The Voice

Quite a Bit More Than Mere ‘Representations’

Once again, I find myself exercised by the thoughts of vigorous Voice proponent Chris Kenny, prompted by a recent editorial in his Sky News program.  I’m not sure why I bother.  I know I’m not going to change his mind but, nevertheless…

KENNY: Now I haven’t done a lot on the Voice lately basically because the debate is so low-brow and toxic.  On one side you’ve got the Yes case pushing for the constitutional recognition that Indigenous Australia has asked for, but with pretty ordinary advocacy hampered by their reluctance to say exactly how they’d implement it.  And on the No side we just get relentless fearmongering.

Kenny used to say: ‘Let’s have the debate.  I’m up for it’, or words to that effect.  He doesn’t seem to say it much anymore because in the above grab, you have, essentially, the entirety of Kenny’s contribution to the big debate.  So let me see if I can get something going here. I will make some observations and pose some questions throughout the remainder of Kenny’s editorial.  To begin with, just because Indigenous Australia has asked for constitutional recognition, doesn’t mean it should automatically be granted, let alone in the form they demand. (There are arguments for and against, which I have canvassed here and here.)

KENNY: They say they support a legislated Voice, so they apparently agree that Indigenous people should have a say on laws and policies directed at them, but they oppose it being in the Constitution. 

To begin with, not all Voice opponents support a legislated voice.  I, for one, think it will very quickly morph into a huge self-serving bureaucracy that will have little effect at the grass roots level.  But, even for those who do support a legislated Voice, there is no logical disconnect from opposing its inclusion in the Constitution.  For one thing, opponents recognise that if a constitutional Voice becomes dysfunctional or outlives its purpose, getting rid of it will be much harder than if it were merely legislated.  Tellingly, Voice proponents makes this point also.  They want it in the Constitution for precisely that same reason – to put its existence beyond the reach of Parliament. Kenny may believe the Voice will always be benign and useful, and he can accuse opponents of being wrong when they argue the opposite, but he cannot accuse them of being illogical.  That’s just Kenny being illogical.

Now we come to the question of ‘indigenous people’ having ‘a say on laws and policies directed at them’.   Here’s my first question.  Chris, your use of the words ‘directed at them’ – rather than ‘matters relating to’ them as the referendum questions is phrased – suggests you mean laws and policies that ‘uniquely affect’ Aborigines.  That is, do you mean laws that only affect Aboriginal people, i.e., those laws enacted under Section 51(xxvi) of the Constitution?  If so, would you agree that the current wording of the referendum questions allows a much broader remit than that, as, in fact, Voice supporter Professor Greg Craven has conceded? Does that remit sit comfortably with your view of the Voice?  If not, would you agree that a caveat to the effect that this Voice only covers laws enacted under Section 51(xxvi) would be an improvement?

KENNY: So, all they do is run hysterical scares about how it will change everything.  Even though all it can do is offer advice, which any government can ignore and even though the Parliament will re able to reform or reshape the body any way it likes.

‘All it can do is offer advice’ is Kenny’s fall-back position in response to any suggestion that a Voice might seek to wield executive power in its own right.  I’m not saying it will be able to pass laws or dispense public funds, but, by virtue of being a separate chapter in the Constitution it will automatically achieve a constitutional status equivalent to the Commonwealth and the States.  As an entity in the Constitution it will be subject to the jurisdiction of the High Court. That is, it will be, as both former Justice Ian Callinan and former Justice Kenneth Hayne have attested, justiciable. 

Let me propose a scenario.  A mining company wants to develop a strategically important mine in an area which is subject to native title.  Let’s say the miner wants to extract rare earth minerals essential for the production of wind turbines and solar panels.  The Voice objects on the grounds that the operation will desecrate a recently discovered sacred site, for example a hitherto unknown midden buried under a few feet of topsoil.  The Labor/Greens government hears the objection but decides that the importance of this mine, as part of our contribution to saving the planet, outweighs the spiritual considerations of the local Aboriginal population.  The Voice decides to appeal that decision to the High Court. 

Is this scenario something you would see as improbable, Chris?

Let’s now imagine it was a Liberal government and the proposal was to construct a nuclear power station.  How do you think the High Court that gave us Love/Thoms would rule on that?  Yes, I accept that these things are happening already, e.g., the Barossa gas project in the Timor Sea.  Do you think the Voice will be content to be passive bystander in this type of activism, or will it use every ounce of its Constitutional clout to join in the fun?

