The Voice

One Australian, One Vote. One Vast Folly, One Remedy


Anthony Albanese continues to bluster and deceive on the Voice.  At a recent press conference, he said the proposal comprises three elements.  Words to the effect that (a) there will be a Voice (b) it will give advice and (c) Parliament will remain supreme. His claim about the second element is false.  The wording of the proposed constitutional amendment says the Voice may make ‘representations’.  In fact, nowhere is the word ‘advice’ included in the amendment.  Representations can, and will, include demands.

As to Parliament remaining supreme and dictating what the Voice can and cannot do, that is totally disingenuous.  The vague wording of the proposed amendment will offer fertile ground for the High Court, egged on by activists such as Thomas Mayo (see the video clip below), Megan Davis and Marcus Stewart (to name but a few), to have the final say on the remit and powers of the Voice.

But even if Albanese’s claim were true and the High Court could not intervene, the supremacy of Parliament is not guaranteed.  Albanese’s statement implies that Parliament would not cede any veto or political power to the Voice that was not envisaged by the general public who accepted his assurance that this is just about constitutional recognition, a simple change and “just good manners”. 

The logic underlying Albanese’s implication, that we are meant to naively accept, is that Parliament would never do anything stupid.  Like destroying our national energy grid in the fruitless pursuit of net zero.  Or locking down entire cities to control a virus that we knew only threatened the very old or immune compromised.  Or establishing a First Nations assembly to dictate the terms of a treaty.  Or passing Aboriginal Heritage legislation that will burden business, and even home-owners, with yet another layer of bureaucratic brown tape.  Or dismantling an effective border protection regime leading to 50,000 illegal arrivals and thousands of deaths.

What are the odds of the Greens, enriched (like uranium) by the addition of a couple of replacement Lidia Thorpes, wringing concessions out of a Labor government, more than half of whose members would be that green-left way inclined in the first place?

Meanwhile, Peter Dutton’s suggestion that the referendum be shelved or delayed, while probably well-intentioned, is misguided.  The last thing we want now is for Albanese to announce with a heavy heart (and probably some tears) that owing to the misinformation being promulgated by the No “scare campaign” – be given a graceful way to get off this tiger he so smugly mounted back in May 2022.  Putting it on the backburner will just prolong the agony.  We need to apply the garlic and stake right now, while we still have the chance.

At this stage, in light of how the polls are trending, postponment would be Albanese’s best play, but it will not happen because it’s not Caucus pulling his strings on this issue. It’s the Voice Referendum Working Group and the likes of Thomas Mayo featured in the clip above. They will never allow a delay, even allowing what the polls are telling them to expect.  This embryonic Voice would exercise its second veto over government policy. The first being to outright  reject advice from the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General to remove representations to the Executive Government from the proposal.  On reflection, perhaps I am giving Dutton too little credit for political smarts.  He probably knows this too.

Now here comes the shameless plug. As I said earlier, it will not be enough to defeat the referendum.  It must be defeated convincingly, and it must be defeated on the correct grounds.  The Opposition’s primary strategy based on calling out the lack of detail, rather than opposing a constitutional Voice on principle, suggests there is some form of the Voice that might be acceptable in the Constitution. 

We do not want the basis of the defeat to be that people voted it down because they didn’t understand it.  We want it to be that people voted no because they did understand it, that it is wrong in principle.  That is where my book The Indigenous Voice to Parliament? –The No Case comes in.  It covers all the arguments for the Voice, including the emotive ones – the ones based on atonement for past wrongs – that are likely to resonate with different sections of the community.  If you haven’t already bought a copy, may I suggest you buy two – one for you and one for a friend.  And ask him/her to do the same.  My friend Rodger Lamb did that and he tells me his gift turned his friend from Yes to No.

At a recent family event, I sensed that the tide is turning against the Voice.  We need to turn it into a flood.

13 thoughts on “One Australian, One Vote. One Vast Folly, One Remedy

  • Tony Tea says:

    My comment here (slightly modified) was actually printed in The Australian: “Pretend the Australian political and legal framework is a computer. Everyday life happens in the RAM while the Constitution controlling what happens in RAM is the ROM. You can’t change the ROM, except in extraordinary circumstances. Now pretend the union movement have added into the ROM a function whereby a tightly restricted group of people pressing the space bar automatically locks up the screen. There’s your voice.”

    • lbloveday says:

      1 month today since I commented in the Australian.
      Looks like I’ve beaten the addiction.

