The Voice

More of the Constitutionally Enshrined Same?

One of the arguments in support of the Voice which I keep coming across from the Prime Minister down is that whatever has been done so far hasn’t worked. Then we are invited implicitly or explicitly to embrace a non sequitur and vote Yes.

There it is again in the Yes-case pamphlet. I’ve emphasised the telling sentence in the extract below.

There are big challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: A life expectancy 8 years shorter than non-Indigenous Australians. Worse rates of disease and infant mortality. A suicide rate twice as high. Fewer opportunities for education and training. Clearly, the current approach isn’t working. To close these gaps, find solutions and plan for the future we need to listen to advice from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about issues affecting their lives and communities.

Let me get personal. Whatever I’ve been doing so far to pick winning stocks on the ASX has on the whole not worked. Yet what to do. I am absolutely sure that there’s a heap of Bernie Madoff types out there who would say to me, “Peter, what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked. Have I got a winning scheme for you!” Of course, there are also reputable, competent and lucky-stock-picker advisers out there who would improve my position. It’s question of finding them. Hard. I once subscribed to a service which recommended Retail Food Group. Later, tens of thousands of dollars plus change in the red, I thought, that wasn’t a good idea.

What I’m saying is that understanding something isn’t working does not of itself point to what will work. And, in the general scheme of things, there is often a very large number of options to choose from; not many, if any, of which will work. That’s the business of life that we are all in together. I’m labouring the point. Shouldn’t have to, it’s obvious. Or is it? Yes  proponents evidently don’t think so.

Movers and shakers in the Yes camp clearly think that there are large numbers of people in voterland who are dumb enough to buy the non sequitur. And they are probably right in view of the steep decline in intelligence among sections of the populace over the past decade or two. I know this decline has happened and put forward the election of Teals as one piece of compelling evidence. How about the creepy enthusiasm in Melbourne for being locked up by Dan. And what about those people who happily walked about outside in masks. Want more proof? How about a belief that the intensity and frequency of bushfires will lessen if we build more wind and solar farms. I mean you have to be approaching idiot classification to believe that, yet it’s out there. I dare say most ABC devotees believe it.

Unfortunately, the whole business of the Voice and Aboriginal affairs in general is not just plagued with intellectual limitations, it is plagued with identity politics. In this case, every facet of human experience is reduced to the single perspective of race. As night follows day, the puerile and meaningless follow. To wit,

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a life expectancy 8 years shorter than non-Indigenous Australians, have worse rates of disease and infant mortality, a suicide rate twice as high and fewer opportunities for education and training.

This is puerile and meaningless because you can’t put hundreds of thousands of people living in radically different circumstances into the one exclusive bucket. There are many non-indigenous Australians who also are severely disadvantaged. There are many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are particularly advantaged. For examples of the latter have a look at those pushing the Voice. In general, aggregates provide no useful information to guide policy.

Take the suicide rate among defence force personnel. According to a government monitoring source, compared with the Australian population, the rate of suicide between 1997 and 2020 for Australian defence force personnel who had left the service was 27 percent higher for males and 107 percent higher for females. However, the suicide rate was less than half the Australian average for male defence force members serving fulltime or in the reserves. My point is that taking defence force personnel as a whole would be meaningless and provide no insight at all into the problem. Equally referring to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people en bloc is meaningless.

At the last census in 2021, 812,728 people self-identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. That’s 3.2 percent of Australia’s population, up from 2.8 percent in 2016 and 2.5 percent in 2011. Not bad for a group suffering a shorter lifespan and worse rates of disease and infant mortality. Of course, we suspect that a proportion of these so-called Aboriginal people are white people with a suntan. Many more have a very weak DNA bond with Aboriginality. Many are doing very well through their own efforts and also, regrettably, through racially-based preferment. Many are employed, live in cities and towns, and experience the same ups and downs as other folk. Others, notably among those living on the outskirts of regional towns or in remote communities, are in serious trouble. Unemployment, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse is rife; so we hear on the news in the big cities. Children apparently run wild instead of attending school. My question: is the proposed Voice for them? Or is it also for well-heeled Aboriginal people living in trendy parts of Sydney and Melbourne?