Of course, a legislated Voice could also litigate the matter, but an entity that has a right, guaranteed by the Constitution, not to give advice but to ‘make representations’ to the Government will carry considerably more weight than any other lobby group.  Because Aboriginal rights, by virtue of them having been here first, transcend the rights of other Australians.  By a process of lawfare, already well developed by green activists, they will be able to delay projects or legislation to such an extent that it will effectively amount to a veto.  And why might they want to do that?  Former High Court Justice Ian Callinan has suggested that it won’t be long before the Voice is infiltrated by the mainstream political parties, notably the Greens.  Does that sound an unlikely prospect to you, Chris?

And, inevitably, it will be the government that funds them to conduct this litigation, as opposed to other lobby groups who must fund their own cases. 

My next question to you, Chris, is when was the last time you heard Dr Marcia Langton or Dr Megan Davis or Thomas Mayo insist that the Voice will only be able to give advice and that the government will be able to ignore it with impunity?  And, if it is intended that the Voice only be able to give non-binding advice, why is there not a caveat in the referendum wording to make this plain, to disarm what you call the ‘scare campaign’?  Why does the wording say, ‘make representations’ rather than ‘give advice’?

And as to your complacent assumption that a responsible Parliament will ensure the Voice never exceeds your expectations of its acceptable remit, do you believe governments are immune from doing stupid things like conceding some degree of political power to this Voice?  You spend a lot of time calling out stupid government decision injurious to our sovereignty – like signing up to Net Zero emissions, like killing our coal and gas industries, like allowing woke ideology to corrupt our education system, like removing TPVs, like imposing lockdowns and vaccination mandates.  And yet you seem to think the most left-wing Labor government since Whitlam, in thrall to the even more crazy Greens, would not hesitate in a frenzy of virtue signalling to hand over some degree of power to noisy Aboriginal activists. That’s what is happening in Victoria, and have you noticed, Chris, what’s happening in Western Australia, where development must genuflect  before Warnamankura, the water serpent spirit sacred to the Thalanyji people of the Pilbara. Do you believe a Liberal government would be resolute in reining in an out-of-control Voice?  A party which, when in government, couldn’t even manage to abolish Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act?  A party which in government, federally and at state level, has perpetrated or participated in all of the above outrages?

The aforementioned Dr Megan Davis is the co-author of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was endorsed by the Rudd government in 2009.  That endorsement has never been withdrawn so, arguably, it forms part of our common law.  Article 19 of that Declaration states

States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

Chris, would you think it beyond the bounds of possibility that activists might argue to the High Court that a Constitutionally entrenched Voice (absent any caveat that it is advisory only) is a genuine ‘representative institution’ through which the veto explicit in Article 19 might be implemented?  And would you think it beyond the bounds of possibility that the High Court might accept that argument, particularly if the UN Declaration were legislated into statutes, as is the policy of the Greens and, I would think, many of the Labor caucus as well?

Let’s continue:

KENNY: And the hard-heartedness, for want of a better word, of the No campaign has been revealed by something one of its committee members, the former Keating Labor government Minister, Gary Johns, has published in the past.  In his book, The Burden of Culture, Johns, to be fair, raises some good points and some courageous ideas but he also shows a deep resentment towards Indigenous initiatives.  He rails against this Welcome to Country, for instance, and any special programs or categories for Indigenous people and, controversially, calls for proof of indigeneity.

As to Gary Johns ‘railing’ against things (i.e., complaining angrily or emotively), use of this term cheapens your argument, Chris.  Johns would not be alone in resenting the constant welcomes to country and the acknowledgements of elders (generally repeated by each and every speaker at an event) or the unilateral renaming of major cities or the myriad of other slights to which mainstream Australia is now subject.  But he doesn’t do it angrily. As to his attitude towards special programs, I think you overstate the case. Johns merely maintains that any special benefits should be based only on merit and need. Let’s return to proof of identity.

KENNY: At the moment we use a three-part test. It’s well understood by governments and other authorities.  You’re indigenous if you’re descended from other Indigenous people, you identify as Indigenous and you are accepted by an Indigenous community.

