The Voice

What Possible Gain in Dividing the Nation?

In October this year, the Australian people will vote on the Voice to Parliament and the Executive. My family and I have lived and worked alongside indigenous communities since the 1820s, and I am firmly in favour of Australians recognising their unique status as those who came before. I am also deeply supportive of substantial, material, and practical efforts to address the challenges that have gripped a portion of indigenous Australians. But I have grave concerns that this particular policy will only worsen the

Over the years we’ve had numerous voices to Parliament, none of which have achieved that ultimate goal of ‘closing the gap’ between many, but by no means all, indigenous communities and the rest of Australia. Even now we have 50 peak indigenous bodies representing around 3000 Aboriginal organisations, and they are able to liaise with the minister for Indigenous affairs that every state and territory in Australia has.
Indigenous Australians, like all other Australians, already have many voices.

As my colleague and friend Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO has already pointed out, a national Voice can never represent the more than 500 diverse ‘nations’ of Aboriginal people. In one of the towns I represented for two decades, there are four distinct Aboriginal groups which each have their own unique voice, and very strong views about others speaking for them.

We need to realise that indigenous people don’t suffer from the lack of a Voice, or voices, but a lack of solutions to the cycle of fatherlessness, domestic violence, substance abuse and poor education that grips certain communities. The same tragic story plays out time and time again all over the country, but it won’t be solved by another political body, or throwing more money at the problem; we’ve tried that already. It’s time we moved on from empty gestures.

Yet those of us who speak out against the Voice are portrayed as racists, despite our being deeply committed to Aboriginal flourishing. Racism is appalling, and I’m utterly opposed to it, but so is any form of hatred towards our fellow beings, and I’ve noticed an unfortunate amount of hatred directed at those who seek answers about the Voice.

Through our precious democratic system, Australia currently has indigenous representation at every level, from local governments right through to national Parliament, including eleven federal politicians. Despite being only 3.2 per cent of the population, Aboriginal people make up 4.7 per cent of the federal parliament, where they have been democratically elected by the culturally diverse citizens who make up this country.

The Voice threatens the idea that parliamentary democracy is able to represent us all by saying that these politicians are not suitable for representing Aboriginal communities. By instead enshrining one group’s special status in the Constitution, we undermine the most basic democratic principle of equality. Our Constitution, the cornerstone of our nation’s flourishing, rests upon the belief that all are equal under it.
When we compromise on that by cementing racial differences in the Constitution, we’ve started to lose our nation’s soul.

Supporters of the Voice want to rush through a major constitutional change without detailing exactly what we’re supporting or opposing. Despite its enormous legal and social implications, we’re being actively discouraged from asking important questions about all the possible consequences. When our Constitution was drafted in the 1890s there was a dedicated convention, which produced a detailed final draft of the Constitution for Australians to vote on. For a constitutional change as significant as the Voice, there ought to be far more detail on its structure, powers, and influence so that Australians can make an informed choice.

Furthermore, there should be greater transparency around the intention of the Prime Minister to
honour the Uluru Statement “in full”, which says the constitutional change is to be followed by a ‘treaty’ and ‘truth-telling’. As a package, these will constitute a massive change in the way Australia is governed. In my view, it will create further division and resentment rather than unity, and in time be regretted as a wrong turn.

As I said, I have a sincere love and respect for Aboriginal people, some of whom I’m privileged to call my friends. I’m eager to find solutions for the problems they face. But the Voice to Parliament will create new problems without solving existing ones, and it risks pulling our nation apart as a result. I urge you to think carefully about your vote.

Hon John Anderson AC FTSE was Deputy Prime Minister from 1999-2005. He now serves in a range of community initiatives, including his video podcast – the preeminent one of its kind in Australia (YouTube, Anderson led the 2014 review into indigenous recognition and is currently part of the campaign opposing the Voice to Parliament.

45 thoughts on “What Possible Gain in Dividing the Nation?

  • nfw says:

    What Possible Gain in Dividing the Nation?

    Well, that would be money, power.


    No gain for Australians. Big gain for Marxists. By the way, that Langton-Calma diagram looks like a Rube Goldberg machine: a machine which is designed to perform a simple task in the most complicated way possible. This is what The Voice has become: complicated political machinery with lots of useless moving parts, each of which must be lubricated with lots of tax payer money in order to achieve a racist outcome. All this whilst giving lip service to the fact that the ancestors of people currently claiming aboriginality were the first to call Australia home.

