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Byron Shire
July 18, 2024

Fear, lies and loathing in Australia

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Fear, lies and loathing in Australia as referendum debate sinks lower. Cloudcatcher Media with Midjourney AI.

Most Australian households have now received their Voice referendum booklet in the mail. It looks quite official and is being distributed by the Australian Electoral Commission. Unfortunately the contents haven’t been fact checked. Like most other forms of federal political advertising, lying and misinformation in this context is completely legal.

The political ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ Voice camps have each been given 2,000 words to make their case. The Yes side have focused on big picture claims and aspirational language. The anti-Voice side have used all caps headings – ‘IT OPENS THE DOOR FOR ACTIVISTS’! – and lots of boxes containing snippets of scary information.

Both sides have employed quotes, mostly from people identifying as First Australians, although neither side explains in print when these people are actively working for one side or the other.

Origins

Even though the Labor Party has done very little listening to Aboriginal people for most of its history, their main pitch here is that ‘listening works’. Australia is essentially being asked to take their word for it that a Voice will help close the gap. We don’t know that it will deliver ‘real results’, as claimed, although it’s certainly true that not much else has worked so far.

The Yes camp says the Voice emerged from the Uluru Statement from the Heart, although constitutional recognition has a longer history than that, and is being rolled together with the Voice idea in this referendum.

While the Yes argument claims that the Voice will be diverse and representative of the many Indigenous nations and communities in this country, it’s unclear at this stage if that will be true, or even possible. The Albanese government can’t make precise claims about something that won’t be under its control if the referendum succeeds, or into the future, and hasn’t shared a detailed model.

Will the Voice help close the gap? Cloudcatcher Media with Midjourney AI.

Risks

The No campaign says ‘we want to help Indigenous Australians in disadvantaged communities’, but claims that the Voice is definitely not the answer, and will cost too much (actually no one knows how much it will cost at this stage).

They don’t suggest what the answer is, apart from bare constitutional recognition, and make no mention of treaty, except in a bogeyman context, and by incorrectly saying a treaty can only be made between governments.

They say that the Voice ‘represents the biggest change to our Constitution in history’ and is ‘legally risky’ with ‘no issue beyond its reach’. Actually, all the Voice would be able to do is suggest ideas to help Indigenous Australians (which is one of the reasons many people think it’s not worth the effort). Anthony Albanese has repeatedly said that it would have no right of veto and would not be binding on the parliament.

In any case, the precise powers and design of the Voice will be completely subject to parliamentary oversight. All the referendum asks is whether it should exist.

Who wants it?

Polls over the last five years have shown 80 per cent plus support for the Voice idea among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but the No campaign doesn’t acknowledge this, saying simply ‘many Indigenous Australians do not support this.’

While that statement is undoubtedly true, it would be bizarre if any large group of Australians 100 per cent supported any political position, food preference, favourite colour or sporting team. That’s the way humans are, apart from Sky News viewers.

The No camp claim the Voice is unnecessary because there’s already a body most Australians have never heard of, called the National Indigenous Australians Agency, with a budget of $4.3 billion and 1,400 employees. Actually this is just the latest version of the Aboriginal Affairs Department, which works as part of the machinery of government, delivering programs, and is not an independent voice in any sense. Most of its employees are not Indigenous, and under Scott Morrison 39 per cent of its grants were paid out to non-Indigenous organisations.

It’s another example of weaponising ignorance, and the old ‘special treatment’ argument.

Independent Victorian Senator Lidia Thorpe is calling for treaty before Voice, but her views are not represented in the AEC education pamphlet.

Precedents, and legal issues

The No camp says ‘putting a Voice in the Constitution means it’s permanent. We will be stuck with negative consequences.’

Actually anything in the Constitution can be changed with a further referendum, and the way the Voice works in practice can be changed by the parliament of the day, the same as other laws.

The assumption that the consequences of the Voice will be negative is unknowable at this stage.

The No lobby claims ‘there is no comparable constitutional body like this anywhere in the world’. There are some problems with this. One is the assumption among conservatives that Australia can never lead the world, but only follow.

