even recognised in the Census at that time. However, 1967 did not provide for the necessary CC provision of at the very least representations being received from First Nations when the CC still permitted a special racial legislative power to make laws only about them.

The necessity for such a simple amendment to include #TheVoice in the CC is because federal politicians of all brands have not over the past 56 years either consulted with First Nations properly about the special laws they have made for them, nor have they properly received representations from First Nations about those special laws. This failure also extends to the execution of policy by the Executive (of any political brand).

Now I shall return to 8.6. The federal legislative and administrative history regarding the treatment of First Nations in Australia has still been unsatisfactory since 1967. That is why we have an average life expectancy for non-First Nations exceeding the life expectancy of First Nations in the case of males by 8.6 years and females by 7.8 years. #TheVoice is a positive step forward to cure the CC and socioeconomic disadvantages First Nations face. A legislative voice alone can be easily torn down by the vicissitudes of either opportunistic or knee jerk politics. The former Howard Government Indigenous Affairs Minister Amanda Vanstone has admitted it was a mistake to have abolished the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (‘ATSIC’) in its entirety (source The Australian). Notwithstanding any internal administrative problems with ATSIC, it was delivering regional solutions for First Nations disadvantage. The tearing down of ATSIC sufficiently illustrates the inadequacy of there being only a legislative voice.

When I read the data about life expectancy alone, I know there is a federal legislative and administrative problem.

#TheVoice is a positive step forward for Australia, and #TheVoice unifies us a nation. #TheVoice is a small step for non-First Nations Australians, but it is a major step for the hearts of First Nations.

8.6. That is why I am voting #Yes.




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  1. Some Village Hampden

    Why do we not just come out and say it: If You Are Voting No You Are A Racist!

  2. Anthony Judge

    Why am I voting “neither”? I find it extremely problematic how the coverage of the No campaign on ABC is probably 5% of that of the Yes campaign. Bulldozing? Why? But I mistrust the arguments of the No campaign. I find it very suspicious, as I have said before, that so little is said about who will form part of the Voice making the representations to Parliament (how do they select themselves?), and through what mechanism they will be heard. There is absolutely no reference to any “Ear” or its willingness or capacity to listen, if it is not already stone deaf. More concretely, why not bypass the waffle and give people a chance to see how a mock-Parliament would work ? That is a well-tried formula under many other circumstances.

  3. Andrew Smith

    What should be an unremarkable collective box click, like the ’67 referendum under a LNP govt. with overwhelming support for Aboriginal citizenship, has been absolutely politicised by ageing white elites of the same side, but nowadays with an ethical, moral and empathy bypass, unlike their predecessors.

    An appalling indictment of LNP (& too many Labor) white elites, racist RW media cartel, influence of both Koch authoritarian socioeconomics and white Australia admirer white nativist John Tanton’s eugenics masquerading as faux environmentalism via calls for more border security on refugees, immigration restrictions and population control; while Australian society moves on our elites and above median age voters have been used to oppose any progress.

    One does not follow mainstream media (catering to above median age voter on a limited range of ‘wedge’ issues), but its promotion of the Voice seems grudging, giving some proponents a column, while almost astroturfing the ‘No’ vote by using longstanding and high profile (attention seeking) indigenous politicians, allowing ex. Dutton, most elites against the Voice to keep their distance and avoid accusations of racism, like those who will vote ‘No’ for malign reasons.

  4. Clakka

    After years of reading, close associations, and common sense. Yep, and YES.

    Albeit, since the 2019 stuff-up by Shorten, Albo’s adopted low profile, wearing moccasins approach, is fast wearing thin, as it flings the double doors open for every Tom, Dick and Harry, Suzy, Margaret and Mary, to breeze in amid shrieks of shock, horror, with wheel-barrow loads of misdirections, outright lies and conspiracy theories. In the face of this, and the outrage of Morrison & Co fresh in their minds, the uninformed and nervous will be inclined to mistrust.

    Like the details of AUKUS, leaving the details of later legislation re The Voice to trust and the imagination is just a nightmare too much for many, and a goldmine for the sponsored fear mongers.

