What does the Uluru statement at the heart of the Voice mean?

Australians are being asked to change the nation’s constitution on October 14.

We are told that to achieve reconciliation with indigenous people, a special race-based advisory committee to the Parliament and executive must be cemented in the constitution.

There are myriad well-funded indigenous bodies advising government so it’s not clear why a new one is needed and why it must be permanent, regardless of its performance.

Anyone asking for clarity is referred to the one-page version of Uluru Statement from the Heart. Apparently the other 20 or so pages which demand reparations and treaties are irrelevant, but that’s a topic for a future blog.

Australia is the least racist country in the world and its people have an abundance of good will towards Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders.

We all want to recognise them and would do so in the constitution in a heartbeat if that was what was on the ballot.

But it’s tricky and deceitful of the government and the Yes campaign to say the Voice referendum is about recognition when that is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, continually refers us to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which he says is a simple and gracious invitation.

The strong implication is that to be unenthusiastic about its proposal for special political rights for some indigenous people lacks good manners.

So what’s at the heart of the Uluru statement?

The Uluru statement is at the heart of the Voice. It is not gracious; it is not modest.

The bottom line is it calls for “the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution”.

This is needed, according to the drafters, because there are “structural” problems in Australia which keep indigenous people “powerless” and that this torments them.

But is that really true? There are 11 indigenous people elected to the privileged position of members of the federal parliament.

People from three percent of the population make up five per cent of the parliament, elected on merit by the goodwill of their fellow citizens.

If indigenous people are tormented by powerlessness because the structures of Australia conspire to keep them down, why do a disproportionate number hold positions of power?

Warren Mundine, a Bundjalung man whose grandparents lived in humpies, has risen to be a prominent businessman and lives on Sydney’s north shore, one of the wealthiest communities in Australia.

Voice architect Noel Pearson lives in Noosa, hardly a place inhabited by those tormented by powerlessness.

As Jacinta Nampijinpa Price points out, the gap between wealth and poverty in Australia has less to do with race and more to do with remote living conditions.

The Uluru statement says indigenous people are the most incarcerated people in the world.

It’s not clear if that can be substantiated but as Price says, indigenous men who bash and rape women and girls need to be incarcerated to protect women and girls.

Too many are let out and repeat their crimes.

This is not a race issue, it’s a behavioural issue.

The Uluru statement implies that the incarceration rates are somehow the fault of the structures of Australian society.

Wouldn’t it be better to teach indigenous men to respect women and girls rather than blaming others?

Where the Uluru statement is right is in its assertion that indigenous people are no more inclined to crime than anyone else.

Crime is clearly not race-based so why is the solution proposed race-based?

The Uluru statement pleads for special treatment of “first nations” people because of historical and religious ties to the land.

The history of humanity is about the movement of people over the face of the earth.

Those in the Albanese government pushing for special political rights for indigenous people based on ancestral spiritual ties to the land can’t then turn around and say Palestinians rights should trump Jewish ties to the land of Israel.

The Uluru statement calls for “sovereignty” and a “Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history”.

The Voice is clearly the body activists want to negotiate a treaty.

The Prime Minister’s assertions the Voice referendum is “not about treaty”, something he said four times on radio 2GB, are simply not true.

Makarrata is about retribution, not reconciliation. It’s a spear through the thigh of an enemy.

The Uluru statement is at the heart of the Voice. It is not gracious; it is not modest.

It will divide our nation.


Lyle Shelton is the National Director of the Family First Party and is spokesman for Christians for Constitutional Equality.

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  • Albert Gersh
    published this page in Latest news 2023-09-27 17:48:35 +1000