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Australia’s divisive race referendum The Aboriginal community is being robbed of agency

(Lisa Maree Williams/Getty)


August 2, 2023   6 mins

When the Australian prime minister invites his countrymen to join him “on the right side of history” later this year, they will almost certainly decline. If the current polls are anything to go by, Anthony Albanese’s referendum on the creation of a parliamentary body to advise on matters affecting Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders is on an inexorable path to defeat.

Advocates for the independent Indigenous Voice to Parliament body, upon whose shoulders the burden of colonial guilt weighs heavily, are perplexed. Who wouldn’t want to end the torment of the powerless and erase the nation’s shame, especially when the 24-strong panel’s considerations would be merely advice and not constitutionally binding?

Most of Australia, apparently. Talk of equity, inclusivity and compassion is failing to soften hearts. In February, support for the Voice was at 56%. A Newspoll survey in mid-July found support had slipped to 41%, compared to 48% for the No case.

Its supporters blame ignorance, disinformation and lingering prejudice. Yet the polling tells a different story, of revolt against what the American economist Thomas Sowell identified as “the vision of the anointed”, one that will be familiar to followers of the Brexit referendum. As with the UK in 2016, the Voice is popular in the metropolises of Sydney and Melbourne, but has failed to win support in the regions. It is favoured by millennials and Gen Z, particularly those with a university education; baby boomers and those even older will vote No by a large majority. Support splits along party lines: highest among Greens, but widely rejected by seven out of 10 Liberal and National voters.

Whatever the result, it is clear that the referendum won’t be the “unifying Australian moment” Albanese hoped for when he announced it at a national Aboriginal gathering a year ago. And faced with potential failure, his supporters have proved reluctant to understand how those who reject their modest proposal could be motivated by anything other than hate. “While it is not true to say that every Australian who votes No in the Voice referendum is a racist,” says columnist Niki Savva, “you can bet your bottom dollar that every racist will vote No.” Marcia Langton, a distinguished Melbourne-based Aboriginal leader, says it would be “terribly unfortunate” if the referendum were to sink into “a nasty, eugenicist, 19th-century style of debate about the superior race versus the inferior race”.

Yet the most commonly heard objection to the Voice is anything but discriminatory. At its heart, the notion of special treatment for anyone offends the Australian spirit of egalitarianism, hardwired in since the convict days. Every citizen stands on an equal footing regardless of why they came here. It makes no difference whether your Australian ancestry goes back 60 years or if you took the Citizenship Pledge 60 minutes ago. Here, no one gets special favours simply because of their race.

In the last referendum about the standing of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, which was held in 1967, Australians voted nine-to-one in support of amendments to remove the last vestiges of official discrimination against native people. Like the dismantling of the White Australia policy — a set of historic racist laws designed to limit non-European migration, the last of which was abolished in the Seventies — it was an affirmation that the state was blind to colour.

But campaigners for the No vote have argued that the referendum would reintroduce a racial element to Australian politics, granting special privileges to one group to the disadvantage of others. If there is to be a voice within government for Indigenous peoples, is it not also unfair to exclude the voices of other ethnic minorities? Why not appoint an Asian voice to parliament, a Greek voice, or even a Pommie voice, since immigrants from the UK have formed a relative majority of new arrivals since the early Sixties? Opponents fear that the Voice will effectively become a de-facto third chamber in the bicameral Parliament of Australia, one with political muscle over legislation if not a power of veto. They also fear the mischief that an activist Supreme Court might wreak in interpreting its output.

Most of all, opponents worry about what comes next. After all, the Indigenous Voice to Parliament could yet prove a mere staging post on the road to the more substantive structural reforms outlined in the “Uluru Statement from the Heart”, a 2017 petition by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders which called for separate sovereignty over land and reforms to address structural “powerlessness”. The petition has since risen to the status of a sacred document among Voice supporters, and its proposals have been accepted in full by Albanese. It describes an Indigenous Voice to Parliament as the first step towards a truth commission and a Makarrata Agreement — a treaty — empowering Aboriginal Australians to reclaim control over their economic and social destiny.

Some Indigenous activists would go further still, and are not afraid to say so. Thomas Mayo, a prominent Yes campaigner, says the Voice will be a vehicle to force non-Indigenous Australians to “pay the rent” for living on stolen land. In a series of tweets from 2020, Mayo claimed the “Blak [sic] rep body” would have the resources to demand “reparations, land back, abolishing harmful colonial institutions, getting ALL our kids out of prisons & in to care, respect & integration of our laws & lore, speaking language, wages back – all the things we imagine”. Unsurprisingly, Mayo’s various social media posts and similar intemperate remarks by other pro-Voice supporters have been widely used in the No campaign’s advertising script.

Yet perhaps the Yes campaign’s strongest card is the appalling poverty that blights the lives of roughly one-tenth of Australia’s Indigenous population. The most confronting poverty is found in remote communities that were given partial autonomy by well-meaning reformers in the Seventies. The disparities between indigenous Australians are as stark as they appear intractable. Australians have the eighth highest life expectancy in the world; 86 years for women, 82 for men. Life expectancy in 2018 for Aboriginal women in remote communities is 70 and 66 for men, roughly on a par with Ethiopia.

Decades of welfare and countless government programmes have barely shifted the dial. Indeed, the social fabric in remote Aboriginal communities has rapidly deteriorated. The prevalence of alcoholism, domestic violence and child sexual abuse is badly under-reported in the mainstream media; editors have self-censored for years to avoid stigmatising Aboriginal people. Few have taken the trouble to spend time in Australia’s own developing world to see the empty schools, the runny eyes, the overcrowded settlements beset by feral wild dogs. Those of us who have will never forget.

Supporters of the Voice, however, have conspicuously failed to explain how a Yes vote will change these conditions. Presenting contemporary welfare challenges as the legacy of colonialism and lingering prejudice had fallen out of fashion in Australia until the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement revived it. Even then, it failed to take off in the same way as in the US. Perhaps its lack of an empirical basis was more obvious in Australia. Is historical injustice causing higher rates of cardiac illness and cancer? Or might it be a tobacco consumption that is more than five times higher in remote Aboriginal communities (59%) than in the general community (11%)? Might the high incidence of kidney failure be related partly to patterns of alcohol consumption? Could higher rates of type-2 diabetes partly be due to poor diets?

Faced with such widespread cognitive dissonance, it is hard not to be reminded of Sowell’s empirically grounded arguments about the US Civil Rights movement: that the political advancement of an ethnic group does nothing to reduce social and economic disparity. That is an observable fact in Australia, where the political influence of Indigenous Australians has been steadily increasing since the late Sixties. The Aboriginal population is disproportionately represented on the floors of the Commonwealth Parliament, and the Aboriginal political class holds significant influence in the corridors of power and the media. Corporates have enthusiastically backed periodic reconciliation campaigns and the acknowledgment of the traditional owners of the land has become a secular prayer recited at the start of corporate meetings, uttered by airline stewards upon landing, and appended to corporate emails. Yet the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is barely closing.

There is little doubt that an Indigenous Voice to Parliament would enrich and empower the Aboriginal political class, giving them an even stronger hand on the levers of power. Every new inquiry, committee or compliance board established is a job creation scheme for a subset of Indigenous people who are suffering no apparent disadvantage themselves. Yet it will be a further blow for Indigenous people firmly grounded in the country, the “somewhere”, as opposed to the “anywheres”, in this debate.

In Australia as in America, the most grievous effect of insisting that everything boils down to race is the theft of agency from people who, by dint of their genetic inheritance, are considered incapable of changing their lives, for good or ill. Administering welfare in compensation will only make matters worse. As an increasing number of Australians plan to make clear, the tyranny of low expectations it breeds is anything but emancipatory.


Nick Cater is the executive director of the Menzies Research Centre and a columnist with The Australian.

