A flurry of “voice” own goals.

Australians have been warned that if the voice does not receive approval then it will be the end of Welcome to Country, says Marcia Langton. I suspect that for many, many Aussies a future without WtCs is an agreeable thought.

If the voice referendum fails with the result that the WtC recitations permanently became a thing of the past, what would there be not to like? In a post WtC Australia, every sporting code would just have to get on with it, and the same would be true in every office and in every meeting in the land. As business returned to doing something constructive with its time and resources productivity would increase. No more silly virtue signalling from that company that earns its income way above the earth’s surface and well outside the claims of a hunter-gatherer society. To repeat: what’s not to like! To quote the great Rita: “your terms are acceptable, Marcia”.

Perhaps in her desire to encourage the various Aboriginal representatives to get out and actively campaign for the yes vote, Marcia has not sufficiently thought this thing through. Could it be that instead of a warning to her own “mob” that the lucrative WtC will come to an end should the referendum go down, Marcia has encouraged the wider Australian public – a much larger cohort – to vote down the referendum to see an end to this pretend ceremony? If so, this would be one of the classic own goals.

A few days later another voice in the voice debate kicked another own goal. After his colleagues determined that they could not support the Prime Minister’s model for the voice, Julian Lesser, the former shadow Attorney General and spokesman for Indigenous Australians, resigned from the Coalition front bench to campaign instead for the yes vote. Yet despite admitting that he had real concerns over the inclusion of executive representations in the voice, Lesser said he would remain supportive of the referendum even and if the Prime Minister did not heed those concerns. So a lawyer with more than a passing interest in constitutional matters and ten plus years working for Aboriginal recognition in the Constitution, admits to reservations about the direction/power the voice proponents are insisting on, but still declares his support.

A decade leading toward unequal constitutional recognition of citizens while simultaneously maintaining his constitutional conservative moniker looks like a political dead end for Julian. But is this too harsh a judgement of the poor man? Maybe being dudded at the final hurdle with that left field inclusion of executive government by his voice committee colleagues, yet still insisting on supporting that position, is more a case of being hogtied in a “Stockholm Syndrome-like” grasp. As Janet Albrechtsen wrote in The Australian last week, Lesser ‘…appears so emotionally invested in the voice he will vote for it even if it installs co-government’. A particularly unedifying position for a shadow Attorney General to be in and the premature end to a “stunning” political career from a political nonentity, , as Greg Sheridan put it. (Finally, something to agree with Sheridan on). Then own goals started piling up.

Senator Simon Birmingham, the shadow Foreign Affairs spokesperson and Coalition Senate leader, announced that he would not campaign for the Liberal Party no-position. But, unlike Lesser, Birmingham intended to remain on the front bench. Birmingham’s announcement had the effect that some of his colleagues declared his position untenable. On Sky, and in his standard bureaucratese, he endeavoured to hold back the inevitable by expressing an unfounded hope, like Lesser, that the PM would get rid of the reference to the executive. Birmingham must know that he is gone for all money; for having put the knee into a core Westminster principle, this front bencher is now damaged goods.

Then, in The Weekend Australian of last weekend, we had Greg Craven’s U-turn on his previous U-turn, back to backing the referendum. And, like Lesser, he announced that he would maintain that support whether or not the government removes the reference to the executive – which coincidentally was the reason for his original U-turn.

Reasonably it may be asked if Craven has discovered some constitutionally-sound mechanism to maintain his reputation as a constitutional conservative and yet be able to return to the fold of the referendum cheer leaders? Well, no. In fact, his Australian column came down to nothing more than feelz. In this long and boring column of twaddle not once did Craven address any of the constitutional concerns that he – and others – had raised when the Prime Minister finally announced the model. Attempting to propel himself up into the heavenly clouds of vibe purity had only one real consequence, and one which was in the opposite direction. Immediately, he fell back to earth and into the pile of vitriol he had thrown on the Liberal party position for them finally acknowledging that our Constitution is built on the sound democratic principle of one person one vote.