The whole concept of the Voice is ridiculous at its very core. Special representation in the Constitution for millionaires living in the inner city provided they can point to a distant Aboriginal ancestor, really? Linda Burney should do her job competently and focus laser-like on the actual problem which she should know about intimately having spent months living in and travelling to the communities in trouble and having been provided with expert briefings from public servants who have also spent considerable time on the ground with the communities in question. You might notice here that I am making common-sense presumptions about how ministers for Aboriginal affairs and their taxpayer-funded advisers tackle their job.

If in fact Burney has been halfway competent, I can only wonder at how she, and to be fair, her hapless predecessors, have come up with zilch. Instead Burney and the government to which she belongs search desperately to fob off the problem, which she is paid to solve, onto some wise people with secret cures. Why then do we need her?

Peter Smith


28 thoughts on “More of the Constitutionally Enshrined Same?

  • Brian Boru says:

    Thanks for the article Peter. Wonder of wonders, you found a photo of Marcia Langton actually smiling.
    And that gem of a phrase from the Yes case, “Clearly, the current approach isn’t working”. Now they want us to vote Yes so we can have more of the “current approach “. That’s exactly what we would get. Not to mention more beaurocracy, racism, divisiveness, obstruction and apartheid and a maintaining of the dysfunctional remote communities.

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      Having a read of the two sides, I note 8 fatuous, feelgood thought-bubbles on the Yes side and 10 hard facts on the No side. Now, what should I do?

      And I see that here in sunny WA, it’s now 58% agin’ it.

      Thank God.

  • Ceres says:

    The Linda Burney appointment seems only to be based on her weak dna link to aboriginality as she is totally out of her depth, won’t debate smart Jacinta and needs a script to follow. Competency is definitely not in her dna and everytime she opens her mouth another 50,000 NO votes, are assured. Keep it up Linda, along with the other YES movers and shakers.

    • Max Rawnsley says:

      Love to hear Linda
      It confirms my ‘suspicion’ dimwits pervade the Parliament, for she is a minister and key spokesperson on one issue only ‘the Voice’

      Langton has stayed the course on nastiness. I often wonder how Langton and Davis perform as academics, is their scope limited to indigenous concerns. We have seen Pearson look for a soft landing in more recent times, maybe just another mood swing?

  • Katzenjammer says:

    If, as they say, nothing to date has succeeded, then any new incentive, Voice or not, should surely never include anyone who has previously held any position in an Aboriginal organisation. New personnel are needed. Tell all the old hands that we agree that they haven’t demonstrated the required competence.

  • Stephen Due says:

    The current approach certainly is not working. But the reason (in part) is precisely because ‘we’ have listened to the Aboriginal activists. Enshrining them in the Voice will therefore only make things worse.
    The absurdity of this whole scheme is obvious when you consider that the people who ‘we’ allegedly need to listen to – those who will be the Voice – currently have no useful suggestions to make as regards the problems under consideration. In fact they have never had any useful suggestions. Why will their ideas improve when they get the Voice?

  • Adelagado says:

    The answer to most aboriginal problems is bleeding obvious. Make your kids go to friggin school!!

    • lbloveday says:

      The scholarly work on IQ, Richard Lynn’s “Race Differences in Intelligence” has 54 PAGES OF REFERENCES, and concludes that the East Asians have the highest avgerage IQ(105) followed by Europeans (99, Australian Whites 98) and Aborigines near the bottom on 62.
      Hard to label Lynn a racist as he puts the East Asians ahead of Whites (and that was the opinion of members of the UofA Maths Dept staff I ran with), so the media and politicians just ignore this obvious reason why Aborigines do less well educationally.

      • Adelagado says:

        So The Voice will be captured and controlled by city educated, higher IQ, activists with barely a drop of aboriginal blood.

        • Max Rawnsley says:

          Yes, that is an evident intent. The indigenous industry needs a cheer squad and hey presto! there they are.