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Peter D
Peter D
9 months ago

Among our circle of friends is an Aboriginal woman who is one of the nicest kindest person you will ever meet. If the Aboriginals voted onto the parliamentary body were to be as equally nice and kind, I would consider it for sure. My hesitation comes from the perspective that no one should have a special privilege. However, the realist side of me knows for certain that this body will only be an extension of the Ivory Tower that is Canberra.
One thing that seriously needs to be put out there is that the silent majority of Aboriginals are decent hard working individuals who live in the modern world with ease because they are human like the rest of us. For way too long colonialism has been used and abused by bullies who discriminate against the only people they can get away with discriminating against and that is white people. Worse still, those Aboriginals that do fall into the victim role lose out.
The further away you are from major centres here in Australia, the more independent you need to be regardless of your ethnic background. You cannot have big city facilities in every rural town and small city. The more the government does for Aboriginals, the less independent they become.
I have heard this from so many people that have worked in the outback in the medical field, that compliance from Aboriginals is non existent. Senator Nampijinpa Price, who is one of the leader of the no vote, understands why this won’t work but is given little air time. A lot of the domestic violence in the remote Aboriginal communities is due to the pre-colonial belief that punishment needs to be immediate and physical. For decades that left have been arguing to release Aboriginals from jail because our legal system is too slow and that they can’t associate the punishment of being locked up with the crime they committed years previous. It is a cultural thing. Five or so years back, dozen Aboriginal women (2 of which were lawyers) came from remote Australia to Canberra and the only person who would see them was Pauline Hanson! That is how ineffective our major parties are. They have zero interest in actually doing something.
The Voice will be like every other government funded effort, countless billions thrown into a bottomless pit.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

Excellent post.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

We need to mention that Pauline Hanson is viewed as a monster by all outside a narrow segment of Australia. A xenophobe, Islamophobe, <insert descriptor of evil> monster. Yet she was the only one willing to listen to Aboriginal women, who bear the brunt of the lefty-white-guilt/victim-industry-driven disaster for which we are paying eye-watering amounts yearly.
Pauline Hanson was harangued a few years ago for suggesting that Aborigines should be required to pick up rubbish around themselves in remote habitats in exchange for welfare money, irrespective of how obvious it is that picking up rubbish (not dropping rubbish wherever generated in the first place?) is an obvious hygiene measure in all functioning cultures.

Peter D
Peter D
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

Granted Pauline Hansen does not have a good reputation over here. I’ve never voted for One Nation (Pauline’s party) and most likely never will. Over the many years, she has received a lot more hate than she dished out. She is an obvious target, and hardly anyone defends her.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

30 years ago as a new migrant to Australia I was one of those who mocked Pauline Hanson.
What I have been forced to learn about Australia’s fake squeaky-clean reputation via a stalker ex-coworker’s* ongoing, unpunished crimes against me in Melbourne, Australia, changed me into one of those in the narrow segment of Australian society, who value Pauline Hanson’s efforts, have great respect for her courage, and forgive her occasional mistakes.
* The stalker IT Helpdesk assistant with unrestricted access to every woman’s home address as well as the up-to-date whereabouts of people in witness protection added me to his already extensive list of concurrent targets, when I became an e-commerce world-champion in my postgrad studies while working as a Business Analyst at the Victorian Electoral Commission in 2009. I never even dated the stalker, never called him a friend of any kind. His crimes and the crimes of his associates, who joined in for the free fun to be had are ongoing. Last unmissable cyber-crime less than an hour ago in my million $ home in a leafy Melbourne suburb. In Clare O’Neil‘s electorate. While the stalker’s own cringe-worthy cowardice and incompetence are unmissable to anyone forced to get to know him, he was already a fearless, highly accomplished criminal by 2009.
Committing crimes punishable by 10 years in jail/worse is such risk-free triviality in Australia, bikies bragging about their government security clearances on social media attack me, try to discredit Raymond T. Hoser, self-identify as drug-traffickers and expect to be able to terrorise everyone into silence with their vulgar brutality.
Apologies for the personal tone of my comments.
What I have been forced to learn since 2009 is so horrifying, I need to know that I did not stay silent.
Look up my name if you are interested in crimes that don’t show up in any statistics. Following in the footsteps of Viktor E. Frankl I changed my role from a helpless victim of devastating crimes to an observer interpreting what I am forced to experience to hopefully aid others’ survival.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

30 years ago as a new migrant to Australia I was one of those who mocked Pauline Hanson.
What I have been forced to learn about Australia’s fake squeaky-clean reputation via a stalker ex-coworker’s* ongoing, unpunished crimes against me in Melbourne, Australia, changed me into one of those in the narrow segment of Australian society, who value Pauline Hanson’s efforts, have great respect for her courage, and forgive her occasional mistakes.
* The stalker IT Helpdesk assistant with unrestricted access to every woman’s home address as well as the up-to-date whereabouts of people in witness protection added me to his already extensive list of concurrent targets, when I became an e-commerce world-champion in my postgrad studies while working as a Business Analyst at the Victorian Electoral Commission in 2009. I never even dated the stalker, never called him a friend of any kind. His crimes and the crimes of his associates, who joined in for the free fun to be had are ongoing. Last unmissable cyber-crime less than an hour ago in my million $ home in a leafy Melbourne suburb. In Clare O’Neil‘s electorate. While the stalker’s own cringe-worthy cowardice and incompetence are unmissable to anyone forced to get to know him, he was already a fearless, highly accomplished criminal by 2009.
Committing crimes punishable by 10 years in jail/worse is such risk-free triviality in Australia, bikies bragging about their government security clearances on social media attack me, try to discredit Raymond T. Hoser, self-identify as drug-traffickers and expect to be able to terrorise everyone into silence with their vulgar brutality.
Apologies for the personal tone of my comments.
What I have been forced to learn since 2009 is so horrifying, I need to know that I did not stay silent.
Look up my name if you are interested in crimes that don’t show up in any statistics. Following in the footsteps of Viktor E. Frankl I changed my role from a helpless victim of devastating crimes to an observer interpreting what I am forced to experience to hopefully aid others’ survival.

Peter D
Peter D
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

Granted Pauline Hansen does not have a good reputation over here. I’ve never voted for One Nation (Pauline’s party) and most likely never will. Over the many years, she has received a lot more hate than she dished out. She is an obvious target, and hardly anyone defends her.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

Excellent post.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

We need to mention that Pauline Hanson is viewed as a monster by all outside a narrow segment of Australia. A xenophobe, Islamophobe, <insert descriptor of evil> monster. Yet she was the only one willing to listen to Aboriginal women, who bear the brunt of the lefty-white-guilt/victim-industry-driven disaster for which we are paying eye-watering amounts yearly.
Pauline Hanson was harangued a few years ago for suggesting that Aborigines should be required to pick up rubbish around themselves in remote habitats in exchange for welfare money, irrespective of how obvious it is that picking up rubbish (not dropping rubbish wherever generated in the first place?) is an obvious hygiene measure in all functioning cultures.

Peter D
Peter D
9 months ago

Among our circle of friends is an Aboriginal woman who is one of the nicest kindest person you will ever meet. If the Aboriginals voted onto the parliamentary body were to be as equally nice and kind, I would consider it for sure. My hesitation comes from the perspective that no one should have a special privilege. However, the realist side of me knows for certain that this body will only be an extension of the Ivory Tower that is Canberra.
One thing that seriously needs to be put out there is that the silent majority of Aboriginals are decent hard working individuals who live in the modern world with ease because they are human like the rest of us. For way too long colonialism has been used and abused by bullies who discriminate against the only people they can get away with discriminating against and that is white people. Worse still, those Aboriginals that do fall into the victim role lose out.
The further away you are from major centres here in Australia, the more independent you need to be regardless of your ethnic background. You cannot have big city facilities in every rural town and small city. The more the government does for Aboriginals, the less independent they become.
I have heard this from so many people that have worked in the outback in the medical field, that compliance from Aboriginals is non existent. Senator Nampijinpa Price, who is one of the leader of the no vote, understands why this won’t work but is given little air time. A lot of the domestic violence in the remote Aboriginal communities is due to the pre-colonial belief that punishment needs to be immediate and physical. For decades that left have been arguing to release Aboriginals from jail because our legal system is too slow and that they can’t associate the punishment of being locked up with the crime they committed years previous. It is a cultural thing. Five or so years back, dozen Aboriginal women (2 of which were lawyers) came from remote Australia to Canberra and the only person who would see them was Pauline Hanson! That is how ineffective our major parties are. They have zero interest in actually doing something.
The Voice will be like every other government funded effort, countless billions thrown into a bottomless pit.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
9 months ago

There are several uncomfortable truths Australians need to recognise:

First:
Intermarriage of aboriginal Australians with Europeans and Asians happened from the start of settlement, and continues to this day. The majority of aboriginal descendants live in the cities and many will be unaware or couldn’t care less about their genetic heritage.

Second:
Welfare and educational outcomes of the small percentage of aboriginal Australians living in remote settlements has actually gotten worse since the state replaced the missions as the main welfare providers

Third:
Traditional aboriginal society is strongly clan based and there are some very rich and powerful clan leaders who are very experienced in channeling funding from the state and corporations to their favoured accounts.