  • rosross says:

    You said: I am firmly in favour of Australians recognising their unique status as those who came before.

    And my question is WHY? How were they unique? Every country on earth was once inhabited by stone-age peoples. All humans were once stone-age. Being a stone-age hunter-gatherer is not unique.

    Name one other country which has winkled out citizens who can trace their ancestry back further, to stone-age, and given them unique status and power? In a modern democracy everyone is equal and our longevity of ancestry is irrelevant.

    If we are to recognise ancestral longevity as making some unique, which means superior, then we need many ladder effects. Find out which lot are descended from the earliest human colonisation of this land and rank them from 100% down to less than 1% in terms of how unique, which means superior they are.

    Then do the same with the next wave of colonisation and onwards until the anglo-europeans. That would leave us with recent migrants as the most inferior citizens. How is that democratic?

    Recognise what? That they got here earlier than the British? The British knew that from the start when the First Fleet set sail with orders to befriend, learn from and assist the peoples here. They were quickly recognised by being made British citizens, then called subjects.

    They have been recognised to the tune of trillions of dollars over the centuries and the most important recognition of all is the high rate of intermarriage over more than two centuries.

    If we had anymore recognition we would choke.

    • Feiko Bouman says:

      I make a simple comment of support.
      rosross makes a compelling statement of clarity without fear of lazy consequential diatribe.
      I can relate to that.

    • Geoff Sherrington says:

      Thank you for your perceptive analysis of “I am firmly in favour of Australians recognising their unique status as those who came before.”
      Might I suggest that those who came before are not known by those who are here now. I have yet to meet a person claiming aboriginal descent who knows how these forebears can create a unique status when status is unknown and undefined. All of us – I stress ‘all’ – have only vague knowledge of life before settlement. I have yet to see an informed description of what these forebears did that can form a status into an entity worth preservation. Much of what seems treasured by the loquacious was written into the script after 1788, much by whiteys, but the authentic essence of what went before is largely unknown and cannot be re-discovered.
      Precisely what deserves preservation?
      Geoff S

  • brandee says:

    John Anderson always speaks with much wisdom but his personal view ” I am firmly in favour of Australians recognising their unique status as those who came before” is of little worth as it is power that is sought.
    Noel Pearson is very persuasive and says how he enlisted John Howard to advance this idea as part of a grander scheme. I am opposed to this sort of unwanted consensus.

  • brandee says:

    I have now for the first time read the rosross response above and am mightily impressed and give it full support. Where are the political leaders who will challenge the fraught ideas of the revolutionaries. Many of those revolutionaries use the communist jargon of colonialism, imperialism, and self determination.

    No Australian Aborigine now lives a hunter-gatherer existence. So where this claim of 60 thousand years of continuous culture? Highlanders of New Guinea might be more justified in making this claim. They exist on their traditional plots without government assistance. They were denied the benefit of benign colonialism when Gough Whitlam cut Australia’s colonial guiding hand to PNG. Now PNG would like Australia to step in and halt the tribal warfare in Enga Province in PNG’s Highlands.

  • Brian Boru says:

    rosross above is right on the matter of recognition in our (presently) egalitarian Constitution. So is John Anderson on the already existing indigenous representation and the problems the Voice will cause. .The Recognise a Better Way campaign of which John is a part has the only real solution to the dysfunction of remote communities. That being the integration of aboriginals into the economic mainstream of Australia.
    It is ironic to note that the many elite indigenous proponents of the Voice are evidence that a “Better Way” really is the way forward to closing the gap.
    I had a laugh when I looked at the diagram at the start of this article. In particular I was taken by the inclusion of the “Ethics Council”. I guess this will have a function similar to that of the CCP “Politburo Standing Committee”. That’s the way the elites will control the Voice.

    • Katzenjammer says:

      rosros is wrong. It is a unique situation. No other land had a 50.000 year separation between it’s own closed off societies and developments occurring elsewhere in the world. Also unique is the era when this clash occurred – it was at the dawn of the enlightenment era. No other land has had so thorough a clash of civilisations. Our British heritage of institutions, the varieties of our initial colonies, and this clash of civilizations all deserve acknowledgement as part of our establishment as a modern nation. It may take a thousand years until we wake one day and recognise that whatever reconcilliation is supposed to be, that it possibly happened sometime over the last couple of centuries. The Voice is an attempt to rush it through before its natural time.

