from The Epoch Times

“To improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people we must overcome barriers to medicines access and ensure the delivery of culturally appropriate care,” Harris said in a statement 

In other words, Pfizer will gain contracts worth millions for supplying all sorts of “compulsory” drugs etc to the aboriginals.

Pfizer is the latest corporate entity to throw its support behind the proposal that will set up an almost-parallel layer of government exclusively for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Anne Harris, managing director of Pfizer Australia and New Zealand, said The Voice aligned with Pfizer’s commitment to equity and improving health outcomes for all.

“To improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people we must overcome barriers to medicines access and ensure the delivery of culturally appropriate care,” Harris said in a statement (pdf) on May 11.

Epoch Times Photo

She said Pfizer continued to engage with Indigenous elders to understand the importance of The Voice proposal.

“We are also educating colleagues about the Voice to ensure all colleagues are well-informed and aware of its relevance to our [Reconciliation Action Plan] commitments.”

Corporate Heavyweights Dive into Social Justice Debate

Meanwhile, Pfizer’s support follows in the footsteps of some of Australia’s largest companies and organisations.

On May 9, the National Rugby League threw its support behind The Voice, saying it had implemented its own version of the body.

“The Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council plays an integral role in making representations to the [Australian Rugby League Commission] with ideas and views on behalf of Indigenous peoples across the game,” the body said in a statement.

While several ASX-listed corporations have also voiced their support, including the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Bank, supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles, and mining firms BHP and Rio Tinto.

Two Votes for Indigenous People

Later this year, Australians will go to the polls to vote on whether to alter their Constitution to include a near-permanent Indigenous advisory body.

This body will be comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and will have the power to make “representations” to the Parliament, the executive, and the wider public service.

The state-level version of The Voice in South Australia gives an insight into how such a body would operate.

Effectively, South Australia is divided into six regions, with Indigenous people in each area allowed to vote for two representatives (of different genders).

Together, these representatives will sit on the State First Nations Voice, which can then “provide advice” to the government on matters of “interest to the First Nations people”—a wide ambit.

The hope from Voice advocates is that having this extra layer of representation in government will help deal with chronic problems within Indigenous communities, including unemployment, domestic violence, alcoholism, youth crime, and welfare dependency.

More of the Same, Indigenous Leader Warns

Yet critics have warned that this will stifle an already struggling bureaucracy, and do little to resolve on-the-ground issues.

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine said similar proposals had been tried in the past and failed.

“There have been four elected bodies since 1973, all of which failed,” he wrote in The Epoch Times.

“One of them, the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee (later the National Aboriginal Conference), was set up as an advisory body but soon developed a new constitution giving itself autonomy, policy-making, and administrative powers. It didn’t survive,” he added.

“We have tried Indigenous representative bodies, Indigenous advisory bodies, and Indigenous consulting bodies multiple times over the decades. None have lifted Indigenous people out of poverty. None have ‘Closed the Gap.’”

While Eric Louw, an expert on affirmative action policies, said corporate support for The Voice was just another example of crony capitalism—where corporations thrive through collusion between the business class and political class.

“Executives like the idea of taxpayer dollars flowing into their businesses as a result of collaboration in the preferred projects of politicians (whether this is climate change or Indigenous initiatives),” the former member of the African National Congress told The Epoch Times via email.

“If The Voice succeeds, Aboriginals will have a lot of say over the business environment,” he added. “So I see a new kind of crony capitalism growing, say the right things now so that in the future good opportunities will come your way.”