D Walsh
D Walsh
9 months ago

Forth

The average IQ for Australian Aborigines is 62, this is the root cause of most of their problems. Its not possible for any government left or right to change this

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

“Forth
The average IQ for Australian Aborigines is 62”
I wonder what the average IQ is for people who can’t spell simple words correctly? Significantly less than the average Aboriginal I suspect…

D Walsh
D Walsh
9 months ago

got me, my spelling is terrible, and I’m using my phone, but it doesn’t change the fact. anyone with an IQ significantly lower than 62 wouldn’t be able to read or write

You can insult me or call me names, but the facts will remain the same

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
9 months ago

“I wonder what the average IQ is for people who can’t spell simple words correctly?”
I’m a near genius and my spelling is terrible. Funny thing, some very logical minds have trouble with the insanity of spelling rules.

D Walsh
D Walsh
9 months ago

got me, my spelling is terrible, and I’m using my phone, but it doesn’t change the fact. anyone with an IQ significantly lower than 62 wouldn’t be able to read or write

You can insult me or call me names, but the facts will remain the same

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
9 months ago

“I wonder what the average IQ is for people who can’t spell simple words correctly?”
I’m a near genius and my spelling is terrible. Funny thing, some very logical minds have trouble with the insanity of spelling rules.

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

D Walsh, Can you give a reference for the evidence for this average IQ?

philip kern
philip kern
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

I am a sceptic on this one, but a quick search shows there are plenty of sources, mostly ranging from 62 to 70.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  philip kern

I wonder how much of these extremely low figures are influenced by babies being born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and being silenced with alcohol. No amount of money or virtue-signalling acknowledgement/praise can make up for robbing people of agency, denying them dignity of purpose.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  philip kern

I wonder how much of these extremely low figures are influenced by babies being born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and being silenced with alcohol. No amount of money or virtue-signalling acknowledgement/praise can make up for robbing people of agency, denying them dignity of purpose.

philip kern
philip kern
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

I am a sceptic on this one, but a quick search shows there are plenty of sources, mostly ranging from 62 to 70.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
9 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Is that because of poor education rather than potential mental capacity? I wonder if a group of Europeans were given a stone-age upbringing would score any better.

The IQ test works well to compare individuals with a broadly similar cultural and educational exposure. Apples with apples. Whether it works quite as well comparing apples with pears is less demonstrable. We know that educated people do better on IQ tests. That doesn’t mean that’s uneducated people are stupid.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

“Forth
The average IQ for Australian Aborigines is 62”
I wonder what the average IQ is for people who can’t spell simple words correctly? Significantly less than the average Aboriginal I suspect…

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

D Walsh, Can you give a reference for the evidence for this average IQ?

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
9 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Is that because of poor education rather than potential mental capacity? I wonder if a group of Europeans were given a stone-age upbringing would score any better.

The IQ test works well to compare individuals with a broadly similar cultural and educational exposure. Apples with apples. Whether it works quite as well comparing apples with pears is less demonstrable. We know that educated people do better on IQ tests. That doesn’t mean that’s uneducated people are stupid.

D Walsh
D Walsh
9 months ago

Forth

The average IQ for Australian Aborigines is 62, this is the root cause of most of their problems. Its not possible for any government left or right to change this

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
9 months ago

There are several uncomfortable truths Australians need to recognise:

First:
Intermarriage of aboriginal Australians with Europeans and Asians happened from the start of settlement, and continues to this day. The majority of aboriginal descendants live in the cities and many will be unaware or couldn’t care less about their genetic heritage.

Second:
Welfare and educational outcomes of the small percentage of aboriginal Australians living in remote settlements has actually gotten worse since the state replaced the missions as the main welfare providers

Third:
Traditional aboriginal society is strongly clan based and there are some very rich and powerful clan leaders who are very experienced in channeling funding from the state and corporations to their favoured accounts.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
9 months ago

What I find puzzling is the bizarre notion that Australia needs a raced-based advisory body enshrined in perpetuity to advise parliament, and that we should just vote one in even though we are already electing more and more indigenous Australian representatives to have their say in our current local, state and federal parliaments, and who we can vote out if we think they are rubbish. Why embark on this airy fairy, she’ll be right, don’t you worry, constitutional fiasco when it is already within indigenous remit to address problems both historical and current.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
9 months ago

What I find puzzling is the bizarre notion that Australia needs a raced-based advisory body enshrined in perpetuity to advise parliament, and that we should just vote one in even though we are already electing more and more indigenous Australian representatives to have their say in our current local, state and federal parliaments, and who we can vote out if we think they are rubbish. Why embark on this airy fairy, she’ll be right, don’t you worry, constitutional fiasco when it is already within indigenous remit to address problems both historical and current.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago

The “voice” rammed down our throats as the magic solution to all issues Aboriginal, the obviously absurd efforts to re-write Aboriginal history attributing achievements and conditions, including cohesive nationhood to separate, warring tribes in pre-European times contribute to resentment.
Throwing unearned money and praise at Aborigines, encouraging them to speak tribal languages with Stone-Age vocabularies understood by a few 100 people at most in a highly industrialised country in the 21st century means blocking them from gaining the dignity of purpose needed to thrive.
Being encouraged to keep practicing a culture celebrated for not having evolved in 60,000 years without the need to do hunting and gathering or seeking water – while having access to plenty of fast food, alcohol and porn inevitably propagate conditions for poor life outcomes, early deaths.
Normalising violence to keep Aborigines + the Sudanese out of jail has devastating consequences for all of us irrespective of our backgrounds or life-choices even in million $ home suburbs of Melbourne.

Last edited 9 months ago by Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago

The “voice” rammed down our throats as the magic solution to all issues Aboriginal, the obviously absurd efforts to re-write Aboriginal history attributing achievements and conditions, including cohesive nationhood to separate, warring tribes in pre-European times contribute to resentment.
Throwing unearned money and praise at Aborigines, encouraging them to speak tribal languages with Stone-Age vocabularies understood by a few 100 people at most in a highly industrialised country in the 21st century means blocking them from gaining the dignity of purpose needed to thrive.
Being encouraged to keep practicing a culture celebrated for not having evolved in 60,000 years without the need to do hunting and gathering or seeking water – while having access to plenty of fast food, alcohol and porn inevitably propagate conditions for poor life outcomes, early deaths.
Normalising violence to keep Aborigines + the Sudanese out of jail has devastating consequences for all of us irrespective of our backgrounds or life-choices even in million $ home suburbs of Melbourne.

Last edited 9 months ago by Katalin Kish
Sophy T
Sophy T
9 months ago

While it is not true to say that every Australian who votes No in the Voice referendum is a racist,” says columnist Niki Savva, “you can bet your bottom dollar that every racist will vote No.
Can’t he/she come up with something slightly more original? That trope has come up in every article and article’s comments on Brexit since the vote seven years ago.
It’s on a par with ‘see it, say it, sorted’.

0 0
0 0
9 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

The repost is: “because racists are a vanishing minority in Australia, they won’t make much difference.”
That’s not the point, of course, of this slur. It’s an attempt; childish, deceptive and oblique, to make people who intend to vote No, feel like they are racist.
Unfortunately, public debate in Australia has descended to the point where one is called racist for opposing a proposition that is racist at its core.
Orwellian indeed.

0 0
0 0
9 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

The repost is: “because racists are a vanishing minority in Australia, they won’t make much difference.”
That’s not the point, of course, of this slur. It’s an attempt; childish, deceptive and oblique, to make people who intend to vote No, feel like they are racist.
Unfortunately, public debate in Australia has descended to the point where one is called racist for opposing a proposition that is racist at its core.
Orwellian indeed.

Sophy T
Sophy T
9 months ago

While it is not true to say that every Australian who votes No in the Voice referendum is a racist,” says columnist Niki Savva, “you can bet your bottom dollar that every racist will vote No.
Can’t he/she come up with something slightly more original? That trope has come up in every article and article’s comments on Brexit since the vote seven years ago.
It’s on a par with ‘see it, say it, sorted’.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
9 months ago

About that paying of “rent for stolen” land, what were the indigenous people doing with that vast territory before the English got there in 1788? After 60,000 years it was inevitable someone would come along and develop the place.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

We’re damned lucky it wasn’t the Chinese. Or even worse the French!

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
9 months ago

If it had been the Chinese, there wouldn’t be any aboriginals to put a case forward.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
9 months ago

If it had been the Chinese, there wouldn’t be any aboriginals to put a case forward.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
9 months ago

The minute someone establishes a settlement nearby with reliable food supply through agriculture, the hunting & gathering way of life is doomed except as a recreation.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

We’re damned lucky it wasn’t the Chinese. Or even worse the French!

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
9 months ago

The minute someone establishes a settlement nearby with reliable food supply through agriculture, the hunting & gathering way of life is doomed except as a recreation.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
9 months ago

About that paying of “rent for stolen” land, what were the indigenous people doing with that vast territory before the English got there in 1788? After 60,000 years it was inevitable someone would come along and develop the place.