      • Occidental says:

        I think you might be stretching the myth a little. According to geographers you could walk from Hobart to Port Moresby and not get your feet wet until about 6,000 years ago. It is also well known that Macassan traders and fisherman actively traded and had intercourse of various forms with the indigenous communities of northern australia at least since the 17th century, but likely much earlier. Certainly the aboriginal branch of my family still recount tales of their trade. As to a clash of cultures, you dont need to look very far, perhaps the fighting in West Papua occuring as it does in the 21st century between a people not much more advanced than aborigines, with the most populous Muslim nation on earth, is likely an even greater “clash of cultures”. As to the timing of european arrival one need only to visit the indigineous indians of Argentina, to observe native peoples who encountered Europeans at around the same, so hardly unique there either.

      • rosross says:

        The thing about principles is that they over-ride concepts like unique, which in this case is untrue and only an opinion anyway. Australia was not cut off and had a number of waves of migration and colonisation before the British arrived. The British made note of the physical differences between groups and we have evidence that earlier peoples with no genetic connection to aborigines as termed by the British, had also lived here.

        The principle of equality in our modern world has no time for this or that unique but deems all are equal and that is the foundation of our democracy. Would you prefer a return to tribalism?

        Most primitive peoples considered themselves unique as did and do many religions. The Hindus consider their religion to be unique because they say it is millions of years old. That is their opinion but it comes second to principles of equality.

        You said: No other land had a 50.000 year separation between it’s own closed off societies and developments occurring elsewhere in the world.

        And neither did Australia. Indeed, aboriginal peoples were not the only remnants of stone-age left in the world in 1788 because other pockets had been reported and even found later. Nothing unique on that count.
        You said: Also unique is the era when this clash occurred – it was at the dawn of the enlightenment era.

        I suspect an argument could be made that when the Roman world landed feet first in ancient Britain it was a similar clash. Indeed, when Europeans arrived in the Americas it was also a mighty clash of cultures. So, I think you lose on that one as well.

        You said: . Our British heritage of institutions, the varieties of our initial colonies, and this clash of civilizations all deserve acknowledgement as part of our establishment as a modern nation.

        Why? And of course they do. Aboriginal stone-age history is Australian history and it belongs to all of us. There is nothing special about aborigines remaining stone-age for 40,000 years, or perhaps 4,000 given that we have no idea if anyone here in 1788 was descended from the first humans to arrive. Probably not given the stone-age way of eradicating strangers. Most of those, with a few remnants, were probably descended from the dravidian Indians who colonised about 4,000 years ago.

        You said: It may take a thousand years until we wake one day and recognise that whatever reconcilliation is supposed to be,

        How can you overlook the reality that Australia has had, perhaps above other nations so founded, the most wonderful process of reconciliation for which anyone could hope – INTERMARRIAGE. We have more than two centuries of intermarriage and today most Australians with aboriginal ancestry are in mixed marriages. We could not be more reconciled. What a wonderful achievement and testament to the lack of racism in Australia. That should be celebrated not torn apart by the voice. Which is the point Senator Price consistently makes.

        • Adelagado says:

          England had working steam engines and 1000 ton ships when the First Fleet arrived. The aborigines hadn’t even mastered the art of boiling water and were crossing creeks in bark canoes. It barely rates the description ‘a clash of civilisations’.

          • Katzenjammer says:

            rosros clearly thinks equal legal citizenship dilutes any inherited distinction to less than a homeopathic molecule. It’s a common refutal of others’ traditions by those who themselves have none worthy of memory or retention.

            • rosross says:

              You said: rosros clearly thinks equal legal citizenship dilutes any inherited distinction to less than a homeopathic molecule. It’s a common refutal of others’ traditions by those who themselves have none worthy of memory or retention.

              I am not sure what homeopathy has to do with ancestry but suspect you wanted to put it in for your own irrational reasons. It is however an interesting analogy for homeopathic process creates greater power in the material, even though it cannot be identified through current human methods. That does in fact apply to the voice where the power and devil are in the detail and cannot be seen, or often identified, but exist all the same.

              I do not refute the traditions of others. I simply apply principles of democracy, justice and human rights in their application.

              Our ancestry is like our religion, personally interesting but irrelevant in terms of our citizenship. That is what modern democracies are about. To give superior status to any group for any reason is undemocratic. It really is as simple as that.

              I think it is great for people to value their ancestry and to appreciate all of it but none of it is relevant to us as Australians and neither it should be. That reason alone makes the voice wrong. And, let us remember that much of the aboriginality ‘distinction’involves a concept that the smallest amount of aboriginal ancestry can and does eradicate the stain, nay, the evil, of all others, particularly the greatest ‘evil’of anglo-european ancestry.