And how effective is that test, Chris?   It seems Uncle Professor Bruce Pascoe passes that test even though all the evidence suggests he fails at the first, and I would have thought fundamental, hurdle – being descended from other Aboriginal people.  Roger Karge, from Dark Emu Exposed, has done a huge amount of work in smoking out frauds – mostly politicians and aspiring politicians – at the behest of Aboriginal organisations. It seems Aboriginality is catnip to aspiring politicians.

Dr Suzanne Ingram, herself an Aboriginal academic, estimates that as many as 300,000 of the 800,000 odd Aboriginal population, aren’t genuine.  In October last year, you interviewed Nathan Moran, CEO of the Metropolitan Indigenous Land Council, who stated emphatically, citing examples, that there had been massive fraud.  He stated that this was a problem that must be addressed.  How would you suggest that problem might begin to be addressed? 

KENNY: But Johns wants more.  ‘It is possible to test Aboriginal lineage’, writes Johns. ‘If the current three-part test on Aboriginality is to remain, then just as Aborigines insist in native title claims, blood will have to be measured for all benefits and jobs’.  Now this is pretty odious stuff, completely unnecessary and underpinned by some sort of resentment as if being Aboriginal is a rort. I mean it really downplays the disadvantage that most Australians are keen to overcome in this country.  And this talk of blood test, it harks back to the old official racism in this country, the references to full-bloods and half-castes and quarter-castes.  I thought we’d gone beyond that sort of attitude, that focus on race.

Is not Gary Johns merely making the same point that Dr Ingram and Nathan Moran are making?   Are they espousing ‘odious’ views?  In fact, this question of Aboriginality is, or should be, at the heart of this referendum debate.  I quote from my book The Indigenous Voice to Parliament?  The No Case:

A provision in the Constitution that references, or rather preferences, a certain group of people must make it beyond doubt who those people are. If the current criterion – self-identification – is applied, that would open up a can of worms. We need to know exactly who qualifies as an Aborigine and how those persons establish their bona fides. For example, would any degree of Aboriginality in one’s ancestry qualify? If so, then the Aboriginal population can only continue to expand indefinitely, to the point where this will become less and less about disadvantage and more and more about entitlement. If not, then where is the cut-off? 50 per cent Aboriginality? 25 per cent? 12.5 per cent? Wherever the benchmark it is set, someone is going to be aggrieved. If this issue is not adequately addressed in the referendum question, that alone should be a deal-breaker.

I cannot stress this enough. It cannot be left to Parliament, or worse, the High Court, to define, expand or contract this demographic at whim. If the Voice goes into the Constitution, then it must be the Constitution (by means of a referendum) that defines and redefines – over time and as necessary – who is an Aborigine.

KENNY: I keep saying this is not about race.

The fact that you keep saying it doesn’t make it right.  Puts me in mind of a famous Monty Python sketch.  If it’s about ancestry and who was here first, then the unavoidable fact of the matter is that members of only one race may aspire to vote for or sit on this Voice.  It is possible that a white man, living in Mosman and married to a woman whose great-great grandmother was an Aboriginal woman, will father a child who will be able to sit on the Voice but his/her father may not.  And even though he/she may never have lived the life of an Aborigine.

KENNY: This is about Indigenous Australians, recognising them in a practical way, supporting their aspirations and hopefully delivering permanent reconciliation in this country. 

What is reconciliation, Chris?  How will we know it when we achieve it? When Aborigines tell us we’re reconciled?  I’ll tell you when that will be, Chris.  It will be when they have got a treaty, truth-telling (whatever that is) commission, reparations and some form of sovereignty.  That is what the Uluru Statement demands.  And you tell us this Voice isn’t about those things? 

If the Voice is to help deliver reconciliation, it must be as the enabling step for these other demands.  Langton, Davis, Mayo & Co are telling us that, but you choose not to listen.

KENNY: All this talk of race and division from the No side is, well, it’s racially divisive.  Here’s Gary Johns in the previous hour with Andrew Bolt: ‘How do you measure descent in a culture that doesn’t have a written record often.  You have to prove it by blood or, now, DNA tests. So, if you want to have a race-based system, whereby you get benefits because of your ancestry, then, at some stage you have to measure’.  You know I’ve interviewed Gary Johns in the past and have some respect for him, but his hard attitudes on this topic are pretty revealing and disturbing.  There are no tricks in the Voice idea, no-one is getting a free lunch, and no-one is losing anything.