  5. ajogrady

    If the Voice vote fails the world will have no doubts that Australia is a pathetic backward country inhabited by petty racist bogans, bigoted redneck zealots, cowardly xenophobic ratbags and irrational fear mongering far right boofheads.
    Although the the lack of any detail of the AUKUS deal has cast a suspicious cloud over the Voice and it getting over the line much like the Albanese Labor government at the next election.

  6. Henry Rodrigues

    Only in Australia could there be a ‘debate’ on whether to treat the original owners, inhabitants carers of this great land, as equal citizens. Only in Australia could the smug ‘entitled’ bunyip aristocracy who have prospered on stolen land created so-called dynasties, imply that their livelihoods are under threat, and the filthy political hacks back them up, including paid for hire indigenius activists who are on the payroll of these political parties, and a great majority of the media who always seems to confer unto themselves the right to oppose anything that is not white and ‘right’.

    It will be with great pleasure and joy and satisfaction that I will vote YES.

  7. Martin

    I agree with AJ. The media’s been doing a blast-out for the YES camp for months. The bulk of the 5% of coverage given by msm to the NO camp has been negative. The main argument that ‘It’s a little change to the Constitution’ is a red herring.
    The main goal is Treaty, and so it should be.

    Aborigines are still sovereign because they never made a Treaty with the Brits who occupied this country.
    Those Brit occupiers are long-dead but their heirs and subsequent waves of immigrants live on.

    As I see it, if YES wins, a few Aboriginal reps will negotiate a ‘Treaty’ with either Labor or LNP.
    But they will be negotiating as a corporation, not as sovereigns. A political corporation (LNP – LABOR) negotiating with an Aboriginal corporation (THE VOICE) is what? Business. If they want to cede their sovereignty before negotiating then do it with eyes open. Anyone naive enough to they think Labor or LNP will negotiate in good faith?

    I hope NO wins and that they then go on to negotiate a Treaty as sovereign people.
    Rather than change the Constitution they might better spend their energies on a Bill of Rights for all people.
    Maybe a Bill of Rights should be the first thing to address, as that is universal.

  8. Caz

    if No wins Martin and Anthony there will be no Treaty, no Truth Telling ( Makarata) no legislation, no change for the better, no hope and no improvement in the lives of Aboriginal people. There will be massive regret , ( our Brexit) loss of Australia’s reputation, no opportunity for us to judge the human rights of China or others, and disunity among our own citizens. Not a very bright future.

  9. Clakka

    Martin, I hear you and understand.

    The acknowledgement in the Constitution of the original inhabitation by First Nations Folk is excellent and long overdue. The Voice is also excellent in that it cannot be removed (like any other Constitutional provision) without a further referendum. Albeit, it is inevitable that in the foreseeable future, the entire Constitution will be rightly up for recasting as we inevitably become a republic, and rid ourselves of the olde worlde and irrelevant ownership, judicial, political and other interference issues of the Crown.

    It is important to note that the notion of sovereignty and ceding is an extremely complex and vexed issue across the world, and has over a millennium been the subject of much philosophical and legalistic to-ing and fro-ing to this day and remains a shemozzle. Imagine, in terms of sovereignty, seeking to resolve all the history and issues surrounding the First Nation’s tribal groups, and Nations, as well as the Oz states and federation, as well as for the time being, the Crown. Accordingly, this path would likely be strewn with many minefields and may go on for very many decades if not more. A very expensive and discombobulating nightmare.

    Alternatively, treaties can be undertaken by any parties demonstrably willing to negotiate and enter into them. In that regard one can admire how Oz First Nations folk have over 60 millennia arranged their territories and rules. And what is more, there are treaties extant and underway between First Nations folk and Oz states as we speak. This demonstrates that with the will of the people, treaties can be had.

    In the Uluru Statement from the Heart, that wonderful term ‘Makaratta’ came into being for many, and it is excellent to see that the ‘Makarrata’ process is already underway via the Makarrata Commission reviewing and undertaking processes for treaty-making and truth-telling. It goes to the requests of First Nations folk in the Uluru Statement, and the undertakings of Albanese & Labor to implement it in its entirety.

