“As I have pointed out repeatedly the only point of contention is constitutional enshrinement, the rest is noise.” So says Chris Kenny in the Weekend Australian. The only point? Yes, that’s right. That is the whole and complete point of the referendum. All kinds of stupid legislation is routinely enacted – net zero, for example. That’s quite different from enshrining it in the Constitution. Kenny seems bright enough whenever I see him on Sky News. Evidently, the Voice has undermined his reason.
But Greg Craven takes the cake. He evidently thinks the proposed wording of the constitutional amendment is awful, yet he’ll vote for it anyway. Apparently he intends to argue the case for a change in wording having already ceded his vote and support for the current wording. The Julian Leeser option. Advice to the PM and Linda Burney and Noel Pearson, safely ignore Craven, Leeser and their fellow travellers. Their votes are in the bag. In fact, you could afford to tinker with the words to make it absolutely clear that the Voice could inject itself into every executive decision and would be staffed to allow it to do so, and still not lose these people who have nailed their colours to the mast wherever it leads
Craven also invokes his Catholic faith and conservatism to bolster his case.
For me the moral logic of the voice flows deeply from my Catholic faith. All people are given life by a loving God, who demands they be able to live it to the fullest extent. It is clear to me that indigenous people have never had that right… [the voice] will deliver vast symbolic recognition of their equal citizenship in our commonwealth…The moral payload is inescapable. It is no coincidence that many conservative supporters of the voice come from explicitly Christian or Jewish traditions.
It’s hard to know where to begin with this bafflegab. First, many prominent Aboriginal people, those who will most certainly hold most sway cometh the Voice, are far wealthier than average Australians. True there are some disadvantaged indigenous people in remote communities but it’s not hard to find many disadvantaged non-indigenous people, in fact more of them in absolute numbers. What is living life to the fullest extent anyway? What does it mean? I have no idea and neither does Craven. And I don’t pretend to know what God demands, as Craven does, apart from the Ten Commandments, and loving God and our neighbours as ourselves. That aside, how in the world can God demand of me that other people live their lives to the fullest extent possible. Give us all a break. We can’t control the behavior and sometimes the self-destructive behaviour of others.
Second, Craven misses the irony of putting in the constitution a privileged status for those claiming Aboriginality, as being a symbolic recognition of their equality. No, its recognition of their superiority. Imagine a clause in the Constitution giving only those who can establish they are at least 80 percent European additional political representation. There would an outcry of racism. Claims of white supremacism would no doubt fill the airwaves.
Third, there is no moral imperative at issue. The moral imperative for us all is to do our best to help and to provide opportunities for all Australians in need, without fear or favour. Choosing the means to try to do that is a matter of practicality and pragmatism. Some people, including Craven, claim that the establishment of the Voice is the best means available to help that section of the disadvantaged population who are indigenous. However, by definition, there is no evidence in support of that claim; and other people of good will and experience believe that it will do damage to the body politic in general and to the Aboriginal cause in particular. That there are better ways. Morality is wrapped up in trying to do something not in deciding the best means.
Fourth, I am not at all sure of the Craven’s data when he claims that it’s no coincidence that many conservatives in support of the voice come from Judeo-Christian backgrounds. I’d like to see the data. First, conservatives are much more likely to be Christians than are lefties and greenies. That kind of biases the sample. Second, it’s probably best to delete from any list of conservatives those who are CINOs; wets, like Leeser and Simon Birmingham, as examples. They simply don’t count as conservatives. Chris Kenny’s an anomaly, so far as can tell. Is he Christian? I don’t know. I do know that he was done like a dinner recently when he interviewed Jacinta Nampijinpa Price. Looked red-faced and most uncomfortable as she gently skewered him with cogent arguments. Sadly, he’s backed himself into a corner. I see cognitive dissonance in his immediate future.