Well, according to Nathan Moran, plenty of fauxborigines are getting a free lunch and people genuinely entitled to these benefits are losing.  As is the Australian taxpayer.  Johns is doing nothing more than proposing a rigorous method to solve a problem identified by many Aboriginal people.

KENNY: There’s nothing to be resentful about.  It’s about having a country a typical indigenous baby is born into pretty much the same hopes and dreams as a typical non-indigenous kid. That’s why the No case should put their scare campaigns away and deal a little more in the facts.  I mean the idea that heritage laws in WA or the push to shift Australia Day or push for a treaty are a taste of things to come with the Voice, just don’t make any sense. They’re all happening now without a Voice. 

Not a great zinger, Chris.  No campaigners don’t say the Voice will cause these things, merely that they are a portent of things to come at a national level.  Here’s another question for you Chris, to which I’ve never been able to get an answer.  Do you think truth-telling, treaty, reparations, and some form of joint sovereignty are desirable outcomes on the road to ‘reconciliation’?  If you do, then your support for the Voice is understandable.  And, if you don’t, then why do you think people associating these issues with the Voice, given that Anthony Albanese has promised to implement the Uluru Statement in full, is just fear mongering rather than a healthy reaction to what we are being told by the architects of the Voice?

Here is my final series of questions for you, Chris.  You say the debate is “low-brow and toxic”.  Would you concede that a proposal to insert a new chapter in the Constitution demands a rigorous examination of any, and all, possible unintended consequences?  Would you concede that, in changing the Constitution, we should err on the side of caution, especially given that the practical outcome you champion (rather than the symbolic one of ‘recognition’) can be achieved through legislation? Would you concede that dismissing your Sky News and News Corp colleagues, folks at the IPA, Jacinta Price and Warren Mundine, plus writers at The Spectator and Quadrant as fearmongers is tantamount to calling them deceptive, even racist?  And would you say describing the views of someone, who has proposed a rigorous, practical and safe way to solve a burgeoning problem, as ‘odious’, is toxic or merely low brow?

KENNY: A Voice is a way to get better grass roots representatives and smarter debates and ideas, hopefully, not the opposite.  The status quo has been a disaster.  Surely everyone can see that.  And that’s why the Yes case needs to get its act together ad explain their case in stronger, clearer terms.

We will have to agree to disagree on this point, Chris, but the fact that the status quo has been a disaster (at least for the 20 per cent of Aborigines have not transitioned into the modern economy) is true.  But the status quo has its genesis in the policies of self-determination put in place by Nugget Coombs to replace the policies of assimilation favoured by Sir Paul Hasluck, during whose tenure advancement of Aborigines, at least in terms of physical and material well-being, seemed to be on track. 

This Voice looks like just another layer of status quo bureaucracy to me.

26 thoughts on “Quite a Bit More Than Mere ‘Representations’

  • Peter Smith says:

    Good stuff Peter but I’m not too sure why you bother. I no longer watch Chris Kenny. It’s not because he supports the Voice, it’s because he spends his time deriding the opposition – as fearmongers etc – and does not, point by point, go through the possible and probable consequences of the Voice and how, on balance, they will benefit Aboriginal people and the nation as a whole. But it comes down to this. Holding conservative views and supporting the voice is a species of doublethink, in my view. Best for rational people to cross the road, figuratively speaking, and avoid trying to deal with him.

    • Peter OBrien says:

      Thanks, Peter, I’m not sure why I bother either. Maybe it’s a case of ‘there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than ninety-nine righteous persons’.

    • Citizen Kane says:

      Your not alone. Ratings (TV Tonight) for weeks now show Kenny’s show rating close to have the audience of the programs either side of him, Bolt prior and Murray after. Even Marksons timeslot at 5PM regularly draws a significantly larger audience. The 5PM timeslot out-ranking the 8PM timeslot never used to occur until a couple of months ago. Who wants to watch a hypocrite who spends half a program railing against big government, authoritarian overreach, illiberal identity politics to satiate his audience only to then turn around and campaign for the greatest illiberal idea of all – a race-based provision in the constitution as if all those previous issues won’t arise from this proposal. And the fact that he is not alert to the Voice being a permanent leftist arm of government and bureaucracies that will hobble all future conservative governments takes a special kind of willful ignorance and myopia. Add to this his tilt to postmodernist ideology whereby somehow this magically isn’t an issue about race simply because you use a different word to describe the same thing i.e. indigenous, is laughable. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone more compromised by their own ego (having worked on the original voice proposal working group) than Kenny. His program is dead to me.

