Always Was, Always Will Be About Power

In 1983, as a naïve youth worker and concerned by what I had been reading since the early 1970s about what was happening with Aborigines in Alice Springs, I moved there to see what I could do to help. All told, I spent six years in Central Australia, leaving both depressed and convinced that the situation could never be fixed. One thing that bothered me then and still does is the constant calls for ‘self-determination’, not so much by Aborigines but by whitefella activists, some I later learned to be card-carrying members of the Communist Party and others who now hold senior positions in academia and the bureaucracy.

The contemporary definition of ‘Aboriginal self-determination’ is not about fitting in with the mainstream, of integrating or assimilating, but of splitting from mainstream Australia. Meanwhile, the rest of us get to pay for it whilst the rent seekers contribute very little to the community and Aboriginal lives, including those of children, continue to be ruined.

Assimilation is an anathema to progressives, who prefer ‘integration’ as the term de rigueur — but they are essentially the same thing. Aborigines need to learn to fit in, be a part of, what we have known to be Australian culture for the last 200-plus years and, indeed, most of them have done just that. (So why the special treatment, benefits and funding, you may well ask? That’s a topic for another conversation.)

None of this means Aborigines need to lose their culture – far from it. Unfortunately, much of what passes for Aboriginal ‘culture’ today is an invention of the last 50 years. Fortunately, much authentic Aboriginal culture of the past has vanished. The gruesome initiations, genital mutilation, inflicted cicatrices, burns, ritual spearings, sorcery and payback murders have by and large disappeared. Nevertheless, inter-tribe clan grievances often remain, as can be seen at some football indigenous matches, both on the field and amongst the spectators. Even though these encounters can still become violent, at least those conflicts are mostly played out with a football, not spears and clubs.

Meanwhile, the Aboriginal Industry is chock full of ill-informed urban myth-makers and illusionists, this caste of urgers and deluded pretenders giving rise to the patronising insistence on the uniqueness of ‘Aboriginal knowledge’ about everything from agriculture and fish farms (a lá Bruce Pascoe), water and fire management (a lá ‘cultural burning’) to Aboriginal ‘art’, ‘fashion’ and even ‘astronomy’, and not to mention Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley’s thoroughly overdone ‘Welcome to Country”. This is mostly snake oil fakery, an effort to convince contemporary Australians that the Aborigines of old were something they clearly were not. Worse, histories and observational accounts of early Aboriginal life and culture are vanishing from library shelves, replaced by the anti-white post-modern dogma of ‘invasion, colonisation and inter-generational trauma’. It is unusual today to find any history book about Aborigines in a secondary or tertiary institution that is more than fifteen years old. This is cultural censure and erasure happening right under our noses. We are all the poorer for it, black and white alike.

Meanwhile, the recent invention, exaggeration, distortion and misrepresentation of the alleged  ‘frontier wars’ serves as a made-to-order replacement ‘history’ intended to raise the status of Aboriginal people and degrade that of settlers. It is yet another bill of goods, a distorting sham, being hawked by a power-grabbing activist elite  in whose interest it is to falsify and distort our history. The goal, need it be said, is an attempt to paint a genocidal racism as Australia’s original sin.

I, too, would like more self-determination in my own life, too, but I am constrained by the laws of the land. Unfortunately, self-determination for many people who today identify as Aboriginal is taken to mean the normal rules — keeping children in school, eschewing clan and domestic violence — aren’t thought to fully apply. This is nowhere more apparent than on the troubled streets of Alice Springs. ‘Self-determination’ means ‘we’ll do what we like and you can pay for it’. Self-determination’ is about colonising and taking control, accepting all that whitefellas have to offer while offering nothing in return. Self-determination is about undermining whitefella institutions, judiciaries, organisations and bureaucracies. Self-determination is about enculturated white people who, on the strength of what may be a mere speck of indigenous DNA, now identify exclusively as Aboriginal, thereby giving themselves an economic and social leg-up. For the activist cadre it always was and always will be about money, power and control, all underscored by the notion that members of one race enjoy a preeminent ascendency over all other Australians.

