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Thursday 5 October 2023

The Voice : Consider the Consequences

With but one week to go, we are in the 'home stretch' of this extended Voice referndum. Given the 24/7 media we now know what 'saturation' advertising really means. So no doubt you are getting 'over it'. Despite this if you are still in doubt about your vote, let me add a few words to try to sway you.

Despite the fine words by many a YES advocate downplaying the impact of the Voice, never mind the details, you owe it to our indigenous citizens, it is the moral thing to do, nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a momentous decision that will shape the nation's future. The Voice referendum carries significant implications for the country.

I have already recorded my reasons for voting NO (see Why I am voting NO to the Voice ), however,  that was not an exhaustive list, and in this note want to focus on some of the consequences of a successful YES vote.

One of the commitments Anthony Albanese announced on election night was that he would "implement the Uluṟu statement in full". The authors of this statement have made it clear that the Voice is just the initial step in 3 stage process emblazoned on many a T-Shirt " Voice, Treaty, Truth".

While Albanese has tried repeatedly to divert discussion from Treaty or Truth, preferring to narrowly focus our attention on the 'Vibe', it is nonsensical to simply vote YES and ignore what follows. After all Albo has repeatedly stated that he wants to implement the Uluru statement in full. So, we cannot but conclude that the Treaty and Truth steps are the necessary consequences of a YES vote.

Given the government's refusal to even discuss these steps there is no detail or formal policy position to review. However, we can rely on the authors of the Uluru statement to gauge their thinking. There are some 100 pages of notes recording formal discussions between the authors that are available The full document is printed in full here: Uluru Statement from the Heart. They cover a wide range of topics and these in turn trigger a whole range of questions. Questions like; -
  • Questions about Treaty
    • How does a country create a treaty with a subset of its own citizens?
    • Who signs the treaty when government representatives are indigenous themselves?
    • Will there be reparations?
    • How much, who will pay and who will receive it?
  • Questions about Truth telling and its implications?
    • Have we not been telling the truth until now?
    • Who determines what is true?
    • Will the process build unity or cause more division ?
I will leave you to fill in the possible answers to these, but you should consider Voice, Treaty and Truth as a package. If the referendum passes Treaty and Truth are sure to follow. So if you don't like the possible implications of either of these additional processes and their consequences, you should vote NO.

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