Also, Sweden, Finland and Norway already have a Saami parliament to advise on Indigenous issues, and Canada and New Zealand both have formal Indigenous advisory groups that speak to government about matters that concern them. The sky hasn’t fallen in any of those countries yet.

In Australia, both sides have wheeled out legal experts to support their positions, but the Yes camp have found many more senior people to stick their heads above the parapet than the other mob.

Lies with that?

The No side uses the words ‘don’t know’ ten times on their half of the pamphlet, emphasising doubt as a justification for voting ‘No’. Their pathetic focus-grouped phrase ‘if you don’t know, vote no’ appears in bold print at the start and at the end of the document.

They offer no independent sources of further reading for those who want more detail, instead closing their pitch with links to three highly partisan websites, all operated by the same organisation, Advance, which was formed to counter GetUp in 2018, and has previously been associated with campaigns to deny the climate change emergency and oppose same sex marriage.

The question remains, how much more useful could this taxpayer-funded and distributed referendum booklet have been if the Greens and independent senator David Pocock’s proposal for independent fact-checking be carried out before sending millions of copies across the country?


David Lowe
David Lowe. Photo Tree Faerie.

Originally from Canberra, David Lowe is an award-winning film-maker, writer and photographer with particular interests in the environment and politics. He’s known for his campaigning work with Cloudcatcher Media.

Long ago, he did work experience in Parliament House with Mungo MacCallum.

 

 


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56 COMMENTS

  1. You need to look into Canada and New Zealand more. For example, Canada’s version of the Voice costs $25b a year (They spend $23b on defence). Neither Inuit nor Maori think it, nor any of the other programs, have done anything to close the gap, and are constantly demanding more.

  2. One of your better articles david .. almost
    Impartial ! correction if the voice is voted in
    It is permanent.. it cannot be changed… !
    as for the success of other countries
    Supporting indigenous people’s
    Similar to the voice proposal.. david you
    Mentioned NZ as an example.. it has been
    a abject failure.. not sure where you are
    Being provided information to think so ?
    As for the voice ..if the population votes it in
    Totally respect the majority vote ..however
    Also accept the consequences of doing so !
    as for “Advance ” i would support anyone
    Challenging Getup .. they are radically left
    Of the greens ..as for Climate change opposition
    David like or not ..the majority do not support
    This “emergency nonsense ” that’s a fact not fiction.
    The UN resently asked the question to millions
    What was the biggest concerns they were facing ..
    Climate change was last on that list..and for good reason.. as for opposition to same sex marriage
    5 million opposed ..not just some Advance supporters..

  3. Thank you David, for your thoughtful assessment.
    While the Voice could and should be a means to bring us together, Dutton and crew are only interested in gaining raw political advantage. Deliberately creating and exploiting division, the No campaign has the brass neck to claim the Voice itself is divisive!
    If you don’t know how to vote, you only need to look at who is supporting either side. The Yes campaign is supported by all leading sports groups and charities, all the mainstream churches and most of the business community. The No case is supported by the hard right, Abbott, Howard, Dutton, the Nationals and “Advance”, an organisation funded by mining interests and hedge fund managers. All people who have never been genuine about fixing inequality. It says much about “Advance” that they are conducting campaigns pushing two opposing sides of No – claiming the Voice does not do enough for our indigenous community, while at the same time promoting a campaign that the Voice goes too far. It is alarming that some Australians are unthinkingly buying the falsehoods and distortions of the No campaign. The Voice has been politely requested by an overwhelming majority of the indigenous community. We should heed their call and open our ears and our hearts to them.

    • Leading sports groups etc ? They have been asked to do so ..or paid ..Qantas certainly are supportive
      as one would be due to receiving billions from taxpayers..hence why the government has informed Mr CEO ..you owe us one you do ..
      And what Albo not wanting some political advantage from the voice yes Michael ?
      I see Michael so the general population who vote
      No are far right ? Maybe its you who needs to read
      The Uluru Statement of the heart in its entirety
      If you have not already done so..

