So Much Talk, So Very Few Answers

Caught my eye in the paper, albeit lying prone in a hospital bed recovering (hopefully) from an urgent operation. Read that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wishes to “build a relationship” with Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. According to the PM, Australia and Brazil have “very common views” on the “need to act” on climate change. It’s safe to guess, only a little while ago, when Jair Bolsonaro was president, that such commonality did not exist. Apparently, Brazil’s views have turned on a dime. Using the same modus operandi, Australia’s not so much. From one net-zero PM to another.

I can’t recall. When did Australian governments move from representing Australia in international forums, and putting a position on behalf of Australia, to taking on the mantle of being Australia? Of being able to distil the view that Australia holds. Am I being pedantic? Don’t think so.

When new governments are elected it is standard form for the leader to say that the government will govern for everyone, whichever party they voted for and supported. It’s an important thing to say, however clichéd it has become. The pluralistic essence of democracy hangs on having some level of belief that governments won’t act prejudicially against those who failed to support them. Pertinently, that’s one reason among a number as to why the Voice is a bad idea.

The Voice is a recipe for one small group to systematically receive material benefits, not just unavailable to everyone else but funded by everyone else. Parliamentary representatives are supposed to act in the interests of their constituents as a whole and, in fact, in the interest of the whole nation or state, as is the case. True, as Edmund Burke explained, they should apply their own judgement. Nevertheless, that judgement should not be informed by a penchant for discriminately dispensing favours and penalties among the populace. The very raison d’etre of Voice representatives.  

So called, Voice representatives (so called, incidentally, because there will be no electoral roll and no voting) will act only in the interests of a tiny ill-defined minority. Ill-defined? Sure is. Is it on behalf of all 812,728 people who identified as indigenous in the last census in 2021? Or a genuine subset, whatever ‘genuine’ means; and determined how? Or on behalf of the disadvantaged cohort of this subset? Or on behalf of the disadvantaged cohort in remote communities? To reiterate, there will be no electoral roll to find out. It’s a complete crock. I doubt there is any model in the history of democratic government to compare it with or to judge it against. It’s a senseless feel-good vibe for those soft in the head.

Back to the PM and his conviction about “Australia” having a supportive view of his destructive climate policies. Rounded up, the ALP and Greens scored 45 percent of first preferences in last year’s federal election. The Coalition scored 36 percent. The rest, nearly 20 percent, was shared between, on my count, twenty other parties / entities, holding wildly disparate views. Australia doesn’t have one single view. Albanese and his Labor mates might have a collective view. That view might be on the same road on which the Greens are travelling, though they are far away to the left, deep in the forests with the pixies.  He’s entitled to contextualize his view as that of the Australian government. Not that of Australia or the Australian people.

I wonder how the Voice would characterise its views, if by some mischance it were to be established. This is the view of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, all first nations peoples, the Voice intones: on cashless debit cards, on rules governing mining developments, on curbing domestic abuse, on pensions, on interest rates, on deficit spending, on policing Aboriginal youth running amok in Alice Springs among other towns, on subsidies for green hydrogen; and so on. Really? It would be patently ridiculous.

Much more ridiculous than Albanese purporting to give Australia’s view.  At least he can point to the 33 percent who gave Labor their first preference, and to the second preferences which took him over the line. What would the Voice point to? Elected by no one. Its view would be the disconnected view of the usual elite suspects in the Aboriginal Industry. Worthless. Time wasting. Expensive. Duplicative. Yet I hear tell that some people politically to the right of centre support it.  Hard to believe. Lefties, greenies and assorted milquetoasts, OK. They are intrinsically deluded. But people who are supposed to have sense?

25 thoughts on “So Much Talk, So Very Few Answers


    The fact that the Albanese government is not funding equal time, and resources on promoting either voting choice leads to the conclusion that the referendum on The Voice is not about fair play at all but about stacking the odds in favour of a YES result. In view of this, the referendum should be suspended until the Albanese government can demonstrate that it will run the referendum fairly by allocating equal funding to both YES and NO propositions.
    This question needs to be answered by Mr Albanese: Does Labour intend to run the referendum on The Voice fairly?
    For an indication of what answer we are likely to get, It is worth noting from an article by Paul Kildea titled:
    ACHIEVING FAIRNESS IN THE ALLOCATION OF PUBLIC FUNDING IN REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN that: “In 2013 the Gillard Government caused controversy when, in the lead-up to its planned referendum on local government recognition, it allocated 95 per cent of available promotional funding to the Yes campaign”
    My conclusion is that the referendum on The Voice stinks, is more than likely rotten from the head down and beyond saving as a fair go for all Australians. Shame on the Albanese government I say.

