The Voice

Chris Kenny’s Broken Clock Moment

For once I must agree with Chris Kenny on one aspect, at least, of the current Voice debate.  Last night he took issue with the characterisation, by most Sky News commentators, of Ray Martin’s comments regarding the mantra ‘if you don’t know, vote no’.   Martin was accused of describing No voters as ‘dickheads and dinosaurs’. That is not what he said.  What he said was that people whose voting intention is based on this refrain are ‘dickheads and dinosaurs’.

A bit harsh, but I would argue that if this was your first and only basis of reasoning, then the cap probably fits.  As I say in my book The Indigenous Voice to Parliament – the No Case:

Failure of the referendum will be attended by shrieks of racism, protests and possibly violence. That would be a regrettable situation, but preventing such an outcome would be a very flimsy and cowardly reason to simply go with the flow and vote Yes.

On the other hand, we often hear the simplistic refrain ‘if you don’t understand it, don’t vote for it’. That is not a valid basis to vote No.

If you don’t understand it, then you should find out about it. That is the purpose of this booklet. To give you the information you need to make an informed decision and to be able to defend it – to yourself and to others.

I believe it is not enough that this referendum should fail. In the interests of good governance and a united Australia, it should fail convincingly. And it should do so on the basis of a thorough understanding by all voters of its inherent dangers and weaknesses.

It should neither succeed nor fail on the basis of emotional feelgood rhetoric on the one hand, or intuitive distrust on the other.

If its supporters believe it failed because people did not understand the detail, they will simply try again later, and this issue will remain a festering sore in our public discourse for years to come. It must fail on principle, not detail.

I have made that point repeatedly in my articles and in ADHTV interviews with Professor David Flint on Save the Nation.

If, on the other hand, you have studied both sides assiduously and cannot decide one way or the other, this means the Yes case has not convinced you that this constitutional amendment is desirable and safe – in other words you don’t know – then you must exercise caution and vote No.

However, Martin then went on to say that ‘at this stage, the details don’t matter’, which pretty much undercuts his argument that voters who don’t know, should find out.  Kenny didn’t bother to add that bit.

Not to cut Kenny any further slack, he also addressed criticism of Noel Peason’s remarks regarding migrant communities.  One of the critics was Rowan Dean.  Here is what he reported from Pearson’s speech:

I say to multicultural communities in the campaign that I am involved [with] around the country. I say to them, “Listen, where do you fit into Australia? It’s a bit unclear. Are you with the mob from the UK? Are you kind of honorary settlers? Because some of you are the wrong colour. Or you don’t come from Northern Europe. You come from Africa, you come from Asia, you come from South America – you come from all over the joint. You come from China. I say to them, where do you fit in Australia?”

Here is a summary of Dean’s response:

So, let me just say this to you, Noel Pearson, that was absolutely disgusting.

Every one of us in Australia strives to make this the most successful multi-racial nation on Earth, and how dare you, Noel Pearson, sit there and say that somehow we – white Northern European Anglos – are ‘different’ … that you’ve got to choose between the two mobs. How dare you!

Kenny took issue with this last night as well, not citing Rowan Dean but an ad from Fair Australia.  He claimed critics were accusing Pearson of making the very opposite point he was making.  He played the rest of Pearson’s comments to prove his point:

Because we can move to an Australia where the indigenous, the British descendants and the multi-cultural mob become one.   And we all know we’re Australians.  There’s no priority among us.  We’re all equally Australians and the settler/native thing kind of retreats into history.  It will be a great day when we do that.  A great day for multicultural communities too.  Because they’ll know unequivocally that they are Australians as much as the rest of us. As much as the whitefellas from the United Kingdom, as much as the blackfellas from Australia.  The multicultural communities are Australians.

Kenny’s conclusion:

Yeah, great aspiration there from Noel Pearson.  But disgraceful isn’t it that Noel Pearson preaches unity and so-called Fair Australia clips it up and spins it as disunity.

Kenny might need a refresher course in comprehension. What Pearson is saying is that, right now, we are not united.  That Anglo- or European-Australians do not really regard the recent arrivals from non-European communities as Australians.  Or for that matter, Aboriginal Australians.

Or maybe he’s saying that Aborigines don’t accept either what he calls the ‘settler’ community or the “multicultural mob” as Australians — and that only when we have an Aboriginal-only Voice to Parliament entrenched in our Constitution will we be united.   He might be preaching unity but it’s unity on his terms. Either way, that is, undoubtedly, divisive. 

