“It doesn’t matter whether we were here 60,000 years ago or six months ago.” – Jacinta Nampijinpa Price.
Voice architects who think the No campaign has tapped into a “deep well of racism” could not be further from the truth.
The implicit condescending demonisation of their fellow Australians as racists is not just offensive, it is the primal scream from the death throes of the radical left’s latest attempt to transform our nation in its image.
Mainstream Australians, struggling with a cost-of-living crisis that has been caused largely by the political class’s misguided net zero policies, are repulsed because never have they felt more goodwill towards indigenous Australians.
Voice architect Noel Pearson could not be more wrong when the says there is “no plan B” for indigenous disadvantage if the Voice referendum is lost.
His vision of more power (only this time locked in the constitution) for the Aboriginal industry which has already had a seat at the table for decades as billions of dollars have been thrown at failed schemes, has been rejected in favour of something more attractive.
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, the main face of the No campaign, has offered a vision of national unity between black and white, accountability for spending, and a focus on need not race.
This is far more compelling, unifying and comes without rancour towards her fellow Australians.
While not denying our past (her relatives narrowly escaped the last massacre in the Northern Territory), she acknowledges the benefits of colonialism and is honest about negative aspects of Aboriginal culture which are hurting women and children and which have nothing to do with colonialism.
This doesn’t suit the narrative of the cultural Left which has wrongly diagnosed the problem of indigenous disadvantage as intergenerational trauma caused by colonisation and holds a romanticised view of indigenous culture.
It is of course a mistake to romanticise either colonialism or indigenous culture.
The inconvenient truth Price and her fellow No campaigner Warren Mundine point out is that scores of indigenous people are doing very well.
Opportunity abounds, unlike the lie at the heart of the latest Yes ad which features a little boy saying only Yes will make possible a bright future for him.
Rodney Rivers, a proud Aboriginal man who grew up in the Kimberley of Western Australian told me on ADH TV last week that he grew up in the 1950s with opportunities that led him to good jobs in forestry and earth moving.
His sons are today successful indigenous men, one a medical researcher.
The other lie is that the Voice is a “modest proposal”, as the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Yes 23 campaign keep saying.
Adding a new chapter in the constitution to create a new institution on the same level as the Parliament and the judiciary is not “modest”.
But the Yes campaign are not on the same page and this is confusing Australians and turning the mainstream against the Voice.
Voice proponents Megan Davis and George Williams, a constitutional lawyer, say:
“The voice to parliament is a structural reform. It is a change to the structure of Australia’s public institutions and would redistribute public power via the Constitution, Australia’s highest law.”
Nothing modest about that but we are told to vote Yes on the vibe.
The solution to disadvantage offered by Price and Mundine is one that transcends race and focusses on need.
Dysfunction is not a function of racism but of abuse, neglect and geography, they say.
Those pushing the Voice reject this and say dysfunction is a result of intergenerational trauma caused by colonisation and the latent racism of Australians.
They continue to claim sovereignty and want this recognised, creating a nation within a nation.
Since the dawn of time, people groups have moved about the surface of planet earth.
This is something Price and Mundine recognise as they promote a vision of national unity which includes everyone, whether they have been here for 60,000 years of six months.
No wonder our migrant communities are repulsed by the race-based politics of the Voice.
Our status as Australians in the rule book of the nation should not depend on who pre-dates who.
Equality under the law regardless of race is what has made Australia and other western nations great.
A great nation has been forged on this continent. A Yes vote entrenches the supposed illegitimacy of Australia and the perpetuation of indigenous victimhood motivated by a desire for revenge.
In contrast, a No vote unites us all around our common humanity and the deep reservoir of goodwill towards indigenous people that yearns to find ways that work to help those in need.
Lyle Shelton is National Director of the Family First Party. He started his career as a rural journalist before being elected as a member of the Toowoomba City Council and serving the Australian Christian Lobby for 10 years, half of that decade as ACL's Managing Director. He was a Director and spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage during the 2017 postal survey campaign which resulted in the legal undefinition of marriage. He also blogs here.
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