      • Barrow, most of us have read the Uluru Statement from the Heart, in all of its ‘ o n e page’ entirety.
        The Coalition read it in 2017 and let loose with makings up of – ‘third chamber’.

        The ‘third chamber’ rubbish was been put to bed, so we get Dudton trotting out new rubbish lines of “Canberra Voice”. And now its Dudton and his “Ticks and Crosses” bollocks, trying to undermines our voting system.

        Barrow, where was Dudton earlier this year when the Referendum Machinery Bill was before Parliament, said Bill was passed through parliament without any objections – Dutton gave the Bill his T i c k ( maybe it was his C r o s s??? ) of approval!!!!!!

        And of course we h ave those perennial own goal scorers over at Rupert’s Sky stuck in the Dark Ages TV, led by the incredulous Peta Credlin batting away with this “secret 26 pager Uluru Statement of the Heart” business, just laughable but then again the Sky mob do try hard at comedy.

  4. Imagine putting a proposition forward to the people. A Voice. The Right/aka lieberals dutton etc, say, ‘ this will divide the country’, so we say No. That No, is the divide, dutton, is talking about. It is essentially an opposition to a proposal. Now, not only has dutton et al been stamping their boots, and yelling No, Not an inkling to a better proposition, or alternative, nothing, just whinging, whining and having a conniption Re a proposal to include the indigenous peoples of Australia. That is Divisive! Not the proposal, the ‘No’, camp are the dividers. Enough of this pollywaffle bullshit from the lieberals. We haven’t forgot already the lying, conniving, rorts and theft that party did last term and it’s morally corrupt ex turdship morriscum, have we? Not I. Don’t be fooled by the liers.

  5. Yep agree with your assessment of the no side of the brochure. All it carries on about is unfounded statements with nothing positive or constructive e.g. section on there is a better way: well what is it? Certainly nothing in that section about what is a better way. Now we have issues of nothing promoted by the no person in chief Dutton about ticks and crosses rightly put down by the aec and the new one people are being bullied to vote yes- really.

  6. Hi David,
    You give the lie to so many claims on both sides of the arguement, it seems to me a fact checking exercise would have rendered the document blank rather than useful.

  7. Oh dearie me David, you do see it as compulsory that, no matter the topic, it’s compulsory so insert a totally baseless swipe at Labor! “Even though the Labor Party has done very little listening to Aboriginal people for most of its history, their main pitch here is that ‘listening works’.”

    Little listening to Aboriginal Australia:-

    Writing in the Guardian in 2014 Pat Turner said: “For Aboriginal people across the country, Gough Whitlam was our giant among former prime ministers. He was the first leader to campaign so openly for us. During his short term in office he and his government made momentous decisions to include Aboriginal people within the fabric of the nation.”

    and

    “Gough also created the Aboriginal Loans Commission, the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission and the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee (NACC). The NACC was the first opportunity for Aboriginal people to elect their own representatives to a national committee to directly advise the federal government.”

    Keating drove the Mabo case which declared an end to the fiction of terra nullius. He delivered the Redfern Address which said it all. Like Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations you can say words are cheap but each milestone in the truth telling process have meant a lot to First Nations people and could hardly be seen as “very little listening”

    After years of the Coalition ignoring the outcome of the Uluṟu commission, Anthony Albanese has made it one of the Government’s first initiatives to instigate the referendum which is exactly what First Nations people asked for.
    Clearly not listening but clearly a politically risky decision given the temptation for weaponising which Dutton just couldn’t resist. I have to admire your effrontery though!

    You tell us “Australia is essentially being asked to take their word for it that a Voice will help close the gap.”

    Well David, parliamentary committees wrote the YES and NO cases with parliamentarians able to express interest in membership. David Pocock expressed interest and who knows whether Julian Leeser was part of the yes committee. I’d suggest that Linda Burney and Pat Dodson are on it so I imagine the arguments might include a fair reflection of First Nations’ thoughts.

    I haven’t heard whether any Greens have expressed interest in writing for either side but perhaps they are still a little ambivalent.