              In the words of Martin Luther King, to paraphrase:

              I have a dream that all of us will continue to live in a nation where we will not be judged by our ancestry but by the content of our character, and where every Australian is equal as a citizen regardless of ancestral longevity or connection.

          • rosross says:

            Yes, it is farcical to refer to aboriginal stone-age hunter-gatherers as a civilization when any reading of the definition of civilization reveals they were not.

            One could argue that late 18th century European civilization did represent a terrible shock for stone-age aborigines but I am not so sure. The aborigines were quick to accept or steal iron axes and blankets, as they were to identify broken glass as a better spear tip. Like all humans they were quick to see what was of use, like slow-moving domesticated animals, cooking utensils, guns and fishing equipment. The modern world on that count was a gift to their primitive realities.

        • Paul W says:

          I agree with rosross.
          The uniqueness of Australian history is that civilization in Australasia was brought entirely to it from the outside world in modern times (1788). This is fundamental to our history, but it’s not clear why the partial descendants of the pre-1788 population, who are now fully civilized, require an additional Constitutional body. This is a non-sequitur. Good history does not need bad politics.

          • Katzenjammer says:

            I also don’t think the consitution should specify anything particular for them, and haven’t stated it should. But I disagree with rosros in her insistence that equality of citizenship negates any the impact of differing inherited tradiitions, which is the basis of her points.

            • rosross says:

              You said: But I disagree with rosros in her insistence that equality of citizenship negates any the impact of differing inherited tradiitions, which is the basis of her points.

              Can you please cut and post wherever I have said that?

              Of course people are different and inherit different traditions. But, in a modern democracy they are, or should be equal as citizens regardless of what they have inherited.

              People have many inherited traditions but a society has a right to reject them. Who wants the rates of violence toward women in aboriginal communities, between 30-80% higher than the average, tolerated or promoted in our general society?

              Who wants neglect of children and sexual abuse at the levels in aboriginal communities accepted in our general society? Some things are just wrong.

              If you live in this country you respect the civil laws and democratic system which protects us all. In a democracy your culture, religion, ancestry, inherited traditions are personal and should not be a part of your citizenship, nor inflicted on others. In some cultures the inherited tradition is slavery. We do not allow it. In others it is female genital mutilation and we do not allow that either. In some, including aboriginal, child marriage is an inherited tradition but we reject it.

              Are you seriously making the case that you would accept anything, regardless of how backward and cruel, because it was an inherited tradition? Of course you are not and I would not fly with that ridiculous scenario as the one you have feebly attempted to place on me.

  • Stephen Due says:

    The key arguments for voting Yes, as listed in the AEC’s voting pamphlet, do not support constitutional change. The only relevant point listed is that the proposal “Recognises First Peoples in our Constitution”. This could, presumably, be done without a Voice. Of the other arguments – it ‘gives them a say on issues affecting them’ – it will mean they are ‘listened to’ and this will produce ‘better results’ – it will be ‘representative’ – none support constitutional change as such.
    The debate about how to imporove the lot of the Aboriginals has been going on for over 200 years. Nothing will be changed by a Voice. Because the government and the media simply will not face the reality that for positive change to occur the children must be in school, must be protected from abuse in the family, must be kept healthy, must be encouraged to succeed in a career, and must have every obstacle to their joining mainstream Australian society removed. It’s that simple. It was done sporadically in the past, and many Aboriginals made successful careers – but NOT by sitting in the dust wearing dirty underpants while ceremoniously waving gum leaves about in the smoke.

    • Brian Boru says:

      Yes, “it’s that simple” .

    • rosross says:

      Why recognise people were here before the British arrived when the British recognised that before they set sail as the First Fleet orders reveal. And they recognised it making aborigines British citizens.

      To make a modern recognition, whether in or out of the Constitution is racist. It says ancestral longevity, even if you only have a smidge of it, makes you superior as a citizen, RECOGNISED as superior. That makes our recent migrants the most inferior as citizens. That is racist.

      There is nothing to recognise but the gift of this wonderful nation to each and every one of us.

  • Katzenjammer says:

    The Voice would increase the gap between Indigenous haves and have-nots. Although at present it’s actually more like an impenetrable chasm than something you’d call a gap. The Voice would cause a permanent irreconcilable division right through any potential for a single national Indigenous community.