More examples of ‘self-determination’ can be found in the ban on climbing Ayers Rock (Uluru), Mt Warning (Wollumbin), Mt Gillen, and many Grampians climbs, all for ill-defined or unexplained ‘cultural’ reasons’. After much outcry, consideration is now being given to re-opening the Mt Warning climb, but only for those who pay a fee and are escorted by indigenous guides. More rent-seeking, what a surprise! Australian place names are also rapidly being overwritten with (most likely made-up) Aboriginal names (eg: K’gari, once known as Fraser Island). All of this is about claims to ownership, to ‘sovereignty’. These changes should not be mistaken for deference to Aboriginal culture; it’s no more nor less than an insidious takeover. What we are experiencing here is cultural guerrilla warfare, the picking off one target after the other. Don’t believe it? Look no further that what has happened in New Zealand.

Self-determination is not about ‘closing the gap’, nor Aborigines ‘having a voice’ — all of that can be achieved without a change to the Constitution. Indeed, the $35+ billion currently spent on Aboriginal affairs and the 11-plus current Aboriginal members of parliament are more than enough to fulfil both aims. The Voice referendum is purely and simply about the drive towards Aboriginal sovereignty, which can only be achieved by changing the nation’s foundational document and charter.

Under the Albanese government, self-determination means the coming referendum, whose barely concealed intention is to divide Australia along lines of race. To achieve this ignoble end, the federal government is stacking the deck via its Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2022, which states

The Bill will also allow the Commonwealth to fund educational campaigns to promote voters’ understanding of referendums and the referendum proposal.

At the same time, in a joint media release issued on December 11, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus,  Special Minister of State Don Farrell, Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney, and Pat Dodson, special envoy for reconciliation and implementing the Uluru Statement:

To support community education, the Government proposes to temporarily lift a funding restriction in the Act, to enable funding of educational initiatives to counter misinformation.

The entire media release is worth reading. But what is hiding in plain sight, is the Albanese government’s intention to de-facto fund and promote the ‘Yes’ campaign whilst hamstringing ‘No’ advocates. Anything the No campaign says can and will be construed as “misinformation”. We have seen this already with the appalling attacks by Noel Pearson and Marcia Langton’s on Jacinta Price. Brace for much more of that — and wonder, too, if the bile and attempts at character assassination are a foretaste of an empowered Voice?

To make an informed self-determination at the referendum’s ballot box, ordinary Australians must have full access to both sides of the argument, pro and con, which the Albanese government has already legislated to ensure this won’t happen. Meanwhile, Australians are subjected to a daily and massive pro-Yes propaganda barrage by the taxpayer-funded ABC and SBS. If Australians prove slow on the uptake, allow ourselves to be persuaded by the government’s nakedly rigged ‘information’ offensive and vote Yes despite changes to the Constitution having yet to be revealed, it will be too late!

In what is clearly not a ‘conspiracy theory’, the entire game plan is laid out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), co-authored by Mick Dodson, brother of Labor’s Special Envoy for Reconciliation and the Implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart Senator Pat Dodson, and ratified by the Rudd Government in 2009. Do you see what they’re doing here?

In addition, the Australian Human Rights Commission has in 2021 called upon the federal Government to “develop a national program to implement UNDRIP and schedule it to the definition of human rights in the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth)”2 This, too, is a major part of what the ‘Voice’ is all about. It’s another path to the same goal.

Labor and their confident, conceited acolytes would have us believe that support for the Yes vote is a lay down misère. It is beholden upon the rest of us — those who care about Australia as a whole rather than advancing the narrow interests of one group only — to contest the creation of a separate and sovereign Aboriginal nation on the Australian continent, for that is where the ‘Voice’ will take us. Once embedded in the Constitution, such an internal ‘sovereign nation’ will be impossible to dismantle. Despite Albanese &Co’s efforts to promote one side of the debate and suppress the other, this is the threat and the message all Australians must hear.

Dr David Barton is a proud Celtic and Anglo-Saxon man with a long generational family history in Australia. He lives in Central Victoria.

