Insights from Quadrant

The hacks cheer lustily

Yesterday at the National Press Club in Canberra, a room chocka-a-blok with hacks gave a standing ovation to a peddler of dubious assurances and contempt directed at those who would dare to vote against the Voice. It was a moment in time that defined why the legacy media is dying inside the hermetically sealed bubble of its groupthink likemindedness and, thanks to Indigenous Affairs minister Linda Burney’s candour, a further lesson in just how low the increasingly desperate Albanese government is prepared to stoop.

Oppose the Voice, sneered Burney, and you’re a despicable Trumpist. In her circles that probably counts as a supreme insult, and no doubt her gallery audience see it likewise, given the loud and sustained applause. One wonders, though, how many will today read and ponder the piece in The Australian by Alice Springs school principal Gavin Morris. Here’s a taste:

…During the 1990s the Daly River community in the Northern Territory provided a political example of self-determination and self-governance. Scores of homes were built by community members, as well as infrastructure works and other large-scale projects, all of which were led by a community that fostered pride and a sense of individual responsibility and collective purpose.

But living in this area, 10 years later, I witnessed the slow disintegration of this community as government policies swept through like the regular flooding of the Daly River, with one round of failed policies and initiatives after another. The community became caught in the cross-currents of changing government, bureaucracy and shallow power plays.

Now, strong leaders are advocating for an Indigenous Voice to parliament, an iteration of many previous bodies such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, which have tried in similar ways to effect change. Aboriginal organisations that control billions of dollars in funding purport to speak and act on behalf of Aboriginal communities, yet this money does not seem to flow through to the students and families who need it most…

Presented with the choice of cheering a political operative sowing slurs or reporting the disgrace and dysfunction in so many indigenous settlements, Canberra’s hackdom has chosen the former. No one asked, for example, why the laundry list of indigenous social ills Ms Burney detailed can only be addressed by the Voice, rather than with the billions of dollars her department is already spending with, by her own account, little if any benefit.

Come the day of the referendum it will be satisfying to keep in mind that a ‘No’ vote not only rebukes Albanese & Co for putting the country through such a needless, dangerous and divisive exercise, it will go some way towards giving the media’s ‘Yes’ publicists a much-needed reminder why and where their credibility vanished.

— roger franklin


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