    • rosross says:

      How would the voice close the Gap which exists in a minority of Australians with aboriginal ancestry, those in communities which remain tribal in function and nature and where people are not assimilated into the modern world. These places are run by a strong man and his family.

      How would the voice change that? Send in the army to take out the strong man and leave soldiers in place to ensure another did not step up???? The only solution to this Gap is assimilation into the modern world and no voice would ever push for that because they would be out of a cushy job.

      The Gap will never close until they are assimilated and every community is closed down.

  • Adelagado says:

    The criticism “This will divide us, not unite us” gets thrown around lightly but it should be taken very seriously. I can see real anger and resentment growing as privileges and influence (real or imagined) appear to benefit one racial group over another, especially if the loudest in that group are city dwellers no darker, or less well off, than the rest of us.

  • Adelagado says:

    Look at what Vietnamese Australians have achieved in just ONE generation. They looked different, had no voice, no money, and most Australians saw them as ‘the enemy’. Voice pushers fall silent when you hit them with this example.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Some very insightful comments with the one from rosross top of the list for mine.
    It’s no use continuing to appease ignorance and stupidity by “recognising” it, especially when it’s based on race, because at the end of the day we just end up lying to ourselves with everyone refusing to “recognise” the elephant in the room.
    The aborigines were never Nations like in the US and Canada & they had nothing to do with the creating of the Nation of Australia, absolutely zero but that same Nation, that they had no hand in helping or creating has fallen over itself to try and do something for them . and gets no thanks for it.
    Assimilation, not isolation, was, is and will always be the natural way to go as it’s been with all other Nations and it’s happening all the time……we just have to stop all this constant agonising and stirring, stop the place name changing and stop the nonsensical, and divisive “welcome to country” garbage.
    None of us need to be welcomed to our own country and that includes all of us…..just welcomed home, meaning our communal National Home ; and the bedrock of it all, the “glue” holding it together should remain Private Property….never communal property.

  • Tony Tea says:

    I see Hartcher in the Herald this morning with a tendentious argument that there are lots of advisory bodies to government, so what’s wrong with one more, without mentioning all the advisory bodies are not in the constitution. “If the risks are indeed so great, you could be forgiven for thinking there mustn’t be any existing advisory groups to the federal government.” What a partisan hack.

  • rosross says:

    The devil is in the detail and while a lot of focus goes on treaties the fact is that it is RECOGNITION where the devil will be most active. Many have said and continue to say, they do not have a problem with recognition in some form. Beyond the question of Why, surely we must appreciate what recognition contains within as both symbol and potential realities.

    identification of someone or something or person from previous encounters or knowledge.

    acknowledgement of the existence, validity, or legality of something.

    Logic suggests if not decrees that it is the second definition of the word, recognition, which is the power at work, or would be the power at work, for any official recognition Australia might give to those who were here before the British, and by dangerous default, their descendants.

    It is an odd situation where the British colonisation is deemed to be a wrong, but the many waves of colonisation by those peoples later called aborigines, is worthy of recognition in this modern age.

    The mere act of recognition, whether in the Constitution or not, endows those with aboriginal ancestry with greater power and rights on this land. If enshrined in the Constitution that power is even greater and so are the rights drawn from that power. Why would we do that?

    Some would say it is just symbolic, but never underestimate the power of symbol, particularly when it has legality and constitutional power. Symbols are never ‘just.’ They speak in the loudest voice of all. Symbols make those offering them feel noble and those on the receiving end feel superior. Some symbolism can unite, as in a national flag or anthem, but this symbol of recognition for some over the many can only divide.

    The mere fact of saying loudly, aboriginal peoples were here first, despite the fact that has always been known, and actively recognised, is elevating that group and their descendants to a level above all others. The symbolic power of any recognition states quite clearly that those with aboriginal ancestry have greater rights to this land and those who do not, have inferior rights.

    Recognition is the most destructive and racist aspect of the voice campaign and represents a slow death for this nation from the unrecognised poison of symbolism.

    • Brian Boru says:

      History is best left to historians and their scholarship (or lack of it).
      Our Constitution is a legal document. It provides for the regulation of our egalitarian society. All peoples of Australia where recognised when it was accepted by our forebears. It still recognises all.
      I suspect that the preamble to a statute is relevant to its interpretation. If that be correct, then any recognition within it may have consequences for our traditional equality.