    With the ‘NO’ campaign bombarding us with misdirections, deceptions and outright lies and diversions regarding the Voice alone, it is no small irony that they suggest only having a Voice in an easily changed or voidable legislated form, as opposed to the stronger embedment in the Constitution where it cannot be changed without going to the people via another referendum. It is obvious that should they (LNP et al) come to power, they would want it to be voidable. Whilst there have been decades of work and consultations and papers (eg Langston / Calma Report) undertaken, the ‘NO’ campaigners refuse to acknowledge / entertain it.

    In view of the behaviour and acts and omissions of the ‘NO’ campaigners, it’s no wonder Albanese, at this stage has elected to keep the Constitutional referendum stage simple (it is simple), and declined to elaborate on the provocative ‘give us detail’ requests of the ‘NO’ campaigners. The details (for later legislation) already exist and are available to all should they care to seek them – the ‘NO’ campaigners know his, but are seeking all / any complexities from which to derive spurious ‘gotcha’ diversions and misdirections by which to bamboozle the wider, less inclined to be informed public.

    As, when and if a ‘YES’ vote to the referendum is carried, the concomitant legislative process ensues, with the entire parliament involved in its passing to law, just as the Uluru Statement envisages. And we should not forget that Albanese & Labor committed to implement it in its entirety.

    As for you notion of a Bill of Rights, it has been mooted and discussed ad nauseam and foregone. That’s not to say that if we become a republic with an entirely recast Constitution, a carefully cast Bill of Rights could not be incorporated. Nevertheless, at this time, the example of America’s Bill of Rights has, in varying notions of perfection, brought craziness, chaos and ambiguity to the political and legal process as well as civill society, particularly in its recent post-truth environment. We are perhaps not ready for it yet.

  10. Anthony Judge

    Clakka, I agree completely with your arguments, but for one small thing. It is wonderful to have verbal recognition. It is hugely symbolic and appropriate. The small thing is the manner in which such words end up as mere tokens for the gullible — words to whom the cynical can point as having “done the right thing”. So the words come late in the day — long after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, itself a wonderful token of what ought to be (but is so obviously not). I am currently impressed by the range of computer apps offered to me for FREE — until I give my email details and am exposed to the small print which may well require my credit card so that I can be billed after the “free trial of 7 days”. Is FREE then to be compared with the FREEDOM to which all aspire — only to be disappointed by the small print? So if a symbol works for you, then go for it. What will you offer the deeply disappointed after they have been accorded a hollow token of that to which they aspire? Will they be satisfied by a Voice which has effectively been white-anted in advance?

  11. wam

    I cannot understand how anyone could deny the last 235 years of laws affecting Aboriginal people were created and enacted by non-Aboriginal people without Aboriginal input. Almost all being failures.
    The voice gives Aboriginal people the ability to produce and submit an Aboriginal view of the government’s proposal.
    Consequently there are no facts to allow a non-Aboriginal Australian to not vote yes.
    Leaving no choice for the no case, but to make it political then 30%+ wont read the yes vote.
    They can then hope the side elements like the no case is equal, UN will take our backyards, Australia day will disappear may pick up enough in tassie or SA to join the racist states.
    But I see the no so poorly put that it is possible for both qld and wa to vote yes.

  12. B Sullivan

    What concerns me, is that this issue is about deliberately racialising Australia into groups falsely perceived to be of different races. The science of genetics informs us that everyone of us humans alive today, no matter where or when we came from and no matter what physical characteristics we bear, belong to the same single common human race. We are all so closely related genetically that discrimination against another person on the basis of race amounts to senseless self loathing. We need to recognise that all the hatred promoted by racialists is in the name of a futile absurdity. We should be spreading the scientific knowledge needed to counter the misinformation used to promote racialism instead of confusing racialism with racism. Racialism is a false justification for discrimination promoted by the false notion that different races of humans exist.