    Generous as were the Greens efforts to save the day with fact checking the AEC website explains: “The AEC does not have legislative authority to edit, amend or fact check the Yes or No cases.”

    A moment’s reflection might elicit some possible reasons.

  8. I always intended to vote yes but I felt uneasy at the unknowns. I took the view that unintended consequences in changing the Australian Constiution are potentially catastrophic and didn’t feel put at ease listening to Anthony Albanese and Linda Burney. After reading your article (out loud to my family) I feel much more at ease. Thank you.

    • May I suggest listening to a Syrian immigrant on the subject. Play it out loud to your family. Youtube ‘Why immigrants don’t want The Voice’

  9. Supporting this proposal is supporting giving voice to disadvantaged Australians, but only of one race.

    Yet you don’t mention that, instead trying to say that opposing it is to “divide” (when the proposal is to divide).

    This debacle has set back Indigenous Australia by decades (and it will be worse if it gets voted in). This is because so many Australians will find it much harder to trust Aboriginal people now as a result of this attempt to take the burgeoning incidence of being excluded by racist Aboriginal people to a whole new level of exclusion

  10. David regarding your comments opposing
    Same Sex marriage !! Well firstly would like to congratulate the Matilda’s for the wonderful efforts
    The team has achieved resently in the world cup..
    The nation is very proud ..absolute role models
    For future generations for young Girls and boys ..
    to my the point ..what 50% of those
    Participants are from the LGBTQ Communities
    That participated in the world cup ? Yet no objection to one of the major sponsors
    Qatar Airlines ..who i imagine would have been flying Participants around the globe ..one glaring
    Fact ..in Qatar the LGBTQ Communities are
    Certainly not accepted..and in some cases
    Punishable by death.. the hypocrisy is astounding .
    The double standards..only when it suits ..

  11. You summed it up David, no one knows what it will cost, nor know any pertinent details. How could any one vote yes to this sham?. Albo should be ashamed of his naïve stupidity.

    • Greg, why are so upset with Albo?
      I mean under PM Albo’s stewardship, Yes Voice support has tanked.
      You should be putting your champagne on ice, ready to party on October 14.

      • Does your pathological carping extend so far that you want to play into the hands of the NO camp by perpetuating the myth that this is “Albo’s Voice” or the “Canberra Voice” and that it’s Albo’s campaign? All designed, with the disgusting fear campaign, to kill two birds with one stone: a successful dog whistle and a political win against Albo.

        Why stop at having a go at Albo, you could drag in a few other Labor spearheads in this – like Linda Burney?

        Well done! 🦎

        • Lizardbreath, let’s be clear here, I am supporting Yes Voice which I have declared previously in the very fine pages of the Echo.
          Now, if you actually absorbed what I wrote further up the page, you will note that I called out Dutton’s ongoing rubbish.
          That Albo has presided over the collapse of Yes Voice support since January 2023 is fact. You can rail against that as much as you like, it doesn’t change that fact.
          You mention Linda Burney, her efforts in Question Time when questioned about the Voice have been underwhelming and at times rather embarrassing – free kicks for the No Voice mob.
          No wonder then that national support for Yes Voice has tanked from 60% Jan ’23 down to 46% Aug ’23 and that majority of 4 states needed is nowhere to be found.
          But yeah, the ALP delivering a train wreck on the Voice is all my fault. Lol.

          • You didn’t read what I wrote either did you, Joachim. I suspect you do support the Voice.

            What I said was that the line of thinking that you have rushed to for yet another opportunity to sledge Labor is what the Opposition and No case have been encouraging.

            The referendum is not about what Albo wants – news flash!! It’s about what the Uluṟu Council asked for. Apart from encouraging a yes vote, it is not up to the PM to “run” the campaign. Wouldn’t that be presumptuous?

            Suggesting that this is Albo’s campaign is a tactic with two advantages. Firstly it makes the debate politically partisan – about which team to follow – rather than the merits of the proposal. (A game you’re a little prone to) If it succeeds it gives the Opposition a rare win against this government.

