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Byron Shire
September 26, 2023

Getting Real About The Voice

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Responding to Ian Pratt in an attempt to ‘get real about the Voice’. The proposal does not challenge the historical fact of conquest i.e. the appropriation both violent and otherwise of this land by the English some 200 odd years ago. The Voice originates from a national convention process representing numerous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations, culminating at Uluru in 2017 with the stated intention of addressing the issues of recognition, powerlessness, truth, justice and self-determination.

The Voice in fact is a synthesis of First Nations peoples working within colonial disciplines to articulate a democratic and lawful way forward. The Voice presents a truly extraordinary opportunity because it seeks not to ‘return to the Dreamtime but to walk forward together into a future that is profoundly Australian, that fully embraces Country, its kin and its history. 

The Voice will open a practical and symbolic space in our constitution for First Nations people. Theirs will be a voice of influence to be heard both symbolically and practically in relation to their own people and in accordance with the Australian constitution, this is not dissimilar to the role of the monarch under our current constitution. In fact, the Uluru Statement from the Heart acknowledges the sovereignty of the Crown alongside or co-existing with Indigenous sovereignty.

We Australians face a very exciting historical choice. Are we ready to re-design our constitutional structure? Truthfully acknowledging the past, listening to the formal consensus from our First Nations people, granting them the opportunity for a Voice for self-determination and forging a nation together that is unique and utterly of this extraordinary country.

Contemporary Australia remains in its own illusion; living a fundamental incongruity between the constitutional law we uphold and our trespass on the property and ownership of the land of First Nations people.

Paul Jones, Byron Bay

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  1. Yes, I get what you are saying Paul.
    OK, so less than 4% of the population are to have privileges way above the other 96% of Citizens ?
    Hmm, maybe this sounds a bit unfair – and perhaps even a trifle un-democratic too.
    There are at least 10 people claiming to be aboriginal in federal Parliament now.
    This surely equates to good democratic representation of aboriginality in our country.
    But you want to effectively make all non-aboriginal citizens into 3rd class citizens – [or is that now ‘Third Nation’s People?]
    I think if you do your research more carefully, you will find that the 1976 Referendum gave complete power to the federal government over legislation over aboriginal affairs.
    So, they have had nearly 50 years to listen to the multitude of aboriginal groups, committees and fully funded organisations to do anything that these groups said they needed to alleviate their particular ethnic problems.
    That there are still major problems now strongly indicate to me that the aboriginal hierarchy have done a very poor job in alleviating the genuine suffering of the majority of their people.
    Equality of citizenship was made 47 years ago (with swingeing majority too) & has now this has become an Aussie characteristic.
    But a “Yes” vote will change all that and give special privileges (based on race) to a select administrative & elite Body?
    So much for our famed peaceful multi-cultural society.
    Now that this ‘can of worms’ has been opened by Albo & the powerful aboriginal elites, only bitterness may result on both sides – whatever the 2023 referendum finally decides.

  2. “Are we ready to re-design our constitutional structure”. Mr. Albanese says it is a minor change to the constitution. Who is correct? That is just one of the “yes” problems.

  3. Really you do understand that the constitution still has statements about being able to make laws based on race. The above comments don’t seem to address the issue of constitutional change without putting the fear the sky will fall. Every time people put forward change for indigenous affairs they seem to think it will be calamitous like land rights( they’ll take your backyard) or the sorry to parliament( open up government to law suits).
    Is it going to affect your life, the answer is no, will it provide something positive for our original people, we hope so.
    By the way the keyword in the proposal is advice, please check your dictionary to find its meaning.


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