1 https://ministers.ag.gov.au/media-centre/next-steps-towards-voice-referendum-01-12-2022

2 https://humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-10/implementing_undrip_-_australias_third_upr_2021.pdf


41 thoughts on “Always Was, Always Will Be About Power

  • Daffy says:

    For the average punter the outcome of this will be the same as same sex marriage: before the fact, it’s just a nice thing to do, to be ‘fair’. After the fact much ‘buyer’s regret” as the average punter sees her children trained in schools, libraries, the media, children’s books and films to regard sex as a malleable concept that will pave the way for child abuse and ultimately, the abuse of women no longer protected by the constraints that keep male depravity at bay. Thus even now women are being suppressed by the ‘trans’ game. More is to come I’m sure.

  • Aussietom says:

    Great writing!

    These cultural aquariums in the Outback are left there simply because it suits the Left to keep pointing to them and banging on about white actions that supposedly made them that way. That’s so they get “the Voice”.

  • NarelleG says:

    @David Burton – kudos – well presented.

    I kept changing what I was copying to the clipboard to post here as part of my comment.
    Each paragraph and you were covering yet another aspect.
    I will be sharing this far and wide I can assure you.

    Let’s see what I selected before I ceased selecting……
    “The Voice referendum is purely and simply about the drive towards Aboriginal sovereignty, which can only be achieved by changing the nation’s foundational document and charter.”

    Thanks for this great paper David.

  • geoff_brown1 says:

    Would a sovereign Aboriginal nation levy its own taxes, and fund its own welfare, heath, police and defence spending?

  • STD says:

    At last some clarity, thank you David- magnificent.

  • RobyH says:

    I have asked at least 30 people people 18-24 what is the. Voice. They always say a TV show. I say what is the Voice to Parliament. They say I don’t know. And they don’t really appear to care when told the answer.

    • lbloveday says:

      Just directed the same questions to a 28yo woman who has a Bachelor’s Degree from an Australian University, runs her own small business and voted for the first time at the last Federal election.
      Her answers were as from your sample. I did give her the answers, she did not ask and I’d bet she won’t be looking them up.

  • call it out says:

    Well said, Dr David.

  • Michael says:

    The Constitutionally enshrined voice is about creating an indigenous representative body and a supporting bureaucracy that would be a de facto government for a quasi-independent indigenous nation that would have a treaty-governed relationship with the Commonwealth of Australia.

  • john.singer says:

    There is not much new under the sun David – but they constantly invent new packaging.

    In 1920 The Communist Party of Australia was formed and one of their earliest projects was very similar that outlined by your article.
    Padreaic Gibson submitted a Doctoral Thesis in October 2020

    “Stop the war on Aborigines’: the Communist Party of Australia and the fight for Aboriginal rights 1920-1934” with this Abstract:

    “This thesis provides a detailed historical reconstruction of the thought and practice of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) regarding Aboriginal rights from 1920-1934. Based primarily upon archives of the CPA press and internal CPA records, it charts a development from a perspective that failed to challenge the racism of the Australian mainstream, and even embraced some of these racist ideas, towards one of solidarity with Aboriginal resistance to colonisation.

    Running through this study is a critical engagement with early Marxist thought about Indigenous peoples and settler-colonialism. The classical Marxist tradition insisted on the importance of anti-racist and anti-colonial struggles for the revolutionary working-class movement. However, influential texts in this tradition also contained racist ideas about supposedly “primitive” Indigenous people in Australia and this contributed to the delayed emergence of a pro-Aboriginal communist perspective.

    As the CPA expanded to become a mass party during the Depression, the experiences of the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association in NSW (forced underground in 1929) and continuing armed Aboriginal resistance in the Northern Territory, inspired theoretical innovation by Australian communists. In 1931, a CPA manifesto for Aboriginal rights drew on Marxist theory to profoundly articulate the ways that Australian capitalism was predicated on continuing Indigenous genocide, along with the importance of the Aboriginal struggle for the liberation of the entire working class. These new insights provided the basis for the first campaigns for Aboriginal rights by working-class organisations in Australian history. This campaigning stopped a police-planned massacre of Yolngu people in Arnhem Land 1933, challenged the imprisonment of Aboriginal warriors in Darwin in 1934 and laid the basis for a tradition of trade union solidarity that would play a crucial role in many campaigns for Aboriginal rights across Australia in the following decades.”

