2025: A Year After the Voice Referendum Was Passed

The news broke early on Australia Day 2025, with the Waanyi, Gangalidda, Lardil, Yangkaal, Gangalidda and Kaiadilt peoples from the Gulf of Carpentaria jointly announcing they had become the first indigenous ‘First Nations’ to sign up with China’s Belt & Road (B&R) initiative. Aboriginal elders stood proudly on the steps of the Old Parliament House in Canberra, alongside China’s Ambassador Xiao Qianto, to announce the ground-breaking alliance.

The signing came exactly one year to the day since The Voice Referendum passed in a landslide. A rousing version of ‘You’re The Voice’ performed jointly by Yothu Yindi and John Farnham had underpinned a successful national advertising campaign that resulted in an 80+ per cent YES vote. Australia Day had been subsequently moved a day forward by the Albanese Government, away from the increasingly contentious Invasion Day, and to commemorate The Voice vote.

Old Parliament House was by then the temporary home for “The Voice”, bursting at the seams with an ever-expanding staff of academics, lawyers and bureaucrats co-ordinating an ongoing ‘truth-telling’ process and engaged in treaty consultation with the Australian Government for hundreds of First Nations.

Meanwhile, a much larger permanent home for The Voice was being constructed on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. The $A1.5 billion multi-storey edifice is being built on land resumed from the former Commonwealth Park at Regatta Point. This had necessitated the removal of the Captain James Cook Memorial and renaming of the nearby Captain Cook Fountain as the Eddie Mabo Jet.

The Aboriginal elders had made the long journey to Canberra, initially travelling by unsealed road to the remote Queensland towns of Doomadgee and Gununa, then by air after transferring to the twin-engine turboprop that flies the daily milk run between Mt. Isa and Cairns. The Gulf region they come from is sparsely settled, mainly flat and sandy forest country with poor soils and inhabited by vast herds of cattle. Employment opportunities are limited, with mainly white Australians employed in local service industries, including police, teaching, ambulance and nursing.

Dressed in a possum cloak, his face daubed with ochre, Waanyi elder Li Qiang (Larry) Lajagubangani announced the B&R initiative would bring an investment of $A175 million to assist with the mining and processing of diamond, zinc and rare earth minerals discovered on Native Title lands. Plans to exploit other mining and fracking opportunities in the Carpentaria Basin were also announced. This was to be expected as a recently successful High Court challenge by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers had expanded Native Title rights to include the commercial exploitation of mineral and fishing resources. Henceforth, access would be guaranteed to Chinese prawning fleets to harvest from the shallow Gulf coastal waters that bordered the Wellesley Islands and the Gulf mainland held in Exclusive Possession by the First Nations.

Representing the Waanyi Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (Waanyi NTAC), which holds native title on land and waters covering an area of 17,000 square kilometres north of Mt Isa in Queensland, Mr Lajagubangani stated that the new B&R investment represented a new era of hope for his people after the depredations of the settler invasion.

“Generally speaking, you can’t generate power from modern wind farms or build an electric vehicle without rare earths,” he said, while also revealing plans for a new fracking and leaching plant on the Albert River.

“Our strategy is to facilitate economic self-sufficiency, while enabling our people to live on traditional lands,” said Mr Lajagubangani, who traces his ancestry to a “full blood” Aboriginal woman named Tracie Lajagubangani, born in the early years of European settlement in the region, and her husband Fah Jong, a Chinese immigrant. The family is one of a number of quite prominent families in north-west Queensland descended from Aboriginal women who married Chinese men in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

On its own web site, the Waanyi NTAC states that “The Waanyi people were hunters and gatherers. Men hunted while the women and children gathered edible plants.” Much of the land claimed by the Waanyi was previously occupied by the Nguburindi and Injilarija peoples. Large numbers of Waanyi people moved eastwards from the 1890s in search of European commodities such as tobacco, a secure food supply and to seek protection from the violence which characterized the period.

“I look forward to meeting with my counterpart, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, to discuss our plans for construction of a joint naval and port facility with our Chinese BRI partners in the Gulf of Carpentaria,” added Mr Lajagubangani.

