Beware if scare campaign on the Voice to Parliament
There are two reasons why all Australians should fact check in relation to the referendum on the Voice to Parliament. Firstly, because the proposal for an Indigenous Voice is critically significant for the future of our nation and its people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
The second reason is in order to differentiate fact from fiction, especially in the light of the confusion and fear currently being spread by a “details are being kept from us” false information scare campaign.
The fact is one of transparency, that plenty of detail can be readily accessed via a variety of sources such as the previous Liberal government’s own Indigenous Voice Co-design Final Report, 2021 (there is a helpful executive summary of the 262 pages), the website voice.gov,au, the Yes23 campaign website and that of the Uluru Dialogue, just to mention a few. All these can be accessed online. There is also a short guide, The Voice to Parliament Handbook, by Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien.
Sources such as these provide detail like: the Voice will speak to parliament, it is not a body in parliament; it will speak only on matters related to First Nations people; it will not have veto powers over parliament (but parliament will be obliged to listen); it will represent on the issues common to First Nations people from regional and local Indigenous communities; it will be a stable entity (once established in the constitution) because it can’t then be dismissed at the whim of government.
When reviewing sources on such specific design principles, readers should note that final details must be subject to standard referendum procedure, that is, legislated in parliament after the referendum, not before as scare tactics campaigners would have us believe.
Maureen Donelly, Mornington
[Flinders MP] Zoe McKenzie has said that she will listen to the electorate to inform her about the Voice.
Last weekend, there was a forum at Tootgarook with Thomas Mayor and three local First Nations people, all urging the community to support a Yes vote for the Voice. Then there’s the Sorrento Writers Festival Forum on the Voice in the heart of the most Liberal voting area of the Mornington Peninsula, Sorrento.
The forum again urged the community to get behind the Yes vote. All panelists spoke with passion and clarity about why the time has come to recognise and provide a Voice to First Nations people and ended with a standing ovation from the audience filling the grand ballroom at the Conti.
So, when Zoe returns from her travels, I hope she takes note.
Thank you to the Sorrento Writers Festival for providing us with the opportunity to hear from a diverse range of speakers on our doorstep.
Marg D’Arcy, Rye
I believe most people want to do the right thing by Indigenous people and I don’t accept claims by some that the No vote must arise from ill will.
Often, the difference between the sides appears simply that some accept without challenge “if it sounds good it must automatically be good”, while others believe it is important to assess whether the proposal will actually deliver the best outcomes for Australia.
There are many unanswered questions about the details and implications of the Voice, and they are important, despite the prime minister’s [Anthony Albanese] exhortation to dismiss them. However, even before considering details, there are two questions that trouble me and which I raise respectfully and from a legitimate concern for the interests of all:
What can it possibly be that the current National Indigenous Affairs Agency headed by Linda Burney MP with her 1300 plus staff and $4 billion budget, along with 150 plus independent Indigenous organisations are doing so ineffectively that cannot be addressed, right now, and which requires a fundamental and potentially troublesome change to the constitution to correct?
How can altering the constitution to provide different rights between people, based upon ethnicity, lead to anything other than creation of a permanent wedge in society threatening hopes of reconciliation and the uniting of all citizens as one Australian nation?
I find it difficult to consider voting for a proposal which at any other time, in any other place, would undoubtedly be defined as racist.
John Matthews, Heathmont
No Liberal response
Several weeks ago, after reading how Liberals are “holding the government to account” in one of [Flinders MP] Zoe McKenzie’s newsletters, I asked her what the Liberal party would do to address: cost of living; interest rates; housing crisis; rental crisis; and inflation.
Still no response.
I could ask the crossbench and at least they would have an idea or two and I am sure the leader of the Greens Adam Bandt would have “solutions” for them all.
Peter Dutton (leader of the faux opposition) when questioned, says basically there is no election so he ain’t gonna say nothing. Great way to serve the country. Or is it simply, the return of Dr No – Peter Dutton and his minions, reflexively opposing almost all legislation.
Remember the faux-opposition Chicken Little “sky is falling’’ doomsday predictions that the new bargaining code and raising the minimum wage would shut down the economy and drive industry from Australia? Still Waiting for even a seagull dripping to drop from the sky.
Liberals are great at creating doubt – the great divider which does not have to be true or accurate, just outrageous questions to sow the seeds of doubt enough to counteract the truth.
Joe Lenzo, Safety Beach
I appreciated [Flinders MP] Zoe McKenzie’s brochure regarding our wonderful men who put their lives on the line for our freedom and found the information and time table of where I could
go to pay my respects very useful (“Baffled by political party and opinions from afar” Letters 2/5/23). I also enjoyed the recipe for the Anzac biscuits Thanks Zoe.
Brenda Morris, McCrae
Hastings residents do not need to be told they are among the most disadvantaged. They already knew (“Data reveals towns of disadvantage” The News 2/5/23).
Just one look around the town at the deplorable state of many of the road surfaces is enough. Victoria Street and the Hodgins Road railway crossing are probably the worst.
Mornington residents would be horrified if Main Street looked like that.
Helen Heggie, Hastings
The angels of Hillview Reserve Dromana have worked overtime for years now preventing serious collisions between speeding downhill mountain bikers and wandering children and dogs.
They recently saved my five-year-old granddaughter from being skittled.
Perhaps it is time Mornington Peninsula Shire Council took over? State government and council money has been allocated for a revamp of this reserve. The bikers are to have safer access; and a play park, advertised with bold signage for many years, has been designed and is to be built.
Let’s get on with it before hospitalisation and litigation happen.
Paula Polson, Dromana
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