Kenny, earlier in his program, complained that many viewers were saying they will no longer watch him because he supports the Voice.  That is not true.  He is losing support because of the disingenuous, and dismissive, way in which he supports a very bad idea.

36 thoughts on “Chris Kenny’s Broken Clock Moment

  • Daffy says:

    I can’t quite figure out how history of a people group can lend any priority in a modern liberal society. In the old days people group was important. When the Normans invaded England in 1066, after they’d invaded France some time prior, they imposed their will and disenfranchised non-Normans.
    Today, we work towards disinterested embrace of all comers.
    So, it matters not how long your ancestors lived here, what matters is that we all live here now, and have lived in a unified nation for 122 years and have together struggled through changes that have made a unified country with open opportunity for all. It’s on the shelf, just (work hard and) take it!

  • Solo says:

    Being called or thought of as a dickhead or a dinosaur doesn’t bother me in the slightest. You need to respect the people who hold the opinion before their opinion has any value. I don’t respect the Yes camp at all, nor the Aboriginal industry.

    Sincerely, Phallus-Skullus Rex

  • mags of Queensland says:

    I also have stopped watching and reading Chris Kenny for his almost unhinged backing of the Voice. Common sense should tell you that this was a very bad idea promoted by people who have much to gain if the referendum is successful. This whole thing has done more to divide the nation than any Parliamentary election ever could and fanatics like Kenny do those of us who will vote NO.

  • Necessityofchoice says:

    I do watch Kenny with a kind of awe-full fascination. I enjoyed his failed attempts to vindicate Stan ‘n Noel because he revealed more of the context, and succeeded only in digging it deeper hole for his contentions.

    Where Kenny, Albo et al., really blew their case to pieces was to contend the USFTH is only one page. Thanks to USFTH architect Prof Megan Davis, we know from her multiple utterances, not only are there many pages, but she was encouraging “all Australians” to read them.
    From that point on, anyone who doesn’t think women can have a penis, had to know they were being conned, and the USFTH is simply a power grab by the Aboriginal industry to be wielded in perpetuity.

  • Necessityofchoice says:

    Apologies for the errors, I really should edit my screed.

  • Dallas Beaufort says:

    Kenny’s half baked Voice advocacy role may turn into a speaking circuit down the track, with motivational video to boot.

  • Just a Bloke says:

    Noel Pearson always acts like hes the most laid back, smartest person in the room. He is expert at making up his own long winded questions and then giving his own long winded answers. For some reason Chris Kenney sees this as amazing oratory.

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      Dead right. There used be an axiom to the tune that only a fourth-rate intellect finds a third-rater inspiring.

      There’s such a lot of it about these days.

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    Left out of this whole picture are the fantastic odds against any of us being here at all. For instance, take the conception of me. For me to be here typing this, the right sperm cell from my father had to meet up with the right ovum from my mother; at the right fraction of a single second on the right moment of the right 24-hour day, of the right week; etc, etc, etc.
    Thus, we have the vast improbability for each of us of our beings; as individuals, leaving out the improbabilities of quantum mechanics on the formation of all those sperm-ovum combinations back in time. Then that vast improbability of their beings, again as individuals, has to be extended to include each of our two parents, thence on to each of our four grandparents, then to each of our eight great grandparents, and so on: back to the time of the dinosaurs; and then of course, further back still. Without the conception followed by successful birth on post-birth survival to reproductive age of every one of those individual predecessors, none of us would be here. Take any of them out, and all of our modern reality is inevitably changed, And 100% for the worst for us, as individuals.
    And so, I dare add that but for Captain Cook, those with part-Aboriginal and part non-Aboriginal genomes clearly would not be here; in this most improbable existential reality. This has to include those clamouring loudest for the ‘Voice.’
    Even the modern ‘full-bloods’ would not be here either. Replace Cook with La Perouse, D’Entrecasteaux, or any other mariner and explorer of say, Belgian, German, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch or other extraction (Polynesian maybe?) and the realities of their times are gone. And the non-Aboriginal parts of their genomes are gone as well, as in a puff of smoke.
    Along with them, too.

  • lbloveday says:

    There is a, to me, horrific, but not surprising, report in The Australian (6 Oct) “Women are charged for getting beaten up”
    Hundreds of Aboriginal women who are victims of domestic clashes are being punished, and sometimes thrown in jail, for ­retracting claims against their abusers.
    The Australian have closed the loophole that enabled me to post non-paywalled links. Even back-dated it!.
    Perhaps Kenny, Pearson et al think it’s caused by a lack of The Voice, and all will be A-OK if we vote Yes.