In his final statement, meant, it would seem, to hearken after an earlier generation of brave men who had actually fought and died for freedom, Craven actually declared that ‘…if necessary [he would] bleed for the voice’. But perspiration marks around the collar does not cut it. With these emotionally charged, lawyerly gymnastics, without doubt Craven has undermined his credibility as an actual constitutional lawyer – and an own goal of the most profound.

With still many months until the referendum vote is taken, how many more own goals are out there still?


47 responses to “A flurry of “voice” own goals.”

  1. Kingsley Avatar

    If we are to be beset by Acknowledgments of elders etc on an ongoing basis I’d like to see a law passed that any time one is uttered the person physically uttering it should have to donate $100 to an Aboriginal charitable fund from their own purse or wallet ( not their employers) and any organisation eg QANTAS to donate a grand a pop. They either really mean what they say and are prepared to put their money where their mouth is or stop insulting Aborigines with utterly fake virtue signalling.

  2. Perfidious Albino Avatar
    Perfidious Albino

    I’m not convinced there will be a referendum this year. Albo won’t wear a failed referendum politically, so the urgers will be told to conduct further ‘consultation’ so they can kick the can down the road and/or they’ll legislate something to save face.

  3. billie Avatar

    WTC, is imposed on us and not something done out of respoect or affection.

    What an incredible lack of awareness Marcia has or does she live in such an echo chamber as not to realise there are people with allowable, different opinions.

    The dark threat is childishly transparent, if you don’t get your way, you’ll be angry.

    So what?

    If you do get your way it will be a complete mess or is that the point for some people, they hate so much they are happy just to stuff everything up?


  4. Boambee John Avatar
    Boambee John

    The supporters of the inVoice are now (perhaps too soon for their own case) coming out of the woodwork, expanding on their demands. Also, documents obtained under FoI are also casting some light on the background discussions leading to the Uluru Statement.

    Two key demands now on the table now are for a treaty and, within that, aboriginal sovereignty. But any treaty can only be between separate states. While it might just be possible for two states to exist in the same land area, this is a recipe for ongoing conflict, and not likely to produce an equitable and amicable result.

    Therefore, the land area of Australia must be divided. As the claims for sovereignty and invasion contradict the legal basis of Native Title, the maximum start point for negotiation of a treaty (noting that the aboriginal resistors comprehensively lost) might be the current Native Title holdings for the “Sovereign First Nations” (SFN) state and the rest to remain with the Commonwealth of Australia (CoA). These each will necessarily be non-contiguous states, with blocks of one state inside the other.

    This leads to complicating issues that I will try to clarify later.

  5. Boxcar Avatar

    Of course, if the voice succeeds, there would have to be compensation payable to the White fella for “Value added”.
    And of course we will start action against the Poms for unjust transportation.

    But, if the voice fails, it is confirming australia’s commitment to “One Australia”, so we can hold “Welcome to Australia” ceremonies instead

  6. Tom Avatar

    The conceit of modern journalists is that voters are influenced by what journalists think about politics. My long experience is that voters couldn’t care less about what the media thinks. After all, journalists don’t vote like the electorate at large; coming out of now-compulsory university sausage machines*, journalists almost always support radical politics and politicians who don’t reflect the popular will.

    So newspaper editorials go virtually unread. Their only use is in divining what the public thinks about the issues of the day.

    Since editorials are usually written by senior staff, they normally don’t reflect the radical activism of most journalists.

    I think today’s editorial in The Australian – virtually alone among the hare-brained utterances of most of the media – comes close to reading the public mind in its conclusion:

    We support constitutional recognition of the nation’s Indigenous people. And we support the principle of consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about public policy matters that affect them. We, too, remember the republic referendum. The big lesson from that experience was that the public did not trust the political class enough to give it a blank cheque on reform. Voters want to be sure about the details of what they are voting for and how it will improve things in the way that is being promised. This is the challenge that those who want a successful Yes vote have yet to conquer.