            I was simply asking you to consider whether you were falling into tactical trap and encouraging others with you. Worth a moment’s consideration before giving in to the knee jerk compulsion.

            BTW If Linda Burney seems underwhelming in parliament it may have something to do with the speech issues she has recently disclosed. There is no mercy on the floor of parliament but I’d hope that a intelligent political commentary would focus on substance over delivery.

            Let’s be clear here – you’ve answered my objection, not by addressing it but by providing more of the same. Try harder.

          • Given how poorly Yes is doing, I’ve been wondering if the whole voice thing is just a distraction from the censorship laws they are trying to pass. A lot of articles the Echo publishes could be illegal soon.

          • Lizardbreath, Albo / ALP don’t get free passes just because they are the ALP ie that they ain’t LibNat.

            Albo made the declaration as Opposition Leader and as PM to support the Uluru Statement of the Heart ( I congratulate him on that ) so he can’t divorce himself from campaigning for Yes Voice.

            How is that that Yes Voice support has crashed under PM Albo’s stewardship?
            Albo and Team ALP have had plenty of time to prepare and get their lines right in the face of the coming No Voice gang. But instead Dutton / No Voicers have torn Albo / ALP to shreds and Yes Voice support went down with Albo / ALP.

            You raise Linda Burney and her health event back in 2020, maybe affecting her form; she put that to rest in an article for the Sydney Morning Herald –
            ‘Linda Burney reveals medical diagnosis ahead of Voice launch
            ByJacqueline Maley August 29, 2023 — 5.00am’

            You can dial up the article for a read.
            The Linda herself said, “At the end of the day, none of this has stopped me from exercising my job very effectively and well.”
            So her health isn’t responsible for her Question Time efforts.

          • It’s at least given us a bit of break in the media from the Greens’ quest for relevance. Now they want to block the the proposed super taxation changes. UNBELIEVABLE!

          • I said her voice not her overall health. And again just more of the same. Can you not understand what I wrote or has it struck a cord and you can’t? Try harder again.

          • Lizardbreath, except of course that her voice thing is wrapped up with health.
            Take you own advice, try harder again.

    • The Uluru Statement (https://voice.gov.au/about-voice/uluru-statement)
      We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:

      Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.

      This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.

      How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?

      With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.

      Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.

      These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.

      We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

      We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

      Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

      We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

      In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

      • It’s also useful to focus on the amendment we are being asked to vote on. Despite the constant refrain of “I don’t know” it’s really not rocket science.

        “ The proposed chapter will hold a new section 129:

        129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice

        In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:

        1) there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;

        2) the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

        3) the Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its the composition, functions, powers and procedures.

        Come on guys – it’s not that hard!

        • In Section 2, ‘Executive Government’ is a problem.
          Section 3 does not say ‘only the Parliament shall’, which is a problem, as the Executive and Judicial brunches are then open to grant it powers the Parliament can’t get rid of.
          Also, the first line opens up Constitutional issues of sovereignty.

          • Executive government is the cabinet which is where the real deliberations take place. By the time a bill is debated on the floor of parliament the numbers are usually secured and the deal already stitched. Makes sense to me.

            Section 3 doesn’t say any other body will either so I can’t see where the power would come from for another source.

            The first line basically says they were here first (before the lot that came in and set up the current prevailing institutions) Whether thats in the constitution or not I don’t know that it’s debatable?

          • Executive government is the entire executive branch, right down to people you interact with. The Cabinet is the head of the Executive government.

            If the Constitution doesn’t explicitly forbid something, then it is permitted.

            It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

  12. Fact check David…Chris Kenny prominent sky presentor and Murdock rascal is an outspoken yes to the Voice advocate.
    Also I grew up in New Zealand local beach access was closed depending on the mood of the local Maori.
    Mount Warning closed.
    This will happens more.
    Please be more careful with your version of ‘ facts’.

    • I would suggest if this passes, it will eventually end in less buckling, more locking and loading. We may take the results of this nonsense in our stride, but when sheeple are knocked out of their slumber, they tend to panic, and react in the most definitive and immediate way they can think of. Conversely, the other side is not known for pacifism and rationality when their sense of entitlement gets bruised. This entire exercise is a reckless excuse of a political diversion, and ASIO should have known better.

