As NZers go to the polls on 14 October to elect a new government, Australians also go to the polls to decide yes or no to an initiative organised by the Albanese government which has similarities to the Co-governance notions of the Hipkins government, named ‘The Voice’. Most opposition to it so far has come from conservatives.
from Red Fire Online
Four weeks out from the Australian federal government’s “Voice to Parliament” referendum, most polls show it is headed for a heavy defeat. One poll has the No vote at 61%, trailed by the Yes vote at only 39%. The referendum, which is being spearheaded by the governing Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Greens, has the least support in the states of Western Australia (WA) and Queensland (QLD), but more support in the generally more liberal states of Victoria (VIC), New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA). The “Voice”, if enacted, will give an indigenous body (which is appointed rather than elected) the right to make a submission to parliament on matters affecting Aboriginal/First Nations people. In WA however, support for the Voice has waned on the back of the disastrous new cultural heritage laws which were scrapped 39 days after they were proposed due to a widespread backlash. While perhaps well intended after mining giant Rio Tinto destroyed two ancient rock shelters in the Pilbara in 2020, the proposed cultural heritage laws included penalties of up to $10 million in fines for corporations, $1 million for individuals as well as time in jail. It could potentially have led to small farmers being jailed for building a fence, planting trees or clearing tracks.
As was the case during the fraudulent “Covid pandemic” of 2020 – 2022, allegedly progressive and liberal values are being used by sections of the ruling class for reactionary ends and political repression – under the guise of humanitarianism! This is why the Voice is being led by the capitalist parliamentary parties of the ALP and the Greens, unquestioningly by the old Union bureaucracies, and with some grumbles by the faux left. The Voice is so token as to be embarrassing, a powerless committee which can be ignored by politicians at a whim. Potentially, the Voice, if put in place, can be used by politicians to derail and block ANY genuinely progressive political demands that Aboriginal people and their allies put forward from this point onwards. Even moderate demands for better housing, education and healthcare outcomes for indigenous people could simply be referred to the Voice, which would have no say other than attaching a Voice letterhead to emails to parliament.
Identity politics is so divisive that it has led to a situation where there is a left-wing yes and a left-wing no, at the same time as there being a right-wing yes and a right-wing no. This is somewhat understandable, given that some workers wish to back even the smallest step forward for Aboriginal people, even while they readily acknowledge its severe limitations. Generally speaking however, those who fell into line under “Covid”, have also fallen into line under the “Voice”. On the other hand, those who resisted the unprecedented tyranny and authoritarianism of Covid repression are seeing through what is essentially another elaborate deception via a referendum. Arguably, one reason the ruling class is pushing this is to obtain untrammelled access to vast regions of the outback for mineral exploitation through such environmentally disastrous procedures as “fracking”, with “permission” from a toothless and unrepresentative Voice. Another important reason may well be that the ruling class is aiming to forever put an end to the uncomfortable situation (for them) where hundreds of thousands of indigenous people and their supporters march for justice each year on the 26 of January.