    In spite of the Australian media’s agitation for radical change on indigenous recognition and most other issues, the fact is that Australian referedums rarely succeed. I don’t believe The Voice will be an exception.

    *University degrees for wannabe journalists became virtually compulsory half a century ago when the role of on-the-job cadetships was radically downgraded.

  7. Damon Avatar

    If I never hear acknowledgement of country again, it will be way too soon. There might be a reason for the Lord’s prayer, but there’s no justification for the continual recitation of this crap.

  8. Ceres Avatar

    Yep lots of “own goal” kickers already like the dreaded Marcia and those spineless wimpy legal eagles.
    Good idea also for the likes of the urban aborigines Marcia Langton, Linda Burney, Noel Pearson, Ken Wyatt be deemed ineligible to be appointed (anointed?) to the 24 member Voice representative body, given they’ve been on the gravy train long enough, time to give some newbies a turn at the taxpayer trough.
    Same goes for the Julian Lessers and Birminghams who can’t decide if they’re Arthur or Martha so they could be angling for a lucrative role in the Voice bureaucratic juggernaut, if it gets up. Don’t want to burn their bridges.

  9. Perfidious Albino Avatar
    Perfidious Albino

    Look, if nothing else the Moira Deeming brouhaha in VIC and official adoption of ‘No’ to the Voice Federally has flushed out a few more of the sopping wets at least.

  10. duncanm Avatar

    I prefer “WC”

  11. Boambee John Avatar
    Boambee John

    April 19, 2023 at 3:59 pm
    Of course, if the voice succeeds, there would have to be compensation payable to the White fella for “Value added”.

    A refund of all the money (inflation adjusted) spent on special indigenous programs since the 1967 Referendum would be a good start point in negotiations.

  12. DrBeauGan Avatar

    It does have its comical side.

    Thanks BBS for pointing out the gems. One might find the stupidity and blatant self-interest around depressing, but I’ve long ago got used to humanity. Overall, the comedy wins.

    Craven shows us how rare genuine thought is, and how powerless it is against sentimentality.

  13. Christine Avatar

    Some will be taken in by the “open your hearts” pitch
    but I’m not underestimating the number of people who will vote No, because the government wants them to vote Yes.

  14. Bar Beach Swimmer Avatar
    Bar Beach Swimmer

    Ceres, yes, I see more own goals materialising as the “debate” hots up. Despite what’s painfully obvious to us out here in voter land, these “big legal brains” have less understanding of what is reasonable and acceptable for a democracy, than we do.

    They’re either complete dummies, perfidious, or both. Whatever it is, it shows that all have had too much of taxpayer largess, allowing them to massage their superior intellects and moral preening. More of them being hit by reality will do wonders.

  15. Bar Beach Swimmer Avatar
    Bar Beach Swimmer

    Dr BG, when the comedy wins, you know you’ve already lost.

  16. duncanm Avatar

    BBS – the big legal brains love it – because it will open a floodgate of new work for big legal brains.

    How it affects the common man is not their concern.

  17. Bar Beach Swimmer Avatar
    Bar Beach Swimmer

    the big legal brains love it – because it will open a floodgate of new work for big legal brains

    Dunc, yes, fully agree, lotsa them out there. But it’s the ones squirming in front of the cameras as their reputations take a battering from what even the lowliest blue collar worker understands about what a democracy is.

  18. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha Avatar
    Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Ceres, yes, I see more own goals materialising as the “debate” hots up

    After the revelations of the agenda of “Voice/treaty/truth/compensation/reparations”, yes, several more own goals will be interesting.

  19. mem Avatar

    Had a laugh yesterday in conversation with a lefty inner urban friend. He informed those around that he had already selected his grave site a little out of town and paid for it. I quipped that by the time he died it may likely belong to the Rainbow Serpent and he will need to be moved on. Everyone laughed except him. It hit home.

  20. NFA Avatar

    Thank you Bar Beach Swimmer, and dover0beach.