  • Daffy says:

    Best wishes for our recovery, Peter.

    • Peter Smith says:

      Thanks Daffy for your best wishes and thanks to others to. I’m now home and should live, for the time being. Enjoyed your droll one-liner. Peter

      • mrsfarley2001 says:

        May I add my best wishes for a safe & speedy recovery – we need your articles. Quadrant is a sanity-saver, as has been the case for quite some time. Thank you!

  • leabrae says:

    Richard Marles said yesterday (21 May) that he and his colleagues “are determined to be a responsible government that ends division”. In the context of the Voice it means a single-party state. Indeed, given the irrelevance of parliament once the Voice is instituted both Senate and House of Representatives need only token membership, a dozen Senators and around 25 Reps. The only real change required is membership of cabinet, so that members need no longer (either already or within three months) hold a seat in the parliament. I am most interested to see how the present government will begin to silence their opponents. But they will try. Given the treatment meted out to Moira Deeming there will be no recourse permitted to the (apocryphal) statement of Voltaire regarding liberty.

  • Michael says:

    If the Albanese voice proposal gets up, it will be the biggest mistake in Australian Constitutional history. It will undermine the basis of peaceful, multicultural Australia. It will erode the Federation ideal of a nation for a continent, and a continent for a nation. We will see the voice pervert our democracy. We will see dreadful tribal rivalries and urban activists quickly destroy the credibility and integrity of the voice and any good will Australians might have had for it.

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      The so-called “voice” has neither integrity nor credibility. It’s just another rent-seeking scam. Lord forbid that Australians fall for it.

  • lbloveday says:

    Pearson had an unhinged rant in The Weekend Australia – copy and paste, it’s (hopefully) not pay-walled:


    So diabolical was it that the Editor-in-chief wrote a column, printed next to Pearson’s refuting much of what he wrote:


  • GG says:

    Peter you’re right about diversity of views, however if you’re going to combine the Leftist (Labor-Greens) vote as 45% (it was actually 44.83%), then it’s fair to to the same for the Conservative vote, being LNP, ON and UAP combined. That total was (35.7 + 4.96 + 4.12)% = 44.78%. There was 0.05% in it.

  • Surftilidie says:

    Good luck with your recovery, Peter.

    It is my understanding that the Australian Constitution serves two purposes. One is to delineate the sharing of responsibilities and powers of governance between state and federal governments. The other is to provide the structure for the development of the rules of governance of our Nation. In the event of any disagreement, the High Court arbitrates. The Voice, should it ever come into existence, is without doubt, another level of government, as it too will have access to the High Court should it disagree with the Federal government’s treatment of its advice.

    Backtracking a little, in Australia, we suffer three levels of government. i.e. Federal, State and Local. The most obvious commonality between these three levels is that they all impose taxes. Federally we pay income tax and GST. At the State level, it is stamp duty, car registration, mining royalties, etc, and at the local level it is rates, parking fines, etc. It is in the DNA of governments to take money from its constituents. So we should not be surprised that the Voice will do precisely the same thing at some point. How the Voice will decide on who to tax and how much to tax, remains to be seen, but there is absolutely no doubt that it will tax us in some form. It may impose an annual payment per individual, but far more likely will be an annual payment on land owners, given the aboriginals’ so-called attachment to land. With approximately 10 million households in Australia, at $100 per week, that will create a nice 50 billion dollar windfall for the Aboriginal House of Lords.

    You would have to be crazy to vote for the Voice.

  • Ceres says:

    Noel Pearson is a gift to the no vote – describing readers of ‘The Australian’ as “borderline casual racists”. Keep those putrid comments coming Noel.
    As well the no campaign would do well to stress the possibility of homeowners having to pay “rent” to this elite aboriginal group. That should scare the bejesus out of the bleeding hearts and can not be ruled out, like everything about this back of an envelope scheme.
    The NT Govt has just passed legislation to pave the way for Aboriginal elders and leaders to have a say on what sentences aboriginal offenders should receive.
    So apartheid Australian style is already on its way. This race based Voice will be that, on steroids.

    • STD says:

      I think it should be Sir(Surly) Noel .