    • lbloveday says:

      “Every dark cloud has a silver lining”
      As part of the changes that included closing my “loophole”, they at last have the print facility working properly – it has for literally years missed printing 1 or 2 lines at page breaks. YEARS to correct something I could have done with my left hand while drinking a glass of red with my right.

  • Jock M. says:

    I need a mechanism that will allow me to turn Chris Kenny off faster ; the remote control is inadequate for the task at hand.
    It is interesting that he is aware of his unpopularity; one wonders whether his tenure at Sky will come under review.

    • lbloveday says:

      He reads comments (whether all I can’t know) on his articles in The Australian, evidenced by frequently replying, so he must have an idea what that cohort, at least, thinks.

      • sabena says:

        Rather than conceding that critics might have a point,Kenny has doubled down and is defending his position regardless.He will end up with no audience.

      • ianl says:

        He also reads here, or at least is constantly advised on the comments here, as are most MSM journos. This is never admitted, of course, since it would reduce the level of their tackiness.

        The evidence for this is the occasional turn of phrase he uses (a type of backhanded acknowledgement). At least that was true the last time I listened to him although that was quite awhile back now.

    • says:

      I sincerely hope that Chris Kenny’s tenure at Sky will NOT come under review. I don’t agree with Kenny’s intention to vote “yes”, but that’s not because I have any antipathy towards Kenny, or towards Aboriginals, but because I don’t wish to see Kenny censored.
      It’s also because I have read, at length, the documentation that can easily be found on the website of the N.I.A.A. (National Indigenous Australians Agency) – not just one page, or even 25 pages, but more like 114 pages.
      I urge any who have not read the documentation, to do so. It is clear from that documentation that The Voice is a highly intentional (Leninist) power grab by a small coterie of aboriginal intellectuals.
      It is also clear why the proponents persuaded Albanese to deliberately deny voters being provided with the usual “for” and “against” arguments that the electorate has come to expect prior to voting in elections or referenda. The proponents understood that if the electorate truly grasped the intentional design elements of “The Voice” then it could be inferred that the electorate would take fright and vote NO.
      Fortunately, if the opinion polls prove to be correct, the electorate in its combined wisdom, is managing to work all this out for itself, and come voting day can hopefully be expected to vote NO.
      Some examples of the documentation that can be found on the above web-site:-
      – “the proposed body would have INSUFFICIENT POWER if its constitutional function was ‘ADVISORY ONLY'”. And: – “it must be supported by a sufficient and GUARANTEED BUDGET with access to its own INDEPENDENT SECRETARIAT and LAWYERS”.
      – that The Voice reforms should be followed up with “a TREATY” (which) “could include a proper say in decision-making, the establishment of a truth commission, REPARATIONS, a financial settlement (such as seeking a PERCENTAGE of GDP)”. And:
      These proposals certainly scare me!

  • Louis Cook says:

    I watch Credlin and Bolt and change channels when Kenny comes on. He is an arrogant Smart A*** who I don’t need to watch and there are many others who think likewise.
    Advertisers take note.

  • bomber49 says:

    As soon as Kenny mounts his Voice hobby horse then I switch to the history channel or Netflix or Stan or Prime; anything but Kenny. At first I thought he was a Fox stooge just to prove it’s balanced but that can’t be the case when subscribers switch off.

  • johnflynne says:

    Chris is merely protecting his job as he would have few that would employ him except the Murdoch press

  • leabrae says:

    I suppose it is too much to ask whether Ray Martin or Chris Kenny (even Peta Credlin) have read and considered the argument presented by Professor Emeritus Detmold on these pages on 27 September. He was, in one sense, merely bringing to our attention a fundamental maxim of Robert Garran in his commentaries: “These safeguards have been provided, not in order to prevent or indefinitely resist change in any direction, but in order to prevent change being made in haste or by stealth, to encourage public discussion and to delay change until there is strong evidence that it is desirable, irresistible, and inevitable.” (Incidentally, freedom of speech was taken as a given.) Having been trained in History I baulk at the term “inevitable” but one can see his point. Mr Albanese has violated all the other terms, “haste”, “stealth” and so on. Messrs Martin and Kenny (among many others) have commended these transgressions. Accordingly, at least in part, “don’t know” mutates into “because you don’t know, nay, cannot know because government won’t tell you, vote ‘No’”.

