Voice to Parliament Creates Division

The creation of a ‘voice to Parliament’ will not – as the Prime Minister would have us believe – be a unifying moment.

It is an attempt to rewrite the past, manipulate the present and destroy the future.

I’ve already been contacted by elders on traditional lands who say they do not support the voice and had no say in the Uluru Statement.

This will be no different to the Stolen Generations apology.

Let me remind you of the reason for this apology – we were told it was necessary for us to move forward together as a united nation.
How has that worked out?

The Prime Minister’s contempt for these dissenting voices – including Aboriginal voices – is very clear. His contempt for those who rightly and justly request details of the proposed ‘voice’ such as its powers, functions and costs has also been very clear. He is not promoting unity at all.

The Prime Minister is deliberately stoking division, and stoking it on racial lines. As Senator Price noted in her landmark first speech in this chamber, many indigenous Australians have not been consulted about the ‘voice’ and many have no clue what it’s about. This is coming from an Aboriginal woman. The Prime Minister has dismissed her comments, saying they don’t stack up. No, it’s his comments which don’t stack up.

That’s because the Prime Minister is only listening to the Aboriginal industry whose gravy train relies on separating Australians by race and entrenching disadvantage. I have been saying this for decades. There is nothing in this proposal which addresses real disadvantage. There is nothing in this proposal that will end the violence, poverty and failure of service delivery in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

There is nothing in this proposal which indicates how much this entire exercise will cost Australian taxpayers.

However, I feel compelled to note the annual funding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in its final years was well north of a billion dollars.
It’s almost certain a referendum alone will cost in excess of $120 million.

A better solution would be to hold the referendum at the next election – what’s the rush?

There is much in this proposal which is open-ended, ill-defined and fraught with peril. The risk is very real that the sovereignty all Australians have over their land and country will be handed to a racial minority.
Why does this have to be in the Constitution?

What is the real ulterior motive?

This can only be about power, creating a nation within a nation. This can only be about taking power from whitefellas and giving it to blackfellas. This is Australia’s version of apartheid. Are they prepared for the compensation or reparations which will be demanded when the High Court decides “traditional ownership” means sovereign control?

Where will you stand given you acknowledge traditional ownership every day?

Do you acknowledge that I – like millions of Australians – legally own my land and worked very hard for it? Don’t I have rights to my land too? Can’t you acknowledge my connection to my land, and my love for my country?

I note Lidia Thorpe’s racist interjection in the past when she told me to go back where I came from.

She can rest assured that I did indeed go back where I came from – back to Queensland, where I was born and where I raised my children.

Where my parents and grandparents were born. There is nowhere else for me to go. Australia is my home. Australia is our home, indigenous and non-indigenous alike.

The Prime Minister says the voice won’t have a veto power, but he cannot speak for future governments. And what legislation before Parliament must be referred to the voice for consultation? Who will be eligible to stand for election to the voice, and who will be eligible to vote? We need a stronger definition of aboriginality.

From 2016 to 2021, the number of Australians identifying as indigenous rose by 92,000 or 26% while our overall population increase – including immigration – was only 8%.
This is what we call ‘jumping on the bandwagon’.

There is much in this proposal which reeks of the empty gestures and symbolism which make woke progressives feel good about themselves, but otherwise achieve nothing.

It also reeks of the disgusting, patronising attitudes that privileged bureaucrats and lawmakers routinely adopt towards indigenous Australians, proud members of a culture which has endured for tens of thousands of years.

Unlike both sides of this chamber I have listened to indigenous Australians and their elders.

Stop using them as fodder for your own purposes.


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