          The recent announcement by Education Minister Jason Clare confirms the intended folly continuance. Lets dump more funding and lower entry standards into tertiary education That’s the answer to our congenital , we are told, skill shortage. The source of those needed skills is apparently at university level, not in the public education system. or trades schools.# Always pleased when my betters do the thinking.

          # remember the Gillard trade schools?


    The likes of Lynda Burney and Marcia Langton are part of the racist minority racket that feed off feelings of being hard done by. This must be remedied by special entitlement for perceived hurt. They portray themselves as victims of past white supremacy which the rest of us must now atone for by allowing the Voice proposal to undermine our constitution.

    • Ceres says:

      Yes – it’s a of a joke the hard done by line -Gucci Burney has about 4 properties and Langton a “Professor” at Melbourne Uni.
      We can all look back to our ancestors who suffered – mine in the Irish potato famine.
      As Clint Eastwood said about slavery in the US – I didn’t own slaves and you didn’t pick cotton!

  • Adelagado says:

    “Peter, what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked. Have I got a winning scheme for you!”
    I once was hounded by a horse betting service that wanted me to pay to get their tips every week. I eventually said “Ok, give me your tips for this weekend, and I’ll join if they turn out good”. They gave me four tips…. they ran 3 firsts and a second! So I joined, and I don’t think I had another winning weekend until I quit 3 months later.

  • Adelagado says:

    So The Voice will be captured and controlled by city educated, higher IQ, activists with barely a drop of aboriginal blood.

    • STD says:

      What a wonderful man and a tremendously positive force and influence for Australia.
      Good old fashioned values – honest and decent.
      Warren Mundine.

      • lbloveday says:

        Yes he is. Look at what he is putting up with, from an interview in Matt Cunningham in the Daily Telegraph:
        Warren Mundine lets out a nervous laugh as he repeats some of the insults that have been directed his way.
        Puppet. Coconut. Uncle Tom.
        “I do laugh it off because it’s a way of coping with it,” he says.
        The laugh masks the pain for the prominent campaigner against the proposal for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
        About two months ago the abuse almost pushed him over the edge.
        “I tried to commit suicide twice, it does have an effect on you,” he says, letting out another nervous laugh.
        There’s worse in the Twitter screen shots (c*** and so on), but can’t paste them here, likewise they don’t appear in this paywall-free link:

  • STD says:

    Constitutionally enshrined dysfunction- with a greater suite of welfare optioned wants- basically Aboriginal entitled minimal productivity and welfare from cradle to grave; In perpetuity.
    Always wondered why Mr Krudd said SORRY then preceded and raised the pension age for the average savage to 67 by 2023 then to 70 by 2035 – no doubt about it the left are generous voices with other people’s TIME and MONEY.
    The VOICE being a big big piggy bank. I wonder how long it will be till we have a surcharge on SUPER contributions to support the growing constitutional state of the progressive left’s special status peoples!

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    Across the road from where my wife and I lived for a time in the ACT there were some guvvie fibro houses. The Government moved an Aboriginal woman, her kids (a son and 2 daughters from memory) and the woman’s own elderly mother into the one directly opposite us.
    We got on well with them. The kids were well behaved, well dressed, and attended the local primary school every day. All was going well, until the day the mob (some of her male relatives) arrived. Then there were grog parties until all hours, windows smashed, fibro walls kicked in, and complaints galore to the government from neighbours. (My wife and I just put up with it all.)
    But the last pathetic sight I saw was a truck with a high-sided trailer full of that family’s belongings: kids’ toys, blankets, etc, and most pretty filthy, preparing to depart. I asked the driver where he was taking all that stuff. “To the tip,” he said. “Where else?”
    From that I concluded that it is likely that what is holding Aboriginal communities back is their menfolk, not so much the women. They appear to have had a harder time making the transition from hunter-gathering to modernity. They appear to have lost a lot of social status in the process. And I don’t see how ‘The Voice’ as a new layer of bureaucracy can do much about that. Careers for the more high-profile of them, perhaps. Apart from that comes the thorniest issue: how much of your personal genotype has to be ‘Aboriginal’ to qualify you to vote on who gets those plum parliamentary jobs?
    Also I should add that Aboriginal men, more than women, fell victim to settler violence in the 19th and early 20th Centuries; which could have contributed a lot to their general despair. It’s all there anyway in Ted Egan’s song, ‘The Drover’s Boy.’ See also my 4-part contribution at…/ and passim.