    If the constitution is amended to promote difference between people it serves the cause of the racialist. It is undeniably devisive. If implemented, then in the future it will look as embarrassing as the US Declaration of Independence that proclaims that all men have the inalienable right to liberty. As this inalienable right did not apply to slaves, the contradiction served to encourage the belief that slaves were not men like everybody else. Perhaps that explains a lot about the subsequent history of the US. Maybe we should, after all, change the constitution to leave a permanent message to posterity about how today’s Australians were so perversely obsessed with turning a repairable social injustice issue into a socially damaging racialist issue. All whilst permitting our government to avoid taking responsibility for not adequately addressing the simpler issue of entrenched social injustice that is imposed upon all of the poor. Eliminate poverty and there will still be a gap between the ultra rich and everyone else but it won’t matter socially so much. ( Of course, this solution isn’t likely to be pursued by those of the Christian persuasion whose god informs them that the poor will always be with us. They cannot argue with the will of their god.)

    Why does the constitution have to be changed to give Aboriginals a voice? The voice could be implemented by parliament legislating for it. Turnbull refused to legislate, so did Morrison, and now Albanese has joined them in insisting that he will not legislate the voice into existence. Vive Le difference. I have more respect for Albanese’s dog than I have for him. Why is he behaving this way? I would rather have a voice to parliament that we can all hear and apply critical thought to, than private secretive lobby groups whose voices go unheard and unexamined by the public. Voices to parliament are I think a very good idea. Once he became PM there was nothing in the way of Albanese to get this voice legislated and operating. But no, he insists on a referendum and constitutional change or else no voice. What an utter scumbag he has turned out to be. The course he has taken us will set a precedent that all future voices to parliament will require a referendum. That will please the private lobbyists who won’t have to compete with the arguments posed by the voices nor reveal what they are in fact petitioning behind closed doors.

    I am going to write on my ballot paper, yes to the voice, no to changing the constitution. It will be ruled informal. In Tasmanian, when asked to choose in a referendum between three dam locations that would all destroy the natural flow and habitat of the Franklin River, eighty percent of the people voted informally for no dams at all. So despite there being no option to save it on the ballot paper, the Franklin was nevertheless saved.

  13. Terence Mills

    B Sullivan

    The Voice will be legislated through our parliament and will inevitably be subject to change from time to time as circumstances change. The Constitutional recognition of the Voice is merely there to anchor it in our history and give it permanency.

    But I do agree with you, we are one race and one nation and we all need to keep this in mind as things progress.

    Some very interesting and well presented arguments, guys.

  14. Heyley

    B Sullivan, you are correct. Albo joins the conga line of all previous PMs as Lead Hypocrite. 30 years ago Hawke was making a big noise about Treaty. For 30 years crickets. Now a referendum is going to fix things. Change of heart all round apparently. Believe that and I have a bridge to sell the Yes campaigners. The mining companies, Qantas, Banks etc joined in the Yes campaign because? Because they like to avoid paying their fair share of tax. What are the chances they are actually out to help anyone other than themselves with their declaration of support, esp First Nation people. When one of the mining companies dynamited a cave with cultural heritage in WA, that told me all I needed to know about their attitude to aboriginals. And the public is supposed to believe in 2023 a new mindset settled like fairy dust into the skulls of vested interests overnight? Call it the Voice or the Great Blindsiding, I see no intention by politicians to fix the problem nor listen.

  15. Alasdair

    The Voice won’t magically make anything better, but it’s a good start as it provides a foundation for future legislation and cooperation. We can’t undo a terrible 235 years of dispossession, but we can begin to make things better from now on. I also think that the idea of the Voice preferring one “race” over others is a furphy; there are no races here (humans beings don’t have them); what we do have is the original indigenous inhabitants of this island continent deserving more attention from the colonists and settlers. Looking through the Referendum booklet, almost all of the No points are self-refuting; indeed, as was pointed out in a small letter in The Age on Saturday: both sides are very compelling cases for the Yes vote. At any rate, from a risk management perspective and for our future as a united peoples, a Yes outcome is far better than No.