Tom Chambers
Tom Chambers
9 months ago

Australians sceptical of the value of the Voice are entirely correct.
In New Zealand the Treaty of Waitangi is being completely redefined by the elites especially the supreme court. There is going to be serious strife in the years ahead.
Avoid the Voice at all costs.

Tom Chambers
Tom Chambers
9 months ago

Australians sceptical of the value of the Voice are entirely correct.
In New Zealand the Treaty of Waitangi is being completely redefined by the elites especially the supreme court. There is going to be serious strife in the years ahead.
Avoid the Voice at all costs.

F Hugh Eveleigh
F Hugh Eveleigh
9 months ago

Nicely balanced article exposing much of the background to the Voice proposal. Like a number of the comments below I see the Yes vote as yet another bureaucratic money-gobbling level of federal government where indigenous and part indigenous people are preferenced above all other citizens. This is fundamentally wrong. We are all equal under the Crown and were so from the late eighteenth century and besides there are well over 50 bodies (some say many more) whose sole aim is to assist the descendants of the original inhabitants but in all the years very little has been achieved although billions have been spent. There are manifold reasons for this failure but listening to the honeyed tones of Albanese, (becoming less honeyed these days and concomitantly more strident), whose voice is the Voice, the suspicions are confirmed that to vote Yes would be a catastrophic societal mistake.
Pauline Hanson, one of the very few straight talking and generally prescient Senators, who rumbles the Left to vitriol with her pointedly accurate statements, summates it all. She knows her facts and states them. Not a good look for the virtue-seeking politician intoning aboriginal tribal names for their gracious permission in allowing a concert to proceed in an auditorium. But she and her ilk are needed to balance the Establishment’s vision.

Last edited 9 months ago by F Hugh Eveleigh
F Hugh Eveleigh
F Hugh Eveleigh
9 months ago

Nicely balanced article exposing much of the background to the Voice proposal. Like a number of the comments below I see the Yes vote as yet another bureaucratic money-gobbling level of federal government where indigenous and part indigenous people are preferenced above all other citizens. This is fundamentally wrong. We are all equal under the Crown and were so from the late eighteenth century and besides there are well over 50 bodies (some say many more) whose sole aim is to assist the descendants of the original inhabitants but in all the years very little has been achieved although billions have been spent. There are manifold reasons for this failure but listening to the honeyed tones of Albanese, (becoming less honeyed these days and concomitantly more strident), whose voice is the Voice, the suspicions are confirmed that to vote Yes would be a catastrophic societal mistake.
Pauline Hanson, one of the very few straight talking and generally prescient Senators, who rumbles the Left to vitriol with her pointedly accurate statements, summates it all. She knows her facts and states them. Not a good look for the virtue-seeking politician intoning aboriginal tribal names for their gracious permission in allowing a concert to proceed in an auditorium. But she and her ilk are needed to balance the Establishment’s vision.

Last edited 9 months ago by F Hugh Eveleigh
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

I used to think of Australia as the land of Breaker Morant, Gallipoli, Donald Bradman, Crocodile Dundee and Rolf Harris etc.

After the 2018 ‘Sandpapergate’ scandal and the truly astonishing sight of the Australian Cricket Captain openly blubbing on worldwide TV, I had to revise my opinion.

Now this! What has happened ‘down under’ may I ask?

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago

Aussies would rather not think about Rolf Harris. And how could you leave out Margot Robbie and Kylie Minogue!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

Aren’t they ‘wimmin’?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

Aren’t they ‘wimmin’?

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago

Australia has been successfully faking a squeaky-clean, happy-go-lucky image to the world that has little to do with the reality those discover, who happen to witness as a public servants crimes punishable by 10 years in jail/worse, and are naive enough to try to report the crimes witnessed to Victoria Police. Look up my name for my desperate public interest disclosures from Facebook to LinkedIn and everything in between: I need to know that I did not stay silent.
The incompetent hubris of Australia’s politicians is the scariest part though, because of the obvious ignorance, wilful blindness of electors.
Clare O’Neil‘s performance is the most unfortunate given my own extensive, ongoing experience with devastating cyber-crimes 2009-current.
Clare O’Neil was appointed as Australia’s Minister for Cyber Security and Home Affairs in May 2022, she had been the federal MP for my electorate in inner-Melbourne since 2013, yet she was shocked to discover that Australia had no cyber-security incident response capabilities even planned until the end of 2022. Clare O’Neil cheerfully blames the previous government for her failings as an ongoing insult to our intelligence/sense of propriety.
Clare O’Neil may have unleashed state sponsored cyber terrorism on the world via her Hack Back initiative, because no one can control opportunistic insiders from the Australian Signals Directorate/similar. Tech capabilities far beyond what civilian experts know about have been flaunted by Australia’s organised-crime participants like toddlers show off a new puppy since 2009 at least. In 2022 I had the dubious honour of experiencing a Faraday Cage penetration in my million $ home in a leafy Melbourne suburb – in Clare O’Neil‘s electorate.
I stopped trying to report cyber crimes in 2016 to save my sanity, stopped trying to report any crimes in 2018. There is no point. Last home break-in that I know of over night from the 13th to the 14th of April 2023, I caught a thief stealing from my garage in July 2022.
Clare O’Neil keeps asserting her aim of Australia to become the world’s most cyber secure country by 2030.
Apart from the fact that there is no such thing as the world’s most cyber secure country, it must be noted that Australia never had functional law-enforcement. What Raymond T. Hoser documented in 1999 at an enormous personal sacrifice only became worse via technology pouring into fake law-and-order Australia via Five Eyes, AUKUS and who knows what else.
Australia has no FBI equivalent.
We only have police without duty of care or accountability, while having a monopoly on what is a crime. We have a plethora of statutory and regulatory bodies, ombudsmen, commissions, inquiries etc only for the illusion of transparency. A Royal Commission’s findings into paedophilia have been suppressed for 80(!) years.
I had exhausted all legal avenues prior to making public interest disclosures on all platforms possible to stop an ex-coworker stalker’s crimes against me and learned that a crime is only a crime if a police officer acknowledges it as a crime, and evidence doesn’t exist unless a police officer accepts it – after having acknowledged a crime as a crime. Consequently we have fabulous crime statistics, because
crimes never investigated = crimes never happened.
I never even dated the stalker, bikies, Victoria Police officers or any other criminals.
As an IT Helpdesk Assistant at the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) the stalker had unrestricted access to every woman’s up-to-date home address, the addresses of people in witness protection, etc., when he added me to his already extensive list of concurrent targets, because I became an e-commerce world-champion in my postgrad studies while working at the VEC as a Business Analyst in 2009.
In 2019 while Victoria Police forced me to fight at court in an admitted silencing attempt, I finally saw Victoria Police officers openly participating in the stalker’s crimes against me in broad daylight.
Not surprisingly our police have missed out on decades of incremental learning about technology used in crimes, as well as investigating crimes in general.
In Australia might = right, as it always has been.
It makes no difference whether anyone gets a voice or not.
Dogs bark, the caravan moves on.

Last edited 9 months ago by Katalin Kish
Tina D
Tina D
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

What are you on about? Your reply is barely comprehendible and off topic

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

Thank you. That will take sometime to digest!

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

Am I getting Australia’s bikies to subscribe to Unherd?
Also corrupt Australian government insiders?
Let’s hope so 🙂
Maybe they will also read some stuff while they are here 🙂
I am being attacked on every platform by both, those for whom Australia’s absurd crime reality is too hard to accept, and those who directly benefit from Australia’s lawlessness. Attacks happen via sabotaging my Internet access, my social media access, my posts, etc. also.
It is good to know that my comments are seen by those whose comfort needs to be shaken 🙂

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

PS: several of my public LinkedIn posts expressing angst about Australia never having had functional law-enforcement, bikies making billions $ in the drug-trade yearly, and our dismal prospects, given Clare O’Neil’s* incompetent hubris/vanity have disappeared without a warning.
Tech, including cyber-tech far beyond what’s known to civilian experts at the time have been used against me since 2009 in an ongoing crime-spree in physical and cyber-space by an ex-coworker stalker organised-crime info source. I never even dated the stalker. Using tech not known to civilian experts in bizarre, seemingly pointless crimes is a long-established crime witness/victim discreditation strategy of Victoria Police officers and their accomplices. See Raymond T. Hoser’s brave publications about Victoria Police corruption.
The disappearance of my public LinkedIn posts that were possibly damaging to the ongoing risk-free operation of Australia’s bikie gangs has nothing to do with bikies doing victory-laps around my home since I discovered the disappearance. Of course not.
As a public servant witness to crimes punishable by 10 years in jail/worse, whom Victoria Police have been trying to silence since 2009, I will continue making public interest disclosures about Australia’s absurd crime reality via every possible platform, until I see positive, material changes to Australia’s crime fighting ability/willingness. Since Australia faked its way into Five Eyes, AUKUS, etc., and the Internet is everywhere, Australia’s lawlessness poses a significant global threat.
#ididnotstaysilent
https://www.linkedin.com/in/katalin-kish-38750b154/