  • Michael says:

    There is no argument for the Voice, it’s all poetic, sentimental, emotional appeals to history, hope and destiny combined with denigration of any doubters and dissenters.

  • padraic says:

    Thanks lbloveday for posting that link to Warren Mundine’s video. Sounds like our family history. Several great grandfathers couldn’t read or write and could only get labouring jobs, but they invested in modest real estate ventures and raised and one sold goats on the side to merchant seamen in Sydney for meat and raised their families and had a positive outlook on life and gave their kids the education that they would never had access to back from where they came originally. Each generation thereafter inherited their outlook and each generation has improved on the earlier ones in terms of income, education etc because Australia has given us the opportunity to succeed and prosper, because of the equality of opportunity and equality before the law. One of the driving forces behind that is that our families escaped the inequalities from where they came and made sure that such inequalities don’t happen here. Let’s hope we can keep up that tradition by voting NO.

  • padraic says:

    Sorry – “raised families” got lost in the editing process.

  • pmprociv says:

    Peter, do you think having a voice to the stock exchange might solve your own problem? As for non sequiturs, the entire Yes case is based on a whole string of them. It’s so reassuring that most of our compatriots are beginning to realise that.

    But, regarding the voice to parliament as a solution to the horrendously complex problems of remote indigenous communities, to me it seems like expecting a very sick patient to direct medical staff about the treatment that’s needed.

  • sirtony says:

    I have been puzzled about the political push for the Voice. It clearly will not achieve anything practical regardless as to what its proponents say. If there are better ideas as to improving lives, why are they not already being put forward?

    Then, on the Sharri Markson program last week, I think I saw the real purpose. One of the contributors explained that, if there is to be a treaty, then there has to be some body to sign this on behalf of aboriginals. At last, a purpose for the Voice that can’t be achieved by any of the existing agencies but a legitimate, constitutional body is the ideal treaty co-signatory with the Commonwealth.

  • padraic says:

    Makes sense, sirtony. Another sneaky reason for the Voice on top of what Damien Cremean said in his article on 5 July. Extract below:

    Proposed section 129(iii) of the Constitution will give the Parliament power “subject to” the Constitution to make laws with respect to the Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures. Being subject to the Constitution, it is subject also to section 51 of the Constitution. That provision gives the Parliament its various legislative heads of power. But section 51 is also expressed as “subject to” the Constitution. Extract below:

    The question to be posed is this: if section 129 (iii) becomes law, which head of power in the event of a conflict prevails — section 129(iii) or section 51? Each one is “subject to” the other. There is no reason to say in advance the Voice power prevails or the section 51 head of power prevails or the other way round. Under section 129(iii) the Parliament cannot ignore limitations on powers in section 51 but if section 129(iii) prevails those limitation can be ignored by Parliament . For example, if section 129(iii) prevails, the requirement to provide just terms upon acquisitions of land in exercise of the power in section 51(xxxi) can be ignored.

    It also means that if section 129(iii) is adjudged to have precedence over the Heads of Power in section 51 then the activists control them.

  • john.singer says:

    I remember people saying “Australians are a nation of gamblers. They would bet on two flies racing each other up a wall.”
    In such a gamble the end result will be, someone is going to be significantly lighter in the pocket and the event will not benefit either fly.

  • cbattle1 says:

    The essence of the problem is Aboriginal culture; it is not the solution! The closer one gets to the traditional Aboriginal life, such as town camps and remote Aboriginal communities, the greater the problems and the consequent “gap”. The problems are not caused by “White Supremacists” holding them back or putting them down, but are deeply embedded in the old stone-age culture where men owned women as virtual slaves, and treated them with appalling violence, and violence in general was almost a daily occurrence. On the plus side, they had remarkable innate ability to recover from wounds and cracked skulls, due to natural and/or artificial selection and a sparse but healthy raw-food diet. This was observed by David Collins, the Judge-Advocate of the early Sydney settlement.

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