Here we go again. No sooner is Labor elected than they claim a mandate to create an institution that will override the democratic rights of indigenous people and deliver from on high the ‘voice’ of Aboriginal Australians.
The Prime Minister refuses to give any details saying as it will kill the prospects of a successful referendum. We suspect he is right. In any event, we don’t need any details to know that whatever Labor, the Greens and the teals create will be captured by a green woke left elite, like every other national institution from the national broadcaster and the national gallery to the Australia Day Committee, the Australia Council of the Arts and the Australian Human Rights Commission. The expression of a dissenting view in such bodies is the lonely exception that proves the rule.
The PM says says he’s ‘learning from history’. By that he appears to mean that since he announced almost no policy before getting elected, he hopes the same strategy will work again.
The history Mr Albanese is not interested in learning from is the long list of Labor failures in Aboriginal affairs. The road to indigenous misery is littered with feel-good intentions, starting with H.C. ‘Nugget’ Coombs, whose separatist, socialist policies, championed by Mr Whitlam, still prevent many Aborigines from economically developing their lands. Mr Hawke’s government created the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and he said that by 1990, no Australian child would live in poverty. Sadly, far too many Aboriginal children are still poor, while ATSIC crumbled under the weight of scandal and corruption in 2004.
If Labor wanted to learn from these historic failures it might create a ‘voice’ first and iron out the problems before enshrining it in the Constitution. It would explain how we sack its members if they go off on a frolic, enriching themselves at taxpayer expense? It would also explain how a singular ‘voice’ can speak for a race? And why such such an assumption isn’t inherently racist. It would explain why we need a ‘voice’ when Mr Albanese has an indigenous Minister for Indigenous Australians and a National Indigenous Australians Agency to advise her? And why we need a ‘voice’ when we have 11 indigenous parliamentarians who could, if they want, form a committee of the parliament and review any relevant legislation.
Liberals and conservatives who support the concept need to explain how anything designed by Labor, the Greens and the teals will reflect their values. No doubt the ‘voice’ is a powerful symbol, but of what? Divisive woke identity politics?
One thing is certain. The ‘voice’ will call for a Makarrata Commission ‘to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations, and truth-telling about our history’. Is that what Australians want? And if they don’t, will they be allowed to say ‘No’?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan rattled Beijing into rattling its sabre. Without a shred of irony, President Xi blustered to President Biden that ‘public opinion cannot be denied,’ and ‘those who play with fire will perish by it’. Beijing backed down from its bellicose threat, instead imposing a ban on baked goods from Taiwan including pineapple pastries and Taiwan bear biscuits.
Not since King Alfred have cakes and fire figured so prominently in international relations, but you don’t need a fortune cookie to know why this is happening. It’s a tale of two elections. Pelosi’s Democrats, whose green policies are killing the US economy, need to bolster support ahead of the mid-term Congressional elections, while Xi, whose zero-Covid policies have resulted in less than zero economic growth, needs to talk tough to ensure his anointment as dictator-for-life at the five-yearly congress. None of this suits Biden, whose popularity plummets as inflation soars.
Poor policies in Beijing and Washington have created difficult, dangerous days for the world. For the good of all, let’s hope the mid-term congressionals in the US mark the reassertion of sound policies and strong leadership in Washington.