* Australia’s Minister for Cyber Security AND Home Affairs no less since mid-2022.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

PS: several of my public LinkedIn posts expressing angst about Australia never having had functional law-enforcement, bikies making billions $ in the drug-trade yearly, and our dismal prospects, given Clare O’Neil’s* incompetent hubris/vanity have disappeared without a warning.
Tech, including cyber-tech far beyond what’s known to civilian experts at the time have been used against me since 2009 in an ongoing crime-spree in physical and cyber-space by an ex-coworker stalker organised-crime info source. I never even dated the stalker. Using tech not known to civilian experts in bizarre, seemingly pointless crimes is a long-established crime witness/victim discreditation strategy of Victoria Police officers and their accomplices. See Raymond T. Hoser’s brave publications about Victoria Police corruption.
The disappearance of my public LinkedIn posts that were possibly damaging to the ongoing risk-free operation of Australia’s bikie gangs has nothing to do with bikies doing victory-laps around my home since I discovered the disappearance. Of course not.
As a public servant witness to crimes punishable by 10 years in jail/worse, whom Victoria Police have been trying to silence since 2009, I will continue making public interest disclosures about Australia’s absurd crime reality via every possible platform, until I see positive, material changes to Australia’s crime fighting ability/willingness. Since Australia faked its way into Five Eyes, AUKUS, etc., and the Internet is everywhere, Australia’s lawlessness poses a significant global threat.
#ididnotstaysilent
https://www.linkedin.com/in/katalin-kish-38750b154/

* Australia’s Minister for Cyber Security AND Home Affairs no less since mid-2022.

Tina D
Tina D
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

What are you on about? Your reply is barely comprehendible and off topic

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

Thank you. That will take sometime to digest!

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Katalin Kish

Am I getting Australia’s bikies to subscribe to Unherd?
Also corrupt Australian government insiders?
Let’s hope so 🙂
Maybe they will also read some stuff while they are here 🙂
I am being attacked on every platform by both, those for whom Australia’s absurd crime reality is too hard to accept, and those who directly benefit from Australia’s lawlessness. Attacks happen via sabotaging my Internet access, my social media access, my posts, etc. also.
It is good to know that my comments are seen by those whose comfort needs to be shaken 🙂

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago

Aussies would rather not think about Rolf Harris. And how could you leave out Margot Robbie and Kylie Minogue!

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago

Australia has been successfully faking a squeaky-clean, happy-go-lucky image to the world that has little to do with the reality those discover, who happen to witness as a public servants crimes punishable by 10 years in jail/worse, and are naive enough to try to report the crimes witnessed to Victoria Police. Look up my name for my desperate public interest disclosures from Facebook to LinkedIn and everything in between: I need to know that I did not stay silent.
The incompetent hubris of Australia’s politicians is the scariest part though, because of the obvious ignorance, wilful blindness of electors.
Clare O’Neil‘s performance is the most unfortunate given my own extensive, ongoing experience with devastating cyber-crimes 2009-current.
Clare O’Neil was appointed as Australia’s Minister for Cyber Security and Home Affairs in May 2022, she had been the federal MP for my electorate in inner-Melbourne since 2013, yet she was shocked to discover that Australia had no cyber-security incident response capabilities even planned until the end of 2022. Clare O’Neil cheerfully blames the previous government for her failings as an ongoing insult to our intelligence/sense of propriety.
Clare O’Neil may have unleashed state sponsored cyber terrorism on the world via her Hack Back initiative, because no one can control opportunistic insiders from the Australian Signals Directorate/similar. Tech capabilities far beyond what civilian experts know about have been flaunted by Australia’s organised-crime participants like toddlers show off a new puppy since 2009 at least. In 2022 I had the dubious honour of experiencing a Faraday Cage penetration in my million $ home in a leafy Melbourne suburb – in Clare O’Neil‘s electorate.
I stopped trying to report cyber crimes in 2016 to save my sanity, stopped trying to report any crimes in 2018. There is no point. Last home break-in that I know of over night from the 13th to the 14th of April 2023, I caught a thief stealing from my garage in July 2022.
Clare O’Neil keeps asserting her aim of Australia to become the world’s most cyber secure country by 2030.
Apart from the fact that there is no such thing as the world’s most cyber secure country, it must be noted that Australia never had functional law-enforcement. What Raymond T. Hoser documented in 1999 at an enormous personal sacrifice only became worse via technology pouring into fake law-and-order Australia via Five Eyes, AUKUS and who knows what else.
Australia has no FBI equivalent.
We only have police without duty of care or accountability, while having a monopoly on what is a crime. We have a plethora of statutory and regulatory bodies, ombudsmen, commissions, inquiries etc only for the illusion of transparency. A Royal Commission’s findings into paedophilia have been suppressed for 80(!) years.
I had exhausted all legal avenues prior to making public interest disclosures on all platforms possible to stop an ex-coworker stalker’s crimes against me and learned that a crime is only a crime if a police officer acknowledges it as a crime, and evidence doesn’t exist unless a police officer accepts it – after having acknowledged a crime as a crime. Consequently we have fabulous crime statistics, because
crimes never investigated = crimes never happened.
I never even dated the stalker, bikies, Victoria Police officers or any other criminals.
As an IT Helpdesk Assistant at the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) the stalker had unrestricted access to every woman’s up-to-date home address, the addresses of people in witness protection, etc., when he added me to his already extensive list of concurrent targets, because I became an e-commerce world-champion in my postgrad studies while working at the VEC as a Business Analyst in 2009.
In 2019 while Victoria Police forced me to fight at court in an admitted silencing attempt, I finally saw Victoria Police officers openly participating in the stalker’s crimes against me in broad daylight.
Not surprisingly our police have missed out on decades of incremental learning about technology used in crimes, as well as investigating crimes in general.
In Australia might = right, as it always has been.
It makes no difference whether anyone gets a voice or not.
Dogs bark, the caravan moves on.

Last edited 9 months ago by Katalin Kish
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

I used to think of Australia as the land of Breaker Morant, Gallipoli, Donald Bradman, Crocodile Dundee and Rolf Harris etc.

After the 2018 ‘Sandpapergate’ scandal and the truly astonishing sight of the Australian Cricket Captain openly blubbing on worldwide TV, I had to revise my opinion.

Now this! What has happened ‘down under’ may I ask?

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
9 months ago

“Decades of welfare and countless government programmes have barely shifted the dial. Indeed, the social fabric in remote Aboriginal communities has rapidly deteriorated.”
If the worse things get, the more money you throw at the professional Victim class, you can bet that they will continue to get worse. The professional Victims will never stop demanding more money and more power until whitey simply stops handing it over. In Canada the Indians are now hereditary aristocrats who form a layer of government which can veto any other. Indians are born with racial rights that ordinary folks can never have. Our government throws tens of billions of dollars at them but it only gets worse.
Better to just face the fact that the stone age is over and stone age people are going to have difficulty adapting to the modern world, of course, but ‘respecting their culture’ will not help. The stone age is over.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
9 months ago

“Decades of welfare and countless government programmes have barely shifted the dial. Indeed, the social fabric in remote Aboriginal communities has rapidly deteriorated.”
If the worse things get, the more money you throw at the professional Victim class, you can bet that they will continue to get worse. The professional Victims will never stop demanding more money and more power until whitey simply stops handing it over. In Canada the Indians are now hereditary aristocrats who form a layer of government which can veto any other. Indians are born with racial rights that ordinary folks can never have. Our government throws tens of billions of dollars at them but it only gets worse.
Better to just face the fact that the stone age is over and stone age people are going to have difficulty adapting to the modern world, of course, but ‘respecting their culture’ will not help. The stone age is over.

Peter Kingsford
Peter Kingsford
9 months ago

Leaving aside the manifold logistical aspects-such as what actually qualifies one to claim Aboriginality, or how the Voice representatives would be chosen (from the 500 or so tribal groups), or what powers and influence it would confer-parliamentary representation already exists. There are currently 11 indigenous federal MPs (out of a total of 151) for 3% of the population, so in pure number terms they are overrepresented.
I feel the vast majority of Aussies want to help improve the lives of those less fortunate, but a racist, divisive spanner in our constitutional works isn’t the answer. As Jacinta Price (former mayor of Alice Springs and now MP) has said ‘It’s not as though we don’t have.a voice, it’s that Canberra doesn’t listen’.