    It is interesting that the change in Government policy from Assimilation as advocated by Minister for Territories Paul Hasluck and directed toward self-determination and remote settlements as propounded by H C “Nugget” Coombs who was responsible for Gough Whitlam’s Aboriginal policies. Perhaps to put this in perspective the Referendum was in 1967, An aboriginal delegation went to China in 1968 and was welcomed by the top level of the Communist Party. Gough Whitlam’s much publicized visit to China was actually preceded by a visit to China by HC Coombs who had been appointed to head the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat.

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    “Once embedded in the Constitution, such an internal ‘sovereign nation’ will be impossible to dismantle. Despite Albanese &Co’s efforts to promote one side of the debate and suppress the other, this is the threat and the message all Australians must hear.”
    Well, few politicians in my experience want much attention paid to their opponents’ case. The fact is, however, that most Australians who identify as Aboriginal have mixed Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ancestry. Thus, were it not fo Captaiin Cook, the First Fleet and all of that, they simply would not be here.
    I spend a fair bit of time in rural Australia, where there is a fair bit of apartheid; and in my experience, it all comes from the Aboriginal side, and particularly from those Aborigines who would prefer that things remain as they are, and resent those who would prefer to get ahead as best they can and to get their kids properly educated.

  • thomas wallace says:

    What a wonderful article. ‘ Truth telling ‘ in its proper sense. How right Keats was to connect truth with beauty, Truth, when it has the authetic ring about it, is intellectually beautiful.
    The chess-like moves of the Albanese government to suppress ( legally! ) as ‘ misinformation ‘ views contrary to its own is another sinister example of the growing power of the State so unexpected in a country like Australia.
    To somewhat adapt one of Whitlam’s better-known quotes, if the Yes vote wins in the Voice referendum, nothing will save Australia.

  • Carnivorous says:

    A sovereign nation that produces nothing.
    That relies entirely on the contributions of another nation.
    A parasite nation and a nation of parasites

  • Necessityofchoice says:

    Hazluck v Coombs.
    In the end Hazluck wins because if money alone could graft a first world lifestyle onto a stone age culture it would have already happened.
    The alternative outcome will see current ill ratchet up into violence, Think SriLanka and the Tamils. This could get very ugly.

  • southern girl says:

    The percentage of the Australian population which identifies as aboriginal is 3.2%. This the official figure from the ABS. Much ado about very little and no reason to give this tiny section of the population inordinate powers over the rest of us.

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    This is all humbug for we are all covered under our constitution no matter our skin colour or creed. Since Melbourne supposedly has a Greek population about the size of Athens will the Greek immigrants or their children want a “voice” as well down the track? What of other immigrants putting a case up for their “voice” as well considering that our Aboriginals were also immigrants at one stage. All humbug.

  • lbloveday says:

    “…..Aborigines of old were something they clearly never were not.”

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      Rhymes with “just a typo, so what” – we all know what the writer means.

      • john.singer says:

        We surely do.

      • lbloveday says:

        It bemuses me how many people nowadays presume to speak for “we all” despite not knowing “all” let alone knowing what “all” know.
        Further, definitions of “typo” from some renowned dictionaries;
        Merriam Webster:
        typo noun
        : an error (as of spelling) in typed or typeset material
        Oxford Concise:
        typo n:
        a typographical error
        Cambridge Dictionary
        typo n:
        a small mistake in a text made when it was typed or printed
        Dictionary Britannica:
        typo (noun)
        : a mistake (such as a misspelled word) in typed or printed text

        • mrsfarley2001 says:

          It bemuses me how much time some of us have to nitpick. I’m guessing that I speak for a number of others here.

          • lbloveday says:

            I speak for myself only. I make the time in an attempt to make a tiny improvement in the poor average level of literacy and numeracy in contemporary Australians, remarked on in articles in Quadrant and other publications, even in The Australia, although they don’t publish my comments.
            But people who take pride in their work do appreciate having errors pointed out.
            A comment pointing out a rare error in a Janet Albrechtsen column was rejected, as such comments invariably are. So I emailed JA directly as I know she takes pride in her work and she replied:
            “A very apologetic and belated thanks for your email, Len. Ah, how I detest when things like that slip through …”.