    • STD says:

      Actually, in a funny way, he is confirming and affirming for main stream Australia, that the whole Voice thing is likely to be a racist endeavour from beginning to the sorrowful end.
      Vote no, keep the Australian constitution and parliamentary processes free of indigenous racism and bigotry- end the Whitlam era of welfare entitlement and graft for all Australian’s who are actually fair dinkum, black, white or brindle.
      Being fair dinkum resides in peoples hearts ,let’s start downsizing the freeloading component and scammers in Australia’s egalitarian commonwealth society.
      Ditch the progressive as well as the left wing self serving crap that has been foisted on all of us- who’s intent has replaced peaceful existence with commodified psychotic insanity’s.

    • pmprociv says:

      Yep, Ceres, Noel sure is proving himself to be an asset for the No case. Should the Voice get up, he’ll just have to be on it, possibly even as chairman — otherwise there’ll be hell to pay. Then, heaven help any government that refuses to take his orders . . .


    The Albanese government should be censured for its partisan support for a YES outcome in The Voice referendum. A big part of this unfair support is channelled through the ABC’s various media outlets. All at public expense.
    “In 2013 the Gillard Government caused controversy when, in the lead-up
    to its planned referendum on local government recognition, it allocated
    95 per cent of available promotional funding to the Yes campaign”:
    In other words, it appears that Labor has got ‘form’ in stacking the odds in their favour for referenda and using public money to boot.
    The evidence for referendum rigging is plain. The only verdict is that the referendum for The Voice should be declared unfit, null and void for the voting public.

  • padraic says:

    Agree with you Ceres. At the beginning of this Voice farce older Australians were praised for voting “Yes” in 1967 and hence wonderful non-racists but now we are going to vote “No” we are “borderline casual racists”. Charming – n’est-ce pas? They are showing their true selves now that they could lose.

  • melb says:

    Thanks to lbloveday for those links. I noticed Pearson’s rant (he rants often these days) referred to the Rule of Law Institute.
    It has been a thought of mine for a little time now that racist legislation (like the “Voice”) is probably contrary to the rule of law. That is, it infringes the principle of equality before the law.
    I acknowledge that our Constitution has contained power for Parliament to enact racist legislation. I raise the questions whether that power and the “Voice” are firstly ultra vires the power of the UK Parliament and secondly our Parliament.
    What I am saying is that because of the fundamental principle of equality before the law, neither the UK Parliament nor our Parliament has the power to enact racist legislation.
    Get well Peter.

    • melb says:

      A consequence of the UK Parliament not having the power to pass racist legislation is that the provisions of our Constitution providing for amendment are similarly constrained. I should have included that above.

    • lbloveday says:

      26/5/2023, Janet Albrechtsen writes “Noel Pearson’s vitriol only helps the ‘No’ campaign”

  • pmprociv says:

    What I fail to understand is how Linda Burney continues to get away with her inane statements, as though she were flawless and untouchable. Sure, she does present herself very carefully as a lovely, innocuous if somewhat self-righteous, woman, but she’s not Mother Teresa. Why has no journalist had the guts to pull her up on her constant moaning about how “It’s about time our First Nations people had a voice to government”? This is from the Minister for Indigenous Australians, no less! Can’t she speak? What exactly is her job, then? And what about all those hundreds of indigenous organisations which claim their purpose (easy to check their slick websites, although it does take time, and patience) is to advise governments, with the aim of “Closing the Gap”? Many, if not all, of them have Burney’s ear, especially the two pinnacle groups, the NIAA and the Coalition of Peaks. What is their job? And what will happen to them should the Voice get up? Surely, it will make them redundant, but I’d never bet on that . . .

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      Aborigines already have a voice – it’s called the vote. They’ve had it since Australia was founded. They also have an industrial-strength voice in terms of all the government-funded organizations/quangos/focus groups etc. dedicated to them and their requirements. How fair is that?

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    For some reason, the Voice debacle brought to mind the Gardener’s Song in Lewis Carroll’s novel, Sylvie and Bruno:
    He thought he saw an argument
    That proved he was the Pope;
    He looked again, and found it was
    A bar of mottled soap.
    “A fact so dread,” he faintly said,
    “It extinguishes all hope.”
    Were the gardener here today, expect he would be voting NO.
    Peter, please stay away from hospitals.
    Good luck.

  • john.singer says:

    Perhaps the first inquiry of the Federal ICAC could be the relative unfairness of the funding arrangements for the proposed referendum.

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