Peter Kingsford
Peter Kingsford
9 months ago

Leaving aside the manifold logistical aspects-such as what actually qualifies one to claim Aboriginality, or how the Voice representatives would be chosen (from the 500 or so tribal groups), or what powers and influence it would confer-parliamentary representation already exists. There are currently 11 indigenous federal MPs (out of a total of 151) for 3% of the population, so in pure number terms they are overrepresented.
I feel the vast majority of Aussies want to help improve the lives of those less fortunate, but a racist, divisive spanner in our constitutional works isn’t the answer. As Jacinta Price (former mayor of Alice Springs and now MP) has said ‘It’s not as though we don’t have.a voice, it’s that Canberra doesn’t listen’.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
9 months ago

Since time immemorial stronger peoples have overthrown the weaker. And it was very much a case of end of. The Romans, Vikings and Normans didn’t go in for much heart searching. Fit in or go under.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
9 months ago

Since time immemorial stronger peoples have overthrown the weaker. And it was very much a case of end of. The Romans, Vikings and Normans didn’t go in for much heart searching. Fit in or go under.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
9 months ago

Take it from a Canadian who has watched our Truth and Reconciliation Committee try to “erase the nation’s shame” (as Mr. Cater puts it, above) – this approach does not work. Canada has never been more divided, with no end to it in sight.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
9 months ago

Take it from a Canadian who has watched our Truth and Reconciliation Committee try to “erase the nation’s shame” (as Mr. Cater puts it, above) – this approach does not work. Canada has never been more divided, with no end to it in sight.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
9 months ago

Unherd has chosen to illustrate this article with an extremely offensive picture of somebody wearing whiteface.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Really? I thought he was shaving.

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Really? I thought he was shaving.

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Steven Carr
Steven Carr
9 months ago

Unherd has chosen to illustrate this article with an extremely offensive picture of somebody wearing whiteface.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
9 months ago

According to Wikipedia, Ken Wyatt was the first Indigenous Australian elected to the House of Representatives, the first to serve as a government minister, and the first appointed to cabinet.
In what sense is he a ‘Native’ Australian in the way that other Australians aren’t?

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
9 months ago

According to Wikipedia, Ken Wyatt was the first Indigenous Australian elected to the House of Representatives, the first to serve as a government minister, and the first appointed to cabinet.
In what sense is he a ‘Native’ Australian in the way that other Australians aren’t?

Chipoko
Chipoko
9 months ago

Vote ‘NO!’

Chipoko
Chipoko
9 months ago

Vote ‘NO!’

Margaret Ford
Margaret Ford
9 months ago

Don’t you mean the High Court, the highest Australian court, not the “Supreme Court”? Unless we in Australia have suddenly become the 51st State of the USA?

Margaret Ford
Margaret Ford
9 months ago

Don’t you mean the High Court, the highest Australian court, not the “Supreme Court”? Unless we in Australia have suddenly become the 51st State of the USA?

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
9 months ago

New Zealand adopted this policy with Māori in the 90s. It created a rich class of Māori leaders. It didn’t take the poorest Māori out of poverty or ill health. It did, however, give many of them a ready excuse for behaviour and cultural practices that led to poverty and ill health, thereby removing much of the stimulus for personal and cultural change.

Lung cancer? Blame the Pakeha’s (European’s) one-sided exploitation of a treaty signed almost 200 years ago, not tobacco. Unemployed? Nothing to do with persistent school absenteeism, it’s a historical inevitability. In jail? Surely not connected with a culture that encourages fecklessness and aggressive behaviour in young men! It’s all the fault of the colonial settlers.

One of worst things you can do for a person is to provide him with an external excuse for bad behaviour and it’s consequences. Suddenly it’s not his fault! He’s no longer responsible for his behaviour! He loses any incentive to make changes, particularly if those excuses are accompanied by generous handouts. A liberal’s dream can poison those it aims to help and imprison them in their circumstances.

The same applies to whole classes and cultures. The consequences of BLM are just the latest illustration of what happens when a group of people are allowed to behave badly and blame it on another group, and get money for being titled as victims.

New Zealand in the 1990s inadvertently created a hungry, greedy monster at the exact moment when true biracial integration was about to become reality. It hasn’t helped most Māori. It’s engendered a sense of unearned entitlement and blame in many. It’s polarised the population and killed the unforced integration that was happening quite naturally.

Look across the Tasman, Australians. See the mistakes of others and learn from them. Vote ’No’.

Paul Curtis
Paul Curtis
9 months ago

The Voice has caused some very interesting debate in Australia. I do believe though, that a fundamental question has not been asked. That question is, “who is an Aboriginal?” I work in the medical field in country Queensland. Our Medicare system prioritises and subsidises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Many non Aboriginals claim these financial advantages because, “they identify as Aboriginal”. Could I claim representation on “The Voice” because I “identify” as such? Throughout the media here I have not heard one mention of the definition of the person who should be privileged to receive this special representation.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
9 months ago

Australia is quite a large country.
Surely we could carve off a massive chunk of it as a gift to the Indigenous and it could be their homeland , that they own and run. Independence and self-determination are wonderful assets that could be theirs for the asking.

Peter D
Peter D
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Ok, lets play devils advocate here and say we give them the western half of the country (lots of resources and more like pre-European settlement) and move all the white people out of the Western parts and all the Aboriginals out of the Eastern parts. They have their own country and Western Countries steer clear. The Chinese will be in like a shot. First as partners, then as debtors, then as owners.
Thoughts anyone???

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

There are large chunks with exactly that already. However, if the independent owners self-determine that they’d be quite happy with, say, an LNG plant or fracking on their land in exchange for royalties and jobs, the battalions of lefty lawyers and media advocates come flying in from everywhere to tell them they’ve self-determined the Wrong Decision and a political storm erupts.

Peter D
Peter D
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Ok, lets play devils advocate here and say we give them the western half of the country (lots of resources and more like pre-European settlement) and move all the white people out of the Western parts and all the Aboriginals out of the Eastern parts. They have their own country and Western Countries steer clear. The Chinese will be in like a shot. First as partners, then as debtors, then as owners.
Thoughts anyone???

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

There are large chunks with exactly that already. However, if the independent owners self-determine that they’d be quite happy with, say, an LNG plant or fracking on their land in exchange for royalties and jobs, the battalions of lefty lawyers and media advocates come flying in from everywhere to tell them they’ve self-determined the Wrong Decision and a political storm erupts.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
9 months ago

Australia is quite a large country.
Surely we could carve off a massive chunk of it as a gift to the Indigenous and it could be their homeland , that they own and run. Independence and self-determination are wonderful assets that could be theirs for the asking.

Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
9 months ago

A predictable opinion piece from the ever bumptious Nick Cater, and equally predictable comments most of which are along the lines of “I am not a racist but
”
My eyes rolled when several praised the small-minded and embittered Pauline Hanson, whom none of our mainstream political parties will work with.
I note that there is but one Yes supporter. There are now two.
As a British-born Australian well-informed about Australian history, politics and society, for all our rhetoric about multiculturalism, mateship and the “fair go”, indigenous Australians are at the bottom of the social end economic pyramid. I believe that beneath the carapace our Aussie egalitarianism some folk are indeed more equal than others. 
The Aboriginal and Torrest Strait Islander Voice to Parliament is a simple, practical and fair solution – and a positive step in the right direction. It will be empowering, accountable, transparent, enabling indigenous voices who have not been listened to in the past to be heard in the corridors of power. Changing the constitution will not address past hurts but it is a way forward that will bring us all together as Australians.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Hemphill

“Past hurts”? This is typical of the modern left’s rhetoric: it plays upon white guilt by arguing we can rectify vague historic errors by appeal to equally vague moral ideals. Just what is the wrong and just how can it be righted? (The only thing you need to know is public choice theory: these political bodies serve political, not moral, ends, and will advance their own interests above their constituents’.)
Isn’t the evidence clear that Aboriginal society was and is badly inferior to Anglo-Australian society by almost every conceivable measure of social flourishing – education, family formation, income, health, etc.? To whom does modern Australia owe more for its civilizational successes – the English settlers or the Aboriginal natives?
Of course it is a bitter pill for Aboriginals to swallow, to realize that their people were simply less successful at social development than were the white colonizers. But how strange that it is also a bitter pill for the whites to swallow, too.