“As one nation to another, we expect a productive and close working relationship with the Australian government.”

Walter Waverley is the pseudonym of a Sydney journalist and businessman who prefers anonymity to grief from woke neighbours, friends and clients. This article includes fiction and some fact

14 thoughts on “2025: A Year After the Voice Referendum Was Passed

  • john.singer says:

    Let us hope this remains a fantasy.

  • rosross says:

    Some valid points but perhaps a bit too much emphasis on anti-China fearmongering. There are many things which can come from such a Voice and China would be the least of our worries.

  • March says:

    Wonderful “Walter”!

    And would Jaky Troy be the new Ambassador to Australia, or does that role below to Uncle Bruce Pascoe?

  • Solo says:

    The first couple of pargraphs I think will be prophetic, unfortunately.

    And on the sidelines the Libs will be barracking for it too.

  • Dallas Beaufort says:

    Agreed rosross, the bogie man is not China but the left’s Labor agenda here, where local councils want to be governments, then states. division and fragmentation. power at all costs, Walter needs to look closer to home,

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    A FNQ er born and bred, one wonders where and how you cobbled all those communities together for yr pretty much spot on. Our cattle property up there, a small holding of but 2000 square miles, turned off 650 head yearly about the size of Almaden goats except for horn spread, about three foot six across, three million bandicoots, untold Taipans, wallabies that blackened the sky and a proliferation of long nosed short legged swamp dogs that had a taste for Pommy station cooks as far as breakfast ‘Barra were concerned, and now owned by our indigene brethren. I will be 85 in that year, God willing of course, so it will be interesting to say the least.

  • ianl says:

    >” … an investment of $A175 million to assist with the mining and processing of diamond, zinc and rare earth minerals discovered on Native Title lands”

    This is not a comment on the satire in the essay, but rather highlighting the lack of knowledge typical of city populations.

    Sophisticated geological exploration necessarily precedes development of deposits and then continues with the various mining processes. AUD$175m is simply insufficient to fit the ongoing scope of the essay.

  • NarelleG says:

    @Dallas Beaufort –
    >>>>”the bogie man is not China but the left’s Labor agenda here, where local councils want to be governments, then states. division and fragmentation. power at all costs, Walter needs to look closer to home,'<<<<

    Walter is looking close to home.
    The very reason he had such a strong basis to write the article.
    Cleverly written.

    I belong to two research groups on aborigine history and current affairs.

    Way before Labor – I said ages ago when everyone was scared of the red flag 12 months ago – we were being taken over by the enemy within.

    Walter is also correct – parts of Australia will go to the red flag people.

    Personally I would rather them than what is emerging here at local council level.
    Very cleverly written – I note the inclusion of 'Waanyi .'
    You have certainly done your homework.

    Great work!!

  • loweprof says:

    The Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

  • john.singer says:

    @Dallas Beaufort And they are using 1984 as their playbook.

  • exuberan says:

    One wonders if the same sensitivity towards sacred sites near or at the new mine development will apply as elsewhere in Australia. Wont get much for $175m either, that ammount might cover the cost of the FEED study. Somewhere between $3b-$4b will be needed for the full construction and these big developments never come in under budget and on time. Then there is the question of Royalties. The new Port for outloading the mined product will of course be built and run by the Chinese with a new International airport nearby. This airport will allow the Chinese to conveniently fly in to see how their money is being spent and for the eventual FIFO Chinese workforce with their own security.

  • Daffy says:

    I would have written a dark dystopian story along the lines of Brave New World meets Reservoir Dogs. Directed by Tarantino, of course, my hero.

  • whitelaughter says:

    Alas, there’s nothing here that is unlikely.

  • pmprociv says:

    You seem to have a pretty flash crystal ball, Walter. The northern bantustans spawned by the coming Voice will certainly have the opportunity to sign tempting contracts with foreign governments. But it’s disappointing to find that the Waanyi people think they were only hunters and gatherers; someone should slip them a copy of “Dark Emu”.

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