  16. Clakka

    To dwell in the issue of ‘race’ in this day and age is kinda weird, as it’s been long proven that it has no real meaning when it comes to differentiation of human aptitude, intelligence or potential. It harks to olde worlde unscientific biases of convenience. And when I say ‘convenience’, I mean conveniences adopted by those that would seek to find an excuse to steal from or exploit ‘others’, and by which to divisively elevate themselves.

    And the term ‘racist’ or ‘racialist’ is a relatively modern term that seeks to describe those that despite scientific evidence, and other matters, seek to dwell in differentiation via ‘race’. Aborigine or indigenous does not connote ‘race’, it just means those that were originally here (in a region), yet those descriptors were so often attached as a term by invaders or late coming occupants as terms of differentiation and usually belittlement. So it is now far more appropriate for the term to be ‘First Nations’ folk.

    This entire business is not a matter of ‘race’, it’s a matter of equity. For over 200 years, despite the instructions of the Crown, the invaders / late occupiers of Oz through the military, the police, the judiciary, the governments, the parliaments and the Constitution, differentiated against the First Nations folk, and rather than account for them and their existence extant with equity, they have sought to impose upon them with force and the application of penury and denial; systems, values and actions abhorrent to the Oz First Nations existence. And this has been the case to a greater or lesser degree right through to today. It’s no small irony, that those invaders / late occupiers, if they don’t like it here, can go back from whence they came, but the First Nations folk here, are already from whence they came.

    So, as a matter of equity, it’s great to mandate as a first step, to acknowledge First Nations folk, and embed a process of First Nations representative’s advisory in the Constitution, so that their view of equity can be expressed and heard. And then that process of ‘Voice’ can then be legislated by the usual processes of ongoing parliaments and made law. This is what First Nations folk have asked for in the Uluru Statement, and their process wonderfully named ‘Makarrata’, and it’s what Albanese has undertaken to implement in its entirety.

    It’s not a matter of ‘race’ or ‘racism’ or ‘racialism’, it’s a matter of obtaining equity. The only ones that have been mischievously and divisively introducing and pursuing notions of ‘race’, ‘racism’ or ‘racialism’ in this business are the ‘NO’ campaigners. And it is very sad to note of late that some First Nations folk are feeling set upon by that mischief.

  17. leefe


    Tell you what – once we have overcome the massive ongoing disadvantage to a specific group of people thanks to the actions of those who did (and still do) think there was such a thing as race, we’ll discuss the reality and applicability of race as a concept.
    Until then, how about we put all our efforts into fixing the actual, real-life, non-theoretical, problems that those Australians classed by such wrongthinkers as being of a certain (inferior) race still experience?

  18. wam

    Is there a difference between sticking your head in the sand or sticking it up your arse?
    There are myriad examples of Aboriginal people being profiled and discriminated against by Australian citizens from all over the world. Indeed the first thing new Australians learn is our unique for of racism towards Aboriginal people.These are openly using the Aboriginal people as a race and attributing characteristics to them that do not apply to other races. The latest in our paper suggest senator Marlandirri should become redundant if we have the voice Think on that form of racism??(75% of our representatives are Aboriginal women) Indeed I voted yes in 1968 because I had friends whose parents had fled europe after the war and were quickly made citizens of Australia but my Aboriginal friends and my Aboriginal students were not. Now, by another yes vote, we can address the 245 years of laws, that affect only Aboriginal people, no longer being enacted without input from Aboriginal people. Those who are considering voting no or abstaining should investigate their motives.
    last night showed my gutless position when I was talking with 2 Aboriginal ex-students at a school function. One is now a PhD but at year 8 she was profiled into the typing stream. A politician sat down to talk to my darling and me and put her back to the Aboriginals. This was nor a deliberate act just the fact that for white people, except for sport, Aboriginal people are invisible. I did nothing.

  19. John Woodrow

    B, Sullivan

    You say you want a voice we can hear and apply critical thought rather than private secretive lobby groups whose voices go unheard by the public. Where did you get that idea? Just make it up? You think all Albanese had to do was get it legislated and operating. No.The purpose of the constitutional change was to get reference to First Nations in the Constitution. Hence the referendum, not just legislation. You need to do some homework. Albanese is not a scumbag. And those first colonists who murdered so many in early days, not racists?

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