  13. To any lefyt’s out there. If the right conservative side expresses opinions on current important subjects the lefty’s brand them as conspiracy theorists, a term that disgusts me. Do tell lefyt’s, what are lefty’s described as when they express their extreme views?. Mainstream, planet saving, morally correct, climate warriors?. Is there argument a little one-sided?. Does the media favour one side’s opinions?. Funny that, I and many others have noticed for far too long. The tide is turning slowly, people’s BS metres are kicking in more so now than ever.

    • It’s truly amazing that when the righty’s peddle their usual extreme nonsensical “opinions”, that usually fly in the face of factual scientific information and even common sense and get called out over it, how indignant they get. A conspiracy theory is a conspiracy theory, there made up by egocentric minds, usually in an attempt to debunk some impending disaster their small mind struggle to deal with. There is a special News channel that exclusively deals with “conspiracy theory’s”, it’s called Sky News after dark, enjoy.

      • The pole shift is an impeding disaster, totally a mass extinction event, that has happened before, with plenty of scientific evidence supporting it, but I’m sure you would cry conspiracy theory at those who are into it, because it’s not the end of the world conspiracy theory that you are into.

  14. To the left everything they can not deal with is a conspiracy theory. They then think they no longer have an obligation to back up their rhetoric and abundant hyperbole. A very simple tactic for those with very simple minds. Subsequently it is verboten to express a contrary view, if one dares to they are immediately branded, harangued and cancelled. Quite a successful by-product of the non thinkers to date, however their futile strategy is no longer cutting it. People have had enough failed policy’s, lies and deceit.

  15. Oh dear Greg, I have to agree with you once again, (I hate this), the people certainly did have enough of “failed policy’s, lies and deceit”, at the last Federal election they got rid of it in no uncertain manner, it seems some righty’s are still trying to deal with it.

  16. You knock the coalition. How is the best prime minister ever going at the moment?. He and his incompetent ministers still avoiding the hard questions, still telling lies, as for a transparent government what a joke. Still pushing the never to be successful renewable energy barrow, wasting billions of dollars on it, still pushing up power bills that people can’t pay, still mismanaging the economy, in stealth took away $1500 from ten million Aussies at tax time that they were looking forward to have to pay larger bills and Albo pats himself on the back for producing a false surplus. Should I mention the airlines debacle that the minister has trouble telling the truth about?. Should I continue?, I won’t as I have just depressed myself. Unfortunately Aussies will be doing it tough for a very long time.

    • Greg, the latest polling will tell you how good PM Albotross is going. PM in waiting Dutton is killing Albo; Albo’s approval rating is going down the toilet, Coalition primary vote is ahead of ALP primary vote, Yes Voice support is a crash landing.
      Time for ALP to find a new Leader to turn their sinking ship around.

      • You’re very fond of this literary allusion, Joachim but do you know the full story of the man who shot the albatross? Perhaps you should revisit it:

        “The Mariner’s story begins with the ship leaving harbor and sailing southward. A tremendous storm then blows the ship even further to the South Pole, where the crew are awed as they encounter mist, snow, cold, and giant glaciers. An Albatross breaks the pristine lifelessness of the Antarctic. The sailors greet it as a good omen, and a new wind rises up, propelling the ship. Day after day the albatross appears, appearing in the morning when the sailors call for it, and soaring behind the ship. But then as the other sailor’s cry out in dismay, the Mariner, for reasons unexplained, shoots and kills the albatross with his crossbow.” (litcharts.com)

        Killing the albatross brings all sorts of dire consequences – all the crew bar the the mariner die of thirst. Before they die the crew make the Mainer wear the dead albatross across his shoulders and the mariner is compelled to retell the story of his dreadful decision over and over.

        Very pertinent!

  17. Divide and conquer using confusion is the standard strategy played by both sides of this game. Considering the referendum will overshadow every other BS policy on both sides, I’d say the electorate has been well played… again 🙄

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