Peter D
Peter D
9 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

So true Kirk, it is a bitter pill for white people to swallow. Just reading what you wrote made sense yet made me feel uneasy. This is just very typical of a Western perspective.
The West is very unique in human history. Never before has a culture become so dominant yet so willing to share our knowledge and lift people up regardless of their background. We have traveled the globe and met new peoples and cultures and at times been in complete awe (The Mughal Court) and at other times believed that we can raise the people up to a modern standard (Parts of Africa, Oceania, etc).
People who criticise the West do so because of their destructive left wing bent or because they cannot tell the difference between Hollywood movies and a documentary. Many people of various ethnic backgrounds see the West for the amazing benefits it provides. Security and freedom, tradition and progress, opportunity and reality. These are things that have been exclusive of each other elsewhere. We should be proud of what our ancestors built and grateful for what we have. Instead, we throw it away without understanding what we have.

Peter D
Peter D
9 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

So true Kirk, it is a bitter pill for white people to swallow. Just reading what you wrote made sense yet made me feel uneasy. This is just very typical of a Western perspective.
The West is very unique in human history. Never before has a culture become so dominant yet so willing to share our knowledge and lift people up regardless of their background. We have traveled the globe and met new peoples and cultures and at times been in complete awe (The Mughal Court) and at other times believed that we can raise the people up to a modern standard (Parts of Africa, Oceania, etc).
People who criticise the West do so because of their destructive left wing bent or because they cannot tell the difference between Hollywood movies and a documentary. Many people of various ethnic backgrounds see the West for the amazing benefits it provides. Security and freedom, tradition and progress, opportunity and reality. These are things that have been exclusive of each other elsewhere. We should be proud of what our ancestors built and grateful for what we have. Instead, we throw it away without understanding what we have.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Hemphill

“Past hurts”? This is typical of the modern left’s rhetoric: it plays upon white guilt by arguing we can rectify vague historic errors by appeal to equally vague moral ideals. Just what is the wrong and just how can it be righted? (The only thing you need to know is public choice theory: these political bodies serve political, not moral, ends, and will advance their own interests above their constituents’.)
Isn’t the evidence clear that Aboriginal society was and is badly inferior to Anglo-Australian society by almost every conceivable measure of social flourishing – education, family formation, income, health, etc.? To whom does modern Australia owe more for its civilizational successes – the English settlers or the Aboriginal natives?
Of course it is a bitter pill for Aboriginals to swallow, to realize that their people were simply less successful at social development than were the white colonizers. But how strange that it is also a bitter pill for the whites to swallow, too.

Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
9 months ago

A predictable opinion piece from the ever bumptious Nick Cater, and equally predictable comments most of which are along the lines of “I am not a racist but
”
My eyes rolled when several praised the small-minded and embittered Pauline Hanson, whom none of our mainstream political parties will work with.
I note that there is but one Yes supporter. There are now two.
As a British-born Australian well-informed about Australian history, politics and society, for all our rhetoric about multiculturalism, mateship and the “fair go”, indigenous Australians are at the bottom of the social end economic pyramid. I believe that beneath the carapace our Aussie egalitarianism some folk are indeed more equal than others. 
The Aboriginal and Torrest Strait Islander Voice to Parliament is a simple, practical and fair solution – and a positive step in the right direction. It will be empowering, accountable, transparent, enabling indigenous voices who have not been listened to in the past to be heard in the corridors of power. Changing the constitution will not address past hurts but it is a way forward that will bring us all together as Australians.

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago

I’ve been reading Daughters of the Dreaming by Diane Bell (anthropoligst who lived in the women’s camp in an Aboriginal community) and also Holding Yawulyu: White Culture and Black Women’s Law by Zohl d’Ishtar who has lived for many years among Aboriginal women. The circumstances of the women they write about are complex and require women balancing their ancient religious ways and obligations to the land and to the well-being of their own communities with the demands of white bureaucrats, who tend to come and go and make decisions that suit white bureaucratic needs, often completely unaware of the trouble their decisions are causing.
Personally, I am also aware of the history of my own family’s role in dispossession and the contribution local Aboriginal people in regional NSW make to our community. I know that my family only held land because it was taken from Aboriginal custodians.
I know that racism is rife in Australia. Aboriginal people are much more likely to be arrested for trivial offences and jailed for them than are white Australians. A recent ABC law report was about the failure of our legal system to provide interpreters when Aboriginal people, who do not speak English, or for whom it is their 2nd, 3rd or 4th language, appear before the courts.
The other image that stays in my mind is John Howard in 1997 holding up a map and saying to the tv audience  â€œThe Labor Party and the Democrats are effectively saying that the Aboriginal people of Australia should have the potential right of veto over further development of 78 per cent of the landmass of Australia.” He threatened white Australians that we would all lose our backyards. This nasty little man has had such a negative influence in this country, and I wonder if we might all be less racist if he had never appeared on the political scene. He is also the one who claimed that asylum seekers had thrown their children overboard.
I am also aware that we once had an Aboriginal voice to parliament and the government of the day abolished it (claiming it was corrupt, a label which, of course, could never be applied to any of our recent governments!). The only way to ensure that Aboriginal views can be shared is to enshrine the Voice in the constitution.
Whenever I see an article about the Voice, I know it will attract a stream of comments threatening us all with loss of our rights, our democracy and our national independence if we vote Yes. We are threatened with sinister outcomes. Bah!
In the light of all of the above, I will be voting Yes.

Max Price
Max Price
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

You are the only person I have ever heard who defends ATSIC. It was abolished by the Howard government with the full support of the opposition because of obscene levels of corruption, sleaze and rank nepotism. Both sides of the media were on board and the loudest critics were indigenous leaders themselves.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
9 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

Yes, surprising that Janet didn’t know that. In claiming that Australia is rife with racism, she also ignored the fact that Nick Cater pointed out – that a resounding 90% of Australians voted Yes in 1967 to change the Constitution to allow the federal government to come in and spend a lot more on Aboriginal Affairs (previously it was a state government responsibility).

Janet might also be surprised that in the last census we found that the majority of married Aborigines were married to non-Aboriginal partners – which hardly sounds like a racist country.

Last edited 9 months ago by Russell Hamilton
Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago

In 1967 there was bipartisan support for the Yes vote. Australians voted to enable the Commonwealth government to make laws with regard to Aboriginal people and to allow Aboriginal people to be counted in the census.
In 1967 we did not have an Opposition speaking loudly against the referendum proposal.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

Do you acknowledge that the 1967 vote indicates that Australia is not a particularly racist country? It was a huge vote to change the Constitution to help Aborigines.

The fact that now there is more opposition to the current proposal suggests to me that the proponents of this proposal have not convinced a large proportion of the population that their proposition will benefit Aborigines (or anyone else).

Pretty much everyone who has seen the situation in some of the remote communities – the alcoholism, violence, sexual abuse of children etc. – wants the situation for those people improved. They would vote for some way to improve the situation, but many are unconvinced that this proposition would do that. Whatever the result of the referendum we will get The Voice, so we’ll see.

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

I wrote this comment yesterday and it did not remain. So I’ll try again.
Fifteen people object to a post that contains three statements of fact!

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

Do you acknowledge that the 1967 vote indicates that Australia is not a particularly racist country? It was a huge vote to change the Constitution to help Aborigines.

The fact that now there is more opposition to the current proposal suggests to me that the proponents of this proposal have not convinced a large proportion of the population that their proposition will benefit Aborigines (or anyone else).

Pretty much everyone who has seen the situation in some of the remote communities – the alcoholism, violence, sexual abuse of children etc. – wants the situation for those people improved. They would vote for some way to improve the situation, but many are unconvinced that this proposition would do that. Whatever the result of the referendum we will get The Voice, so we’ll see.

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

I wrote this comment yesterday and it did not remain. So I’ll try again.
Fifteen people object to a post that contains three statements of fact!

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago

In 1967 there was bipartisan support for the Yes vote. Australians voted to enable the Commonwealth government to make laws with regard to Aboriginal people and to allow Aboriginal people to be counted in the census.
In 1967 we did not have an Opposition speaking loudly against the referendum proposal.

Peter D
Peter D
9 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

ATSIC was a bottomless pit where money went to disappear. It did more harm than good.

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

I am not defending ATSIC. However, why did they not set it up anew with different personnel? Perhaps they were pleased to have a reason to get rid of it.

Last edited 9 months ago by Janet G
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

Janet, you strike me as extraordinarily naive here. “Ah, if only all the specific personnel had been different, its history would have been entirely different”!

You entirely ignore the iron law of bureaucracies, which is to preserve and increase the numbers involved and power of those bureaucracies, and that the interests of a politicised radical minority of an ethnic group rarely have anything much to do with the long term interests of the people they purport to represent.

There was undoubtedly cruelty and injustice done to the Aboriginal population in the white conquest of Australia, but there is no going back on that now. You yourself have benefited from this – do you feel strongly enough to leave the country?. In fact, as I assume you were born in Australia, you have as much right to be there, live your life and have your views count in the democratic process, as anyone else born there (or a naturalised citizen). However this applies equally to people with whom you disagree politically.

