A belligerent Voice?

Andrew L. Urban

The Nationals ain’t black … they’re not voting for the Voice.

Remember when Joe Biden quipped in a 2020 election campaign TV interview, “If you don’t vote for me, you ain’t black…’? (Black dude’s jive accent ‘n all.) The Voice proposal is an echo of that sort of ingested racism. All blacks think and vote alike, goes the Biden doctrine. All indigenous people in Australia think and vote alike. They all want the same things, have the same answers and solutions to the problems they all see in the same way.

They must have the same political views, aspirations and expectations all over Australia, from cities to suburbs to remote communities, from university lecterns to roadside motor engineers and bus drivers. And they will so advise Parliament.

Not, however, politicians who refuse to have a single voice speak for them; Lidia Thorpe and Jacinta Nampijimpa Price wouldn’t both ‘vote for Joe’… Nor would Warren Mundine, and all three have a strong, well informed voice IN parliament, along with the eight other Aboriginal representatives.

And not single young men or married pensioners. Not socially conservative professionals or rebellious teenagers. Advocates for the Voice claim that it would provide advice to Parliament on issues that affect aboriginals. That’s straight out of the Joe Biden school of paternalistic benevolence. If you don’t vote for the Voice, you ain’t a friend of black Australia.

Good lord, how can intelligent and rational human beings not see the custom built racism on which the Voice concept rests.

Common or garden racism is exhibited when a racist assumes negative characteristics about a person of a different race, solely because of their race. (Take in the famous Martin Luther quote re colour of skin v content of character.) The Voice is the manifestation of assuming different, homogenous socio-political characteristics about a different race – different to white Australia. That is classic, unmitigated racism. Not the racism that segregates and lynches blacks but the racism that consigns Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to their own socio-political canteen. It is the benign but depressing racism of well meaning fools. But it could easily be manipulated by the elite Voice Guard to develop political muscles with workouts at the Grievance Gym.

Much has been written about this subject, and much more can be written about it. What stands out, though, is the misconceived basis on which advocates of the Voice defend the concept.

Why would the Voice achieve that which well intentioned, loud and public affirmation, a myriad support organisations and billions of dollars haven’t? Because like those, it would apply the wrong remedy; outsiders looking in. In this case, not white outsiders from the mainstream but indigenous outsiders from the mainstream. Even smugly worse …

The real remedy for the last remaining source of disadvantage for aboriginal communities in the self-imposed isolation of those remote communities, is their decision to assimilate. They would emerge from their communities, escaping from the self-perpetuating cycle of welfare and drug dependency, alcohol, domestic violence and hopelessness to discover that members of their tribes now live among all Australians in a society that provides 24/7 health care, food and housing to all who live here. Of course, they all have to take responsibility for their actions – as the late Bill Leak precisely pointed out in a cartoon that was totally misunderstood, perhaps by the same people who support the Voice.

The Australian mainstream offers protection and opportunities to all, whether white skinned or black. We even celebrate (sometimes too crudely and assertively) the indigenous tribes that came before; we recognise and pay tribute to them not just daily but every hour of every day, at every opportunity, on land and sea – and even in the air. The Aboriginal flag, its design copyright purchased for general public use by the government, flies alongside (and sometimes ahead of) the Australian flag.

Recognition has been ongoing for decades and policies are now made for all Australians as one nation, as one community. There are no corners of society, government, the law or institutions where Aborigines are discriminated AGAINST. Indeed, sometimes it is the other way round…notably in academe. There is no greater social taboo than to be perceived as insensitive to Aboriginal culture, history and needs. Such has been the depth and tangible effect of the private and public acts of recognition – and the ‘sorry’. Not that the reconciliation that was intended by the apology has ever been achieved by a matching nod of forgiveness. That is where we would find genuine reconciliation:

“Sorry brother”
“We’re good bro”

As historian Hannah Arendt noted, “In the case of the worst historical wrongs the victims and perpetrators die out – the one who gave offence and the person to whom offence was done. Some descendants may remember for a time. But as the insult and grievance fade from generation to generation those who hold on to this grievance are often regarded as displaying not sensitivity or honour but belligerence.”

The Voice would continue supporting that belligerence, not to improve anything, not eliciting that forgiveness, but to keep the belligerence alive. I’d throttle the Voice.


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2 Responses to A belligerent Voice?

  1. Garry Stannus says:

    Yes, Pearson’s comments are intemperate. But I’d rather focus on Putin’s attempt at regaining Russia’s Empire, on Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ and now … Heinrich III, Prince Reuss allegedly in cahoots with Germans wanting to overthrow the German Republic. At the same time citizens in Iran, in China and in Peru have come out to resist autocratic forms of government.

  2. andrew says:

    And right on cue, there comes Noel Pearson’s belligerence, as outlined by Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian (7 Dec). Excerpt: “Instead of putting forward intellectual arguments for the voice during his 17-minute (ABC) interview, Pearson chose instead to launch a series of nasty attacks on those who dared to disagree with him.

    “Pearson attacked Nationals leader David Littleproud, accusing him of being a “boy”, a “kindergarten kid”. He was a “man of little pride”, boomed Pearson. The Indigenous leader then accused the Nationals leader of having his strings pulled by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, then accused Price of having her strings pulled by think tanks such as the Centre for Independent Studies and the Institute of Public Affairs. He accused Tom Switzer and me of pulling Price’s strings, too.”

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