            • lbloveday says:

              Piers Akerman is another who appreciates having errors pointed out despite The Daily Telegraph routinely rejected my comments. An example exchange:
              “Tsk, tsk Mr A, a rare slip-up:…..”
              “I’m checking the original. Well spotted. It will be interesting to see how many people pick up on this.

            • lbloveday says:

              And from the Editor, Quadrant Online:
              Thanks, LB


            • Rebekah Meredith says:

              December 22, 2022
              My thanks, too, lbloveday. Mistakes such as this not only risk obscuring the intended meaning, but also give opponents an opening to attack the entire piece. As much as I appreciate Quadrant, I notice that small but definite errors (repeated words, etc.) are not uncommon on its site. Perhaps you should be employed as a proofreader!

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Senator Price and Warren Mundine understand the motivation of the educated Aboriginal elites being encouraged and supported by the leftist rabble. What we are facing is ATSIC on steroids, and an enormous, redundant bureaucracy with unlimited jobs for the favoured, educated leeches consuming a disproportionate share of the billions of Federal funds supposedly intended for the needy people. Shame.

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      Yes, the easily-led leftist rabble who are given increasingly to insulting white people with filthy language & racist epithets in shopping centres and yelling spurious property claims all over the place.
      Fifty-odd years of activism have just done wonders for our society, haven’t they?

  • Watchman Williams says:

    This says it all, really.

  • Watchman Williams says:

    This says it all, really.

  • rosross says:

    We have a sovereign nation. It is called Australia. There can only be one nation in a country. That is the reality. This is simply a dangerous game.

  • Searcher says:

    “The Voice referendum is purely and simply about the drive towards Aboriginal sovereignty, which can only be achieved by changing the nation’s foundational document and charter.”

    Sad to say, I think it’s not purely about the drive towards Aboriginal sovereignty, unless one holds that aboriginal sovereignty includes Marxism-Leninism aka Klaus Schwab’s WEF Great Reset.

    The Wave Hill walk-off was organised by Melbourne Trades Unionists and Communists: “some I later learned to be card-carrying members of the Communist Party.” Their tradition persists today.

  • pmprociv says:

    Why do all those loudly demanding The Voice overlook a big, government-funded one that already exists, the Coalition of Peaks? [explore its rabbit warren here: https://coalitionofpeaks.org.au/ ].
    Its website states: “The Coalition of Peaks came together to change the way Australian governments work with our people. As community-controlled organisations, we work for and are accountable to our communities, not governments. We share a belief that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have a meaningful say on policies and programs that impact on us through formal partnerships with Australian governments at all levels. The National Agreement on Closing the Gap came into effect on 27 July 2020. The National Agreement sets out how governments and the Coalition of Peaks will work together to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

    And, right at the centre of its home page photo is a smiling Federal Minister, Linda Burney. Further:
    “The Coalition of Peaks are [sic] made up of over 80 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled peak and member organisations across Australia. The Coalition of Peak members have their own unique histories, needs and priorities, and share a commitment to legitimate community-controlled representation of our communities on matters that are important to our people. We came together as an act of self-determination to work together with Australian governments on Closing the Gap.”

    So, without mutilating our Constitution, we already have a voice, selected from 80 peak indigenous bodies (how many other, non-peak ones, are there, who were left out, and might resent having been overlooked?), with the key minister at its core. Do we have enough ATSI people to sit on all these bodies? Lots of jobs there: to fill the gaps, should we consider recruiting some with European ancestry? Maybe even import some First Nations people from overseas? It’s good to see we have such a robust growth industry in these straitened times . . .

  • joemiller252 says:

    David Barton is another sensible voice about The Voice. Part of his argument involves the re-naming of places with Aboriginal names (some perhaps of recent manufacture). I reckon there is a case for using Aboriginal names for geographical features, though not for infrastructure. With diligence, the original names could be found. They are often more euphonious than whitefella names like Dirty Creek, Bartle Frere, Stradbroke.

  • mattmoloney says:

    Thanks so much for this excellent article. Really appreciated.

  • lhackett01 says:

    Excellent article.

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