The increasingly hysterical screams of “racist” against anyone who thinks the re-introduction of race-based special interest pleading is not a good basis to run a society, at a time when without any doubt (based on survey evidence) people are less racist than ever before, there are more mixed marriages etc, is designed to simply shut down democratic debate and to impose a single (failed!) simplistic, and worse, incredibly divisive ideology. People are beginning to cotton on to this grift and it is beginning to lose its effectiveness throughout the West

Most people of Aboriginal descent do not want to be cut off entirely from the modern society that has emerged over the last 200 years. They should be equal citizens with the dignity of being able to work to support their own families and communities. By all means have anti-discrimination legislation. However, the end of a thriving Aboriginal population, is very unlikely to be achieved by a massive increase in government subsidies and boondoggles, however this is dressed up as “reparations”. It hasn’t actually made things any better, and arguably, by stripping away any agency and dignity from Aboriginal communities, made them much worse. And, as we can see, these sorts of proposals are incredibly divisive.

Deborah Grant
Deborah Grant
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Excellent comment.

Deborah Grant
Deborah Grant
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Excellent comment.

Max Price
Max Price
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

You demonstrably were defending ATSIC. “They” didn’t set it up with new personnel because the personnel wasn’t the problem. The problem was organisational and cultural.
And the Yes camp wants to do it again. Let’s set up an organisation of unelected elites and elders to sit on high and make policy. What could possibly go wrong?

Max Price
Max Price
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

It doesn’t matter anyway. The Yea campaign has been reduced to calling opponents racists and Albanese has been loose with the truth. The Australian people aren’t going to cop that. The voice is toast!

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

Don’t count on the voice being toast. Daniel Andrews was re-elected with a ‘danslide’ for another term after his Covid actions and what he has been doing to IBAC to say the least. Never underestimate the power of denial.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

Don’t count on the voice being toast. Daniel Andrews was re-elected with a ‘danslide’ for another term after his Covid actions and what he has been doing to IBAC to say the least. Never underestimate the power of denial.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

Janet, you strike me as extraordinarily naive here. “Ah, if only all the specific personnel had been different, its history would have been entirely different”!

You entirely ignore the iron law of bureaucracies, which is to preserve and increase the numbers involved and power of those bureaucracies, and that the interests of a politicised radical minority of an ethnic group rarely have anything much to do with the long term interests of the people they purport to represent.

There was undoubtedly cruelty and injustice done to the Aboriginal population in the white conquest of Australia, but there is no going back on that now. You yourself have benefited from this – do you feel strongly enough to leave the country?. In fact, as I assume you were born in Australia, you have as much right to be there, live your life and have your views count in the democratic process, as anyone else born there (or a naturalised citizen). However this applies equally to people with whom you disagree politically.

The increasingly hysterical screams of “racist” against anyone who thinks the re-introduction of race-based special interest pleading is not a good basis to run a society, at a time when without any doubt (based on survey evidence) people are less racist than ever before, there are more mixed marriages etc, is designed to simply shut down democratic debate and to impose a single (failed!) simplistic, and worse, incredibly divisive ideology. People are beginning to cotton on to this grift and it is beginning to lose its effectiveness throughout the West

Most people of Aboriginal descent do not want to be cut off entirely from the modern society that has emerged over the last 200 years. They should be equal citizens with the dignity of being able to work to support their own families and communities. By all means have anti-discrimination legislation. However, the end of a thriving Aboriginal population, is very unlikely to be achieved by a massive increase in government subsidies and boondoggles, however this is dressed up as “reparations”. It hasn’t actually made things any better, and arguably, by stripping away any agency and dignity from Aboriginal communities, made them much worse. And, as we can see, these sorts of proposals are incredibly divisive.

Max Price
Max Price
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

You demonstrably were defending ATSIC. “They” didn’t set it up with new personnel because the personnel wasn’t the problem. The problem was organisational and cultural.
And the Yes camp wants to do it again. Let’s set up an organisation of unelected elites and elders to sit on high and make policy. What could possibly go wrong?

Max Price
Max Price
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

It doesn’t matter anyway. The Yea campaign has been reduced to calling opponents racists and Albanese has been loose with the truth. The Australian people aren’t going to cop that. The voice is toast!

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
9 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

Yes, surprising that Janet didn’t know that. In claiming that Australia is rife with racism, she also ignored the fact that Nick Cater pointed out – that a resounding 90% of Australians voted Yes in 1967 to change the Constitution to allow the federal government to come in and spend a lot more on Aboriginal Affairs (previously it was a state government responsibility).

Janet might also be surprised that in the last census we found that the majority of married Aborigines were married to non-Aboriginal partners – which hardly sounds like a racist country.

Last edited 9 months ago by Russell Hamilton
Peter D
Peter D
9 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

ATSIC was a bottomless pit where money went to disappear. It did more harm than good.

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

I am not defending ATSIC. However, why did they not set it up anew with different personnel? Perhaps they were pleased to have a reason to get rid of it.

Last edited 9 months ago by Janet G
Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

Hi JG, you were the only Yes supporter amongst all the comments. There are now two of us. See my comment today, 3rd August. To quote young Wiradjuri woman, lawyer and campaigner, Taylah Grey, “The more people whose views I don‘t align with say no the more I’m inclined to say yes”.
“There’s no such thing as no. There’s just yes”. Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter, in Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review 

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Hemphill

That’s hardly an argument, just invective.
Here’s some more of that: in earth shattering news “lawyer urges public to vote for new legal gravy train”

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Hemphill

Thanks Paul Hemphill. I am not surprised that the NOs predominate. They tend to here and in the Spectator. Around our regional area there are Vote Yes signs in front yards.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Hemphill

That’s hardly an argument, just invective.
Here’s some more of that: in earth shattering news “lawyer urges public to vote for new legal gravy train”

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Hemphill

Thanks Paul Hemphill. I am not surprised that the NOs predominate. They tend to here and in the Spectator. Around our regional area there are Vote Yes signs in front yards.

Max Price
Max Price
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

You are the only person I have ever heard who defends ATSIC. It was abolished by the Howard government with the full support of the opposition because of obscene levels of corruption, sleaze and rank nepotism. Both sides of the media were on board and the loudest critics were indigenous leaders themselves.

Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
9 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

Hi JG, you were the only Yes supporter amongst all the comments. There are now two of us. See my comment today, 3rd August. To quote young Wiradjuri woman, lawyer and campaigner, Taylah Grey, “The more people whose views I don‘t align with say no the more I’m inclined to say yes”.
“There’s no such thing as no. There’s just yes”. Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter, in Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review 

Janet G
Janet G
9 months ago

I’ve been reading Daughters of the Dreaming by Diane Bell (anthropoligst who lived in the women’s camp in an Aboriginal community) and also Holding Yawulyu: White Culture and Black Women’s Law by Zohl d’Ishtar who has lived for many years among Aboriginal women. The circumstances of the women they write about are complex and require women balancing their ancient religious ways and obligations to the land and to the well-being of their own communities with the demands of white bureaucrats, who tend to come and go and make decisions that suit white bureaucratic needs, often completely unaware of the trouble their decisions are causing.
Personally, I am also aware of the history of my own family’s role in dispossession and the contribution local Aboriginal people in regional NSW make to our community. I know that my family only held land because it was taken from Aboriginal custodians.
I know that racism is rife in Australia. Aboriginal people are much more likely to be arrested for trivial offences and jailed for them than are white Australians. A recent ABC law report was about the failure of our legal system to provide interpreters when Aboriginal people, who do not speak English, or for whom it is their 2nd, 3rd or 4th language, appear before the courts.
The other image that stays in my mind is John Howard in 1997 holding up a map and saying to the tv audience  â€œThe Labor Party and the Democrats are effectively saying that the Aboriginal people of Australia should have the potential right of veto over further development of 78 per cent of the landmass of Australia.” He threatened white Australians that we would all lose our backyards. This nasty little man has had such a negative influence in this country, and I wonder if we might all be less racist if he had never appeared on the political scene. He is also the one who claimed that asylum seekers had thrown their children overboard.
I am also aware that we once had an Aboriginal voice to parliament and the government of the day abolished it (claiming it was corrupt, a label which, of course, could never be applied to any of our recent governments!). The only way to ensure that Aboriginal views can be shared is to enshrine the Voice in the constitution.
Whenever I see an article about the Voice, I know it will attract a stream of comments threatening us all with loss of our rights, our democracy and our national independence if we vote Yes. We are threatened with sinister outcomes. Bah!
In the light of all of the above, I will be voting Yes.