MPs should vote for what Indigenous people want
Both Flinders MP Zoe McKenzie and Mornington MP Chris Crewther have suggested the Voice referendum should be on the question of recognition alone.
However, there is a simple reason not to do this: it is not what Indigenous people have asked for.
Indigenous people have told us that symbolic recognition in the constitution is not enough. To ignore their request for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament would be insisting – once again – that white Australia knows best.
I hope both MPs reconsider their position on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament with an open mind and kind heart.
Sarah Russell, Mount Martha
Don’t copy US
I suggest some letters writers should calm down with their parroting of unsubstantiated comments from the hatchet men and women of some right-wing American news outlets (“Voice misinformation” and “‘Yes’ deception”, Letters 8/8/23).
It feels like Australia is fast becoming beholden to the American madness of alternative truth that has divided that country so badly.
Stop and think for yourselves instead of mindlessly repeating obvious lies and misinformation. And, by the way, I really was gob smacked by the statement about the straight lie the Uluru statement is 26 pages long.
Rupert Steiner, Balnarring Beach
With the Yes vote losing in the polls, the Labor states are now started negotiations for treaties and the Western Australian government has withdrawn legislation on which treaties will be based, which shows that the people of WA did not support the broad powers given to Aboriginals.
With states having their own treaties there will be different terms of treaties which will not be in states’ constitutions but legislation.
Under section 51 and 52 of the Australian Constitution (Exclusive Powers of the Commonwealth) this gives the areas of government where only the Commonwealth can make laws and legislate.
The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he will be implementing the full Uluru statement, which includes a treaty, even if the Voice is not approved by the Australian people in the coming referendum.
We have hundreds of state and federal Aboriginal and Torres Strait legislation and organisations with different Aboriginal benefits for Aboriginals where billions of dollars are being spent.
Would it be better to have all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legislation and benefits and organisations come under the one federal government that can also take action to make Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders inclusive and safe and stop discrimination and stop layers of bureaucracy which will save billions of dollars?
If there will be a treaty, surely the federal government should be the government that brings it into being with legislation and a senate committee to oversee that it is implemented, and organisations be scrutinised for implementing the legislation and to cut out corruption.
There will be need for a referendum to include it into Section 52 which the states will oppose, but the Australian people will support.
Russell Morse, Karingal
Concern that the Indigenous Voice proposal is a secret backdoor pathway to treaty is not logical (“‘Yes’ deception” Letters 8/8/23). The government could initiate treaty negotiations anytime it wishes, so why would it connive a sly entry through the Voice?
The proposed constitutional change is to establish an advisory body, not a treaty body. This is abundantly clear from the referendum question.
Can the Voice force the government to negotiate a treaty as inferred in the letter? No, the Voice is to be advisory only, with no power of veto.
First Nations people could, of course, point out to parliament that Australia is one of the only colonial-settler countries of the Commonwealth to not have a treaty with its First Peoples. Parliament would simply be required to listen. It is hard to see why this is, as suggested, the frightening prospect we need to protect ourselves and our children from.
The supposed hard evidence for the alleged government sleight of hand in regard to treaty is that the Uluru Statement from the Heart has 25 pages of hidden documentation. In fact, the statement is one page as confirmed by the CEO of the National Indigenous Australians Agency, Jody Broun, the further material being background reading to the final statement.
I do wonder what motivates attempts like this to discredit the straightforward request that is the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Maureen Donelly, Mornington
It was pleasing to read that Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is undertaking a heritage review of the Watson, Cerberus and Red Hill wards (“Heritage under review” The News 1/8/23). This is not before time. Why wasn’t the Briars ward included?
As a long-term resident of the peninsula, I have witnessed many properties, in my opinion, worthy of heritage listing lost to greedy developers.
I urge those residents that are keen to see preservation of our heritage, which is what is left, within our shire to get a copy of this document and make sure the council is aware of other such properties not listed so that they can be included.
The last time the council did a heritage review, some 25 plus years ago, a property that I owned on the corner of Barkly and Empire Streets, Mornington missed out on being listed because the council ran out of money. That significant house was later destroyed.
From the shire’s news release, it is not clear how much time residents have to make comments on this important document, it says comments are only to be considered by the 25 August, which is also the date this draft review is to be released.
Denise Hassett, Mount Martha
Since its inception in the 1960s, the Peninsula Light Opera Society has entertained lovers of the theatre. While the venues have varied from Karingal High School to Frankston Teachers College to its current base at Frankston Arts Centre, one thing has never changed: its performances have always been excellent.
I recently attended the latest PLOS production – Strictly Ballroom – and it was wonderful entertainment. How fortunate we are on the Mornington Peninsula to have such talented performers in our midst.
Peter McCullough. Tyabb
The Victorian government is seeking to reduce the use of gas in new buildings and already I’ve seen a manufacturer of heating and cooling equipment complain that this will cost jobs.
Meanwhile, ocean temperatures are higher than they have ever been, the northern hemisphere is experiencing devastating and deadly heatwaves, fires and destruction, all due to the burning of fossil fuels such as gas.
There’s a risk that the summer of 2023/24 will be just as bad. In January, when we’re sweltering and seeing bushfires destroying lives and communities, I don’t think too many of us will be saying “just as well all those gas jobs are still going”.
It’s time for the gas industry to decline and for people working in it to be redeployed into something more useful.
Graham Parton, Beechworth
Our elected councillors get less and less ability to represent those who elect them with much more severe rules than state government MPs. Now, all the CEO has to say is it is an operational matter and that is the end of that.
To a great extent it is their own problem as local council officers have many groups putting their views forward at the expense of elected officials.
We actually spend our tax dollars to fund the Municipal Association of Victoria which I see as basically a sycophantic group for local council officers. But I suggest councillors should have a body to support them and then watch them run the other way.
Joe Lenzo, Safety Beach
Sign nuclear treaty
The film Oppenheimer provides an opportunity to reflect on history and look to the future. However, an important Australian aspect was omitted. A year before the Manhattan Project was established two physicists, Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls, revealed to the eminent Australian physicist Mark Oliphant in London that an airborne atomic bomb, previously thought too heavy, was in fact possible.
It was not until Oliphant flew to America and met with Oppenheimer that the London work was taken seriously, and bomb construction was undertaken.
From 1946 to 1996, the US, UK and France detonated 318 nuclear devices in the Pacific region including at Maralinga in South Australia. The Maralinga tests failed to adequately consider the presence of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara people.
A delegation of Maralinga survivors and relatives recently visited Canberra urging the government to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
The treaty was adopted in 2017 with the backing of 122 countries. Six years later, the treaty has been signed by 95 state parties and ratified by 68. While Australia is not one of these, in 2018, the Australian Labor Party adopted a resolution committing it to ratify the TPNW in government.
It was moved by Anthony Albanese.
For the sake of young Australians already concerned about climate change, ratifying the treaty is one way the government can send a signal of hope for the future. It must be done.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
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