    • Greg Jeffs says:

      Chris Kenny is on the record as wanting The Constitution changed. Long before this current Voice idea. To get The Constitution changed would be a major victory. Chris Kenny is quoted in the article as saying that Voice-like changes are occurring without altering The Constitution – so why alter it?
      Minister Linda Burney has used an example of a clinic (in Nowra?) achieving great things by ‘listening’. How could this happen without changing The Constitution? She gave another example of how the Voice would let the government know that school attendance should be improved. Whither the massive bureaucracy that was set up, without Constitutional change, to do that very thing? If it is ineffective without Constitutional change, then why hasn’t it been abolished?
      Clearly to prove that The Constitution can be changed is the major objective. The Voice nonsense is just dross. The Voice campaign has given no coherent reason as to why The Constitution has to be changed. The arguments that its supporters put forward are invariably strong reasons to NOT change The Constitution.

    • Lonsdale says:

      Ditto, Peter

  • Paul W says:

    Excellent work, Mr O’Brien. Mr Kenny is out of his league and his writing displays all the classic signs of sophistry. He can’t give a straight answer.
    I really enjoyed this line: “What is reconciliation, Chris? How will we know it when we achieve it?”
    Reconciliation is something the Australian does to the Aborigine. It is now a ritual, the origins of which are as obscure as any religious rite. My local hospital acknowledges the Elders and the Aborigines on its doorway. But who thought of it? Who approved it? Who are these Elders and why are getting acknowledged?
    I know: “because we stole their land”. But you can’t steal land from forest nomads anymore than you can from the bedouin. The Aborigines aspire to own our civilisation because they are totally jealous of everything we have achieved and it shames them to the core.

  • Adelagado says:

    ‘All it can do is offer advice’.
    It sounds so simple doesn’t it. But how long will they be given to prepare and present that advice? Can they say “We want more time and resources in order to present our advice”? Can they demand a right of reply to any response they get to that advice? Even if High Court challenge could be eliminated (and they can’t) there are countless ways that lefty activists could frustrate the workings of Government until they get whatever they want.

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    In comments to another Quadrant article, I recently showed a photo of Big Bill Neidjie in the Alligator Rivers uranium province.
    If you read government web sites today, it is easy to find that Bill was a promoter of Kakadu national park and of UN world heritage listing. These acts led to a ban on all actions for the recovery of minerals in one of the prime resource-rich areas of Australia. The area involved is about equal to the combined area of the 10 smallest European countries.
    It is not mentioned that Bill had no opposition to mining in the region. He often remarked to the effect that he and his friends would not have Toyotas if there was no mining. So Bill and several other decision makers liked the protection of a big park, but did not want mining stopped. Another time, nearby, a Commission of Inquiry was offered sound movie footage of local elders saying they did not want mining excluded. It was ruled ineligible evidence because the movie track on celluloid could have been manipulated.
    The example here shows that one should fear manipulation of purpose in the future. I advised our company to take the acquisition of our leases and licences over the park area before the Federal and High Courts. The judgement can be read, though it is hard to find. Peko 1986. The High Court eventually said that they could not find if our matter was justiciable or not, it was too complicated for them, so we were invited to shut up and pay big legal costs.
    This is all on record. It contains messages directly relevant to the present greasy progress on this voice thing. Motto: believe nobody, prepare to be shafted by people with no accountability for actions that have already deprived we the people of billions because they weight spiritual beliefs over modern real life.
    Geoff S

  • tom says:

    An honest case made in favour of the “YES” position would be something like:

    1) It is true that the Voice creates two classes of citizen, and we agree that in most circumstances that would be objectionable. However it is not objectionable in this unique case because the powers are appropriately limited and the unique circumstances of Indigenous Australians warrant granting them additional political privileges over other Australians.

    2) It is true that the Voice is inconsistent with the principle of equality before the law, but that inconsistency is a lesser evil to taking no action to address indigenous disadvantage.

    2) It is true that we don’t have any way of knowing for sure how the powers of the Voice will be interpreted by future High Court judges. However, we are confident based on precedent and the presumed common sense of future High Court judges that the High Court will not allow the Voice to unduly disrupt the legislative process.

    3) It is true that we can’t guarantee that the Voice will not be used by radicals to promote racial division and be active in the culture wars. However we do not believe that it is likely to do either of those things because it will have more important things to focus on like health outcomes in remote communities.

