THE INDIGENOUS VOICE TO PARLIAMENT?
THE NO CASE
Foreword by David Flint
Paperback, 124 pages, $24.95
May 2023 Release
On becoming Prime Minister in May 2022, Anthony Albanese’s
very first commitment was that he would implement the Uluru Statement from
the Heart in full. That statement
encompasses a Voice to Parliament and Government, truth telling, treaty and
some form of Aboriginal sovereignty or self-government. The Voice is the first and enabling step to
these other demands.
It is not, as Albanese claims, a modest change and ‘just
good manners’. If this referendum
succeeds, it will be the most significant change the Constitution has ever
undergone and it will be a major concession to Aborigines. It will entrench in the Constitution an
eighth political entity alongside the Commonwealth and the States. But membership of this polity will be open only
to members of one particular race. And
it will not be content with merely issuing advice. It will, sooner rather than later, demand,
and exercise, power in its own right. It
will effectively, become a separate government for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
This booklet will explain how that might come about.
This proposal conflates two issues – advice to Parliament, and
Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal people. Much of the support for the latter aspect is
based on a genuine and understandable sympathy for the history and plight of
Aboriginal people. It is seen by many as
long overdue recompense for wrongs past and present. But much of this sympathy is built on
exaggerated claims and historical myths. This booklet will also examine the
issue of Constitutional recognition. It
will argue that if this is to happen, it should not be by means of the Voice.
Peter O’Brien, a retired army officer, is a frequent
contributor to Quadrant and Spectator magazines. He is also the author of Bitter Harvest –
the illusion of Aboriginal agriculture in Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu and Villain
or Victim – a defence of Sir John Kerr and the Reserve Powers.