    • cbattle1 says:

      Yes, that red, black & yellow Aboriginal flag is a symbol of a nationality based on race. The black represents the black skin of the First Peoples, the red is the iron oxide soil (dirt) that covers most of this continent upon which the First Peoples live, and the yellow disc is the Sun that shines over both. Some cultures used the word “blood” instead of referring to their skin colour, when identifying themselves as a unique race of people intrinsically and inseparably linked with their land, such as in the motto or slogan, “Blut und Boden”.

  • Hugh Jaase says:

    We ALL have ancestry going back 65,000 years or more. No one race can claim anything different so therefore we are all equal. Vote NO to racism in the Australian Constitution.

  • brandee says:

    Finally, we have always recognised them as being here first.- we called them ‘aborigines’. A Latin word not now so well received as the contrived and quite different word ‘terra nullius’.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Excellent point brandee and one that deserves to be telegraphed widely I think, particularly to our politicians although the point may lack in impact for them.
    The very word Aborigine is pure Latin & means original inhabitant, with Aboriginum being the plural so they’re already being well and truly recognised.

  • LE says:

    With having to write yes/no, the referendum is going to be a NAPLAN test for adults.

    It’s a shame ACARA can’t manage and report on it. Two birds with one stone.

  • Watchman Williams says:

    John Anderson makes the mistake of thinking that any top down activity by Government can change the disadvantage being experienced by some aboriginal people. That is akin to thinking that Government intervention can change the behaviour of those addicted to alcohol, drugs, pornography etc. Behaviour modification begins with the decision of an individual and policy should be directed towards encouraging and facilitating such decisions.
    Prior to the advent of the Whitlam government, Australia pursued a policy of aboriginal “assimilation” in which aboriginal people were encouraged to engage with the broader Australian culture. That was what we thought we were voting for in the 1967 referendum.
    Since then, vocal part-aboriginals living in cities have captured the levers of aboriginal policy, representing themselves as representative of the “aboriginal community”, whatever that is. The fruit of their manipulation of government policy in respect of aboriginal affairs is the sentencing of tribal aboriginal communities to appalling degradation and misery. This serves the “aboriginal” activists well, since it results in more guilt money being thrown their way, very little of which reaches the tribal communities.
    Then cry of “traditional lifestyle” is demanded by those who have only ever been near a traditional community as tourists. The traditional lifestyle of the aboriginal peoples in Australia prior to 1788 was nomadic, yet government establishes permanent housing settlements in designated areas. Traditionally, aborigines were hunter gatherers, yet governments supply an abundance of sit down money which leaves the “beneficiaries” with nothing to do.
    “Traditional lifestyle” today has become domestic abuse, drunkenness, drug addiction and subsidised misery. This is the achievement of successive governments, both State and Commonwealth, Labor and Coalition, all of whom have fallen prey to the city-dwelling, minority blood, faux “aboriginals”.
    They are all guilty of the most egregious crimes against humanity.

  • Kerry Roberts says:

    It’s probably a stupid question, it’s just that I wonder, if the Voice is successful, how the huge disruption to and spoiling of “country “ with so many massive wind turbines and infrastructure, will be tolerated by First Nation communities?

  • Oleg Bassovitch says:

    The gain of dividing the Nation is: Dividing the Nation. And therefore diversion of people from real problems.

  • Louis Cook says:

    This issue was discusses 29 years ago …
    Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1994 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 April 1994) . . Page.. 1088
    MR STEVENSON (4.46): A united Australia, where justice and equity are provided for all, must surely be the goal of most people in Australia. There are, however, some concerns I have, and which many other people have, because many of the actions taken by governments in this area of the Aboriginal question, and also some Aboriginal groups, not necessarily controlled by Aboriginals, are not improving cooperation but are causing division. Some viewpoints are very readily disseminated in the public media and in parliament, while others are not. I think the views of Cedric Jacobs, an Aboriginal in Western Australia, would be an example. He wrote a book called Healing a Divided Nation, and in a chapter titled “Constructive Forms of Aboriginal Assistance” he said:
    There are many existing programmes designed specifically to assist Aboriginal Australians simply because they are Aborigines. While I believe there is a great deal of sympathy among Australians for the disadvantaged state of any of their Aboriginal neighbours, there is little sympathy among either Aborigines or whites for the enormous waste of money and resources resulting from the bureaucratic attempts to redress these disadvantages.
    I read ‘Healing a Divided Nation’ last night and it appears nobody cares, or nobody is listening, nothing has changed in that time. Look for the book and read it for yourself. Cedric Jacobs did us a service so long ago.
    Proof voting Yes will not change anything … better to VOTE NO and keep the Constitution as it is!

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