    Instead we get total nonsense from YES advocates, endlessly denying that the obvious truths admitted above are real, and telling us that the NO case is based on lies and prejudice.

  • rosross says:

    The biggest mistake people make is thinking those who are living dysfunctionally in aboriginal communities think as they do. They do not.

    The entire premise of the voice is ridiculous because it is predicated on the belief that people in communities are individuals with a voice when they are not. And they cannot be individuals or have a voice as long as they remain in the community.

    In tribal systems you are not allowed to think. You do what you are told to do and you think what you are told to think or you are punished. Often violently.

    In tribal/clan systems a man or family will dominate and run things and make sure everyone else does what they are told. Few have the courage to challenge the system for it means violence and rejection. That has always been the power of tribal systems.

    The reason why nothing works in tribal/clan systems is because if anything worked then people would be functional and independent and the person or people running the community would lose power and they would lose money.

    In a tribal/clan system people will also say what they think you want them to say. The only answer to DO YOU WANT or DO YOU NEED is yes. Take whatever you can get for nothing, regardless of whether or not it is of use or would improve your life.

    And in tribal/clan systems, the rule is, what you own or have then I own or have. Kids who get educated or train and take up a job, have a mob of relatives at the front gate on payday with their hands out. Under aboriginal tribal clan systems, they are OBLIGATED to hand over their money and their goods. If not they will be beaten.

    It is hardly surprising that many young people give up and ditch the job and take up petrol sniffing or the like. The few brave and strong ones will have to leave the community and make sure their family can never find them or they will rock up on that doorstep with their hands out and they will have the right to take anything the individual possesses, including their home.

    Such primitive systems were no doubt of value for stone-age hunter-gatherers who lived on the edge of survival or death but in this modern age they are cruel, nasty and toxic.

    The only way out of a tribal/clan system is to leave it and assimilate into the modern world. For the same reason what trillions of dollars in aid over half a century has not eradicated poverty in Africa, the billions poured annually into aboriginal issues will never solve anything, with or without a voice. In fact any voice would just entrench the suffering because without the suffering there is no need for a voice.

    But if it gets into the Constitution we are stuck with it all the same.

  • rosross says:

    Firstly, no-one clarifies the reality that the majority of Australians with aboriginal ancestry are doing fine, as well, sometimes better than the average with the same sorts of lives and outcomes as anyone else. They do not need extra help or a louder voice.

    Secondly, the tiny minority struggling are doing so because they are not assimilated into the modern world but remain trapped in backward and violent tribal/clan systems. They are surrounded by hundreds of consultative bodies and have so much voice on offer it is deafening. It fails not because of a lack of voice but because of the nature of the primitive tribal systems in which they live. Nothing will ever change that but assimilation. The word that dare not speak its name.

    Thirdly, to give any Australians for any reason, an extra vote, their own chamber/representation in Government, a louder voice and greater power over Government is not only racist it is undemocratic.

    And fourthly, all of this could be done without entrenching it in the Constitution and thereby ensuring however useless and corrupt it is, we can never get rid of it.

  • brandee says:

    A really insightful discussion Peter and your last major paragraph goes to the core of the 20% problem.
    Along the east coast in the long established cities and regions it appears that Aborigines in the other 80% of the population have assimilated. Mostly they are a product of interracial marriages and have a quality of life similar to everyone else. Some are lawyers and some professors and some are on the ABC and SBS. and some are in Parliament. It is reported that the primary Voice advocate Noel Pearson lives comfortably at Noosa in QLD. His personal voice has had the government’s attention for many years and his project have received Government largess. Is it cultural ‘demand sharing’ that continues to drive him?

    The 20% of Aborigines who have not had the benefit of assimilation promoted by Sir Paul Hasluck live in remote communities impoverished by the Whitlam era self determination policies of Nugget Coombes.
    A Chris Kenny about face could start by recognising these things.

  • Max Rawnsley says:

    Chris Kenny’s view on the Voice mysteries me. He seems dedicated to a belief is a simple Y/N proposition devoid of analysis of context.The very clear intent of the overall proposition is very discoverable. Disappointing is an understatement.

  • cbattle1 says:

    I think Chris Kenny is just pathologically naïve (if such a thing exists); that is the only way I can account for his support of the Voice. It is just so magically simple! He needs to spend a few months in a remote Aboriginal community!