    • lbloveday says:

      I looked at a few comments in the Weekend Australian and here’s an example of the type of rubbish the moderators do allow, in full:
      I guest stew with this stupidity from this one term Government.

  • rosross says:

    One would assume, dangerous I know, that any Constitution for a Western democracy should reflect the fact that all citizens are equal, none are to be singled out or seen as special or superior and yet that is what the voice would do. While legally speaking it may not be unconstitutional to put such a preferential position in our Constitution, it is certainly immoral and totally undemocratic.

    This abolite industry has crept upon us because Australians are at core, well-meaning and compassionate. The devil is in the detail and it always was. We just missed the detail being so considerate in generations past.

    If one were to apply logic, also radical I know, then the question would be-

    Why should we respect anyone or anything about the primitive and barbaric stone-age cultures which inhabited this land before the British arrived? Indeed, all humans were once stone-age but most do not spend a lot of time blathering on about ‘ respecting’ those stone-age origins. Why would they?

    Such cultures, and we have the recorded facts for it in Australia because the literate British arrived, were practitioners of infanticide;


    constant war;

    women as slaves, speared, raped and smashed around for the slightest error;

    child marriage with little girls ‘ prepared’ for marriage to old men by adult males using their organs, or sometimes sticks, which frequently left females dead or infertile;

    high rates of death in childbirth because girls were too young to be pregnant, where the baby, if living, would be buried with its mother, if indeed both were not used to supplement the larder;

    brutal initiation practices for boys and girls which often killed them or left them infertile;

    leaving the old and sick to die when the group moved on:

    a hand to mouth and spear existence which had most dead by the age of 40 although women probably much earlier given their abusive treatment.

    What, in any of that, is there to respect? Nothing. I do not respect the people who lived in my house before I bought it and I certainly do not respect those who lived on this land we call Australia, just because they lived on it. In 40,000 years aboriginal peoples built nothing, barely evolved, and maintained their survival through killing their babies so food resources were not challenged by rising numbers. How on earth is any of that impressive?

    The voice is racist and undemocratic, it is also evil in its elitist intent and destructive to our nation. That is why it must be shouted down by the even louder voice of sensible Australians.

    • NarelleG says:

      @RosRoss – top shelf.
      I would love to ask you if I can copy to social media but they have already trounced for no wrongs.

      Wouldn’t it be wonderful to turn the propaganda around that is levelled at our children from childcare centres up.

      The networking behind this takeover is eye watering.

      With or without ‘the’ voice – many, many voices have been jabbering away elevating abolites above other Australians for about 5 years in the schools where I live in NSW.

  • James McKenzie says:


    Your summary is consistent from Quadrant of other papers well referenced and distilled accurately: arrived here in 1991 from the UK. May I have untethered distribution of your analysis and thereto distribute?

  • Stephen Due says:

    The political system, as defined by the constitution, is nothing to do with who is allowed to speak to whom. Like any other citizens, Aborigines individually and collectively are free under the present system to make representations to the parliament (this requires no change to the constitution).
    The constitution is concerned with the legitimate use of power. It must therefore be assumed that any special privilege granted under the constitution to an unelected subset of Aborigines (those comprising the ‘Voice’) will in effect give them powers that are available to no other citizens. Any such provision is both racist and unjust (inequitable).
    Misguided sentiment is driving this mad proposal forward. However, this is not the time for emotional decision-making. This is not the right way to address past wrongs, real or imaginary. It is important that Australians reject the Voice because it will enshrine racial division in the constitution by empowering an unelected group representing – allegedly – the specific interests of persons of one race.
    Australia is properly regarded as a multiracial society in which nobody has privileges based on race, but everyone has equal rights under the law. Nothing that happened in the past can logically override this basic principle.
    At the moment, nobody seems to know what specific problem, if any, is being addressed by the Voice. Perhaps if its proponents could take the trouble to tell the public what the problem is, that might be a useful and more logical start to taking effective action.

  • Rebekah Meredith says:

    June 29, 2023
    Thank you for your book, Mr. O’Brien. It contains much information and relevant argument in a small number of pages–a great combination, especially for those who are for the Voice, and thus unlikely to read any very long argument against it.

  • maryse.usher says:

    Sadly, the new shiny, blingy exhortations pro Voice around the traps will corrall the ignorati who have sealed the doom of all of us by voting Yes in the last great plebescite. And by voting in Labor everywhere. We are outnumbered, comrades. Im reading everything Catholic (orthodox) on how to forgive the enemy and to suffer well.

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