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?