  • Michael says:

    Australians are right to be pressing Albanese on his plans for the whole Uluru Statement from the Heart, voice, truth, treaty, not just the voice.

    Make no mistake, the Uluru Statement from the Heart is about creating a constitutionally enshrined indigenous representative body and the supporting governance structures that would be a de facto government for a quasi-independent indigenous nation that would have a treaty-governed, co-governance relationship with the Commonwealth of Australia.

    This referendum is about the very foundations of Australia. Aboriginal leaders know it, and Albanese pretends otherwise. But Australians are waking up. Albanese is proposing a revolution.

  • Michael says:

    The main and ongoing business of the Constitutional Voice (if it goes into the Constitution) will be to make representations on a treaty and then its implementation and enforcement in perpetuity. CK has a huge blind spot about this. Question is, is it deliberate obfuscation or naivety?

  • 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.

  • Tony Tea says:

    People are too scared NOT to spout the formalities. Imagine the rumpus when the speakers at a seminar or conference or council meeting are all competing to parade their virtue and then one speaker doesn’t bother to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the meeting room. The person will be accused of all manner of calumny for insulting aunty or uncle Bloggs. And then there are those indigenous folks who fight over who gets to perform the WTC because there’s a fee to trouser. I’m all for religious folderol being given the elbow from public life, and that includes WTCs, acknowledgements of traditional stuff and smoking ceremonies (coincidentally, there’s monies in ceremonies).

  • Edwina says:

    Why does no one mention the huge elephant in the room? That the Constitution needs to be changed so that the UN/WEF/Klaus Schwab and his cabal can bring in their totalitarian New World Order. I think that is really what the Voice is about. UN orders! An aboriginal lawyer recently bought this up but it seemed it was quickly hushed up!
    I understand this is the reason Agenda 2020 and 2030 have been enacted and implemented in local councils because that is the only legal avenue open to them.
    That is apart from the huge influence by way of Klaus Schwab’s Young World Leaders graduates as in the Greg Hunt’s and the many, many others in our Federal and State Parliaments.
    I would love to hear other’s opinions.

  • GrantB says:

    I suspect the avoidance of definition of Aboriginality is quite intentional. There is nothing in the Constitutional amendment which suggests the makeup of the Voice needs to be ATSI:
    1 There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
    2 The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
    3 The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.
    Of course there will be – if established – a majority of representatives who are ATSI, or claim to be, but nothing here stops a Labor Government doing what a Labor Government does best; appoint (say) 3 Commissioners to head it up. Maybe Kevin Rudd, or Gary Johns, or Julia Gillard, or all three.

  • john.singer says:

    I too have switched off Chris Kenny after many years of lending him my ear. Kenny is intransigent on two things, The Voice and the Republic both hugely divisive and in Kenny seemingly inseparable. As a journalist he (virtually alone) uncovered a created myth in the matter of ‘secret woman’s business’ re Hindmarsh Island and in his present incarnation served on a Voice committee with the instigator. Between those events he was Chief of Staff to two Leaders of the Opposition, both of whom had their term of office terminated by their own Party. Perhaps his judgement is somewhat fragile.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Chris Kenny lost his media show on Sky to a younger man a while back. That’s Sky reaching out to the millennials. Then suddenly, this year Chris is back with his own prime time show. Why? I wondered. Then I thought I knew. Chris was ‘for’ the Voice, had been so for a while due to his genuine concern for aboriginal welfare. Good guy on that, eh? Some Voice balance here to order on Sky After Dark. So on comes Chris, and his show is pretty good, plays to the concerns of the anti-greenies who like Sky After Dark (that’s me) but as time goes on the Voice becomes more and more awful. It’s not just a simple idea that helps aborigines at all, with limits on it, because Marcia says no to that, Albo won’t change it to simple recognition (in a Preamble) and the Commo’s certainly won’t let go of yanking our Constitution to the far left. It’s getting harder for anyone of good sense to support it, but here’s Chris, manfully manning up. It’s a political nightmare, a leftist take-over, and even he knows that, but he’s rather committed now as the Voice of Yes on Sky. Claude Levi-Strauss, the French anthropologist, once wrote a perceptive article on how the Shaman always believes his own magic, even if he knows it is a fraud. It’s a sort of self-hypnosis. Seems like Chris to me. But maybe that’s just me.

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