  • Occidental says:

    This debate has thrown into relief some of the public figures who obviously believe their opinion is worth more than two lumps of the proveriable. Take Ray Martin, I rarely watch television but in the last 40 years I have come across a few broadcasts with his smiling personage present. I can not remember one episode I ever watched him in though. He is almost a template for Anthony Albanese (the pm as opposed to the parliamentary attack dog). Measured tone, and tempo of delivering vacuous lines, while wearing suit and tie, with a beige haircut. It is amazing that an individual so intellectually turgid feels compelled to prognosticate, or be believe that they have something to say other than what their program scriptwriter wrote.

  • Occidental says:

    I know I am not the first person to come to this conclusion, but I suspect that the indigenous love in, exhibited by Kenny, is in fact a symptom of nationalism. For many nationalists, they can not fall in love with the “Digger myth”, likewise the laconic “drover or swagman myth” falls flat. They pine for something about Australia which they regard as unique, and that means rejecting the crown and our British origins, to them that just makes us second class Brits. That is why they rabbit on about the indigenous past, as if there is something uniquely ancient in aboriginal australia. I mean Western culture is as old as Chinese, Babylonian or Neanderthal culture (regarding which I am hanging my hat on the interior decorations of the Ardales cave), just that it has not been in stasis, but forever adapting and changing. You actually get people like Robert French waxing lyrical about the ancient nature of aboriginal occupation, when on any serious analysis, the failure to get past their stone age existence, is something to feel sheepish about. Unfortunately we have arrived at a point where many are so embarrased by success and advancement that the biggest loser becomes their idol.

  • Searcher says:

    Most referenda seek more power for Canberra. That means that it is a good bet to vote no if you don’t know. There is duplicity from the government, so most people are aware that they can’t know.

  • IainC says:

    Chris Kenny’s (bless him, normally, but on this topic he turns to intellectual jelly) monologue on Sky 2 night’s ago was priceless (and not because Jacinta wasn’t invited). What is it about the Yes cause that turns normally laserlike forensic commentators into 4th grade logicians?
    Firstly, he denied that Aborigines were a separate race entirely, just the same race as everyone else, but who happened to get here first, so the Voice couldn’t possibly divide us by race; it was purely about ETA. Just a thought, but isn’t the “we were here first and therefore deserve special rights over everyone else” philosophy an integral part of some extremist fringe or other? And surely that means, if Aborigines are no different to anyone else, then they are simply a part of the Australian spectrum, so surely any help required should be directed based on need, not racial origin (as currently occurs).
    Secondly, he tried to play clever clogs and derive the logical conclusion that, well (chuckle), if you think the Voice divides us by “race”, then what about (heh, heh) all the Aborigine-only committees, programmes, funding, special ministers in parliament, aren’t they racially centred (you fell into my cunning trap)? To which every progressive, anti-racist and anti-cultural-apartheid person says: “yes, yes, yes! Finally, you admit it! Get rid of them all! Thanks for supporting our argument!”

    • Peter OBrien says:

      Yes, he uses that specious logic to say that the Opposition proposes to legislate a Voice (false as far as I am aware. Dutton has ruled out a national Voice) so why is that not divisive whereas putting it into the Constitution is, ignoring the fact that it is the creation of special rights for one group of people in the Constitution, as opposed to legislating them (as we do all the time for various classes of people) is what is divisive.

  • lbloveday says:

    Must be a contender for Crap of the Year – Kenny in The Weekend Australian Oct 7:
    While I deplore the toxic nature of this debate and the abuse flying in all directions, the No campaign ALONE has sought to make mileage from it.

    • Just a Bloke says:

      Kenny reminds me of a racehorse with blinkers on, striving for the finish line, not to be distracted by any arguments from the side or behind. Rider – N. Pearson.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    I have 4 ‘not fit for purpose’ televisions in my home. They are worthless. Any sense of being entertained has long disappeared, and I merely switch to the Marxist dialogue of the ABC Not the News to check that they have not yet been de-funded (I wish). I am left with the impression that the war was lost 50 years ago when Whitlam and his little jingle won the day, leaving the sitting PM, Albo and his like to mourn the loss of their Dear Mentor. They disgust me with their lies and half-truths, their dissembling and their obfuscation, their intrusion into our lives, their feather bedding the Chinese Communist Party, and more of the same, both overt and covert. Woe is me, for I believe the best among us are/were asleep at the helm, and they have navigated our once proud Ship of State onto a lee shore.

  • Brenden T Walters says:

    Who came up with the idea of 65,000 years the Aborigines have been here? Does that number include people of mixed Aboriginal descent? When in doubt simply add another naught.

Leave a Reply