by Cliff Reece

On Saturday 14 October ALL Australians will all have the choice of writing either the word ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on the referendum ballot paper.

A ‘Yes’ vote means that we support the establishment of ‘The Voice’ within our country’s Constitution. This has been described as a third chamber of Parliament inasmuch as it will sit alongside the Senate and House of Representatives in our Federal Parliament and provide advice to government at all levels.

That advice may not be agreed to by the government in which case the Voice members will have the option to take the matter to the High Court, which has final say in all matters relating to the Constitution.

Any case that is subsequently won by the Voice’s unelected members means that the democratically elected government must then submit to their so-called ‘advice’.

High Court matters can extend to many weeks or even months and usually involve a high level of cost to both parties. 

This process is built into the very fabric of what extreme-left Voice advocates are seeking to achieve. They want to have the power to stall and even stop government action on a variety of issues. And nothing would be off limits – they can challenge any matter proposed by the elected government, not just those few falsely identified by Linda Burney, the Minister for Indigenous Australians.

Despite all these facts, our Prime Minister continues to portray the Voice referendum as a “modest request” by indigenous Australians to be recognised. There is nothing even remotely ‘modest’ about enshrining the race-based Voice in our Constitution.

And, once it is there, it would be very hard to remove even if it were shown to be incompetent or corrupt.

Keep in mind that all of this could have been avoided if the concept of a Voice to Parliament had been simply legislated by the Labor government rather than put to what has become a hugely divisive and emotion-charged referendum.

The government’s reasoning is that what has been done in the past to help our indigenous people has not succeeded, so we must try something different. However, what they have totally failed to explain is how a Canberra-based power bloc consisting primarily of extreme-left agitators will be any more successful than similar groups in the past?

The reality is clear. A successful ‘Yes’ vote will slow down the processes of government, impede economic activity, and cost literally billions of dollars in legal costs and proposed reparations and so-called ‘rent’ without even the remotest chance of any meaningfiul improvement to the lives of indigenous people at the grass roots level.

Prime Minister Albanese is running a campaign based solely on the vibe of being ‘kind’ to indigenous people. And yet he and his government have provided no details on what exactly the Voice would achieve and how it would prove successful when similar models like ATSIC and the National Aboriginal Conference failed abysmally. Hopefully, voters will see through this cynical charade.

Albanese has also failed to understand that the Voice is not universally supported by indigenous people. Many, perhaps even most, will likely vote against it because they can see how shallow it is and how it will only benefit the indigenous ‘elite’, as has been the case in the past.

In order to ‘close the gap’, the first step should be to establish what exactly has happened to all the vast sums of money that Australian taxpayers have already spent on indigenous issues and the outcomes of that expenditure. This is paramount because if we don’t know what has been successful and what hasn’t we won’t know how best to spend money in the future.

We then need to devise and invest in programs and actions that will help the people in need of such assistance – not those who are already relatively rich and successful as in the case of the leading indigenous ‘Yes’ advocates.

Once those needs and action plans are established, the responsible parties should then be required to enact the necessary counter-measures within strict deadlines.  

Anyone with even a basic knowledge of problem-solving can see that this is the way to improve the lives not only of indigenous people but all Australians who are living lives that are sub-standard.

And that’s the fundamental reason why these problems have continued to exist. The people who have had the authority and the means to ‘close the gap’ have clearly been totally incompetent and self-serving. And that needs to stop.

A ‘No’ vote on Saturday 14 October is an essential first step to making that happen.

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