  21. Perplexed of Brisbane Avatar
    Perplexed of Brisbane

    Went to a funeral today and in deference to the deceased’s views and acknowledgement of the traditional owners was done as they requested. “We acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, His Majesty King George (?) and his descendants!”

    Based on the laughter and applause, NO will be the resounding vote from most of those present.

  22. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha Avatar
    Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    So, I say this to all those Aboriginal activists baying for a better deal: if you want genuine reconciliation and equality of opportunity, begin by looking in the mirror and recognising that your tenure on our land was negative. Having accepted that fact it will be time to find the humility and decency to reach out your hand to “our mob” and say ‘thank you’.

    Thank you for showing us the way out of the most hidebound, violent and atrophied culture on earth.

    Thank you for giving us education and the opportunities that provides.

    Thank you for giving us modern medical support.

    Thank you for providing us with housing and associated services.

    Thank you for feeding us.

    Thank you for giving us control of large areas of land and resources.

    Thank you for giving us royalties from those resources; something that other Australians do not get.

    Thank you for providing most of our needs since settlement in 1788.

    Your mob owes a debt to the rest of us and seeking further representation in Parliament is not the way to balance the books. Only when you stop playing the victim, stop whinging and stop expecting others to provide for your needs will you gain credibility in this great country. To the now very large group of raucous rabble-rousers, stop lamenting your self-imposed poverty and lack of opportunity. Get off your backsides and show a bit of enterprise by becoming self-sufficient. Filter your ancient Aboriginal culture to keep the good bits while discarding the violence, misogyny, clan feuds and humbugging, and ensure every Aboriginal child gets a Western education based on the English language.

    When you make those changes, you will not need a Voice or your fellow Australians’ hand-outs. Only then will we be a genuinely united nation sharing the bounteous resources of our land.

  23. WolfmanOz Avatar

    Great post BBS . . . and some top comments as well !

  24. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha Avatar
    Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    These each will necessarily be non-contiguous states, with blocks of one state inside the other.

    I’m all for separate, sovereign, First Nations States. They can then be invaded by armed bands of settler militia, and sign a proper surrender, this time.

  25. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha Avatar
    Zulu Kilo Two Alpha


    Rol op die vloer en lag my gat af………..

  26. Gabor Avatar

    What is the situation regarding benefits for those Aboriginals who reside on restricted lands?
    I mean, forbidden to enter by other Australians, basically a separate country.
    Surely they don’t need any handouts, living the traditional life.

    Sorry, I’m not familiar with the setup, they can stop mining, fishing, camping too by what I read, so why should we support them?

  27. Bruce Avatar

    Regarding the inVoice and “grievance-mongering”: Consider the “Septic Isles”:


  28. johanna Avatar

    Good question, Gabor. It is because of the abomination called communal property, which disadvantages everybody.

    Imagine the uproar if the taxpayer built your house, connected utilities etc on your private property. But that is what happens on Aboriginal communally owned land. At the same time, the residents get none of the advantages of private property like owning an asset they can sell or increase the value of.

    Since they have no stake in, or control over, their homes they don’t take any pride in them.

    A lot of the social problems in Aboriginal communities are a direct result of the appalling system of ‘communally owned’ land.

  29. Bazinga Avatar

    The greatest own goal is the assertion that voting no would be racist, when the opposite is empirically true.

  30. MatrixTransform Avatar

    can’t forget Senator Thorpe

    … the Voice’s “own goalie”

  31. Boambee John Avatar
    Boambee John


    I mean, forbidden to enter by other Australians, basically a separate country.

    Give them their separate country (or countries) where they can live the traditional “culture”, on “country”. Before 1788, there was no external support, so external support will not be required to “preserve the oldest continuous culture” (sic) in the world, will it?

    How many of the urban activists do you think will take up the offer?

  32. Bar Beach Swimmer Avatar
    Bar Beach Swimmer

    Bazinga, yes that is a big own goal.

    But that own goal is the default for every position the left puts up. To see the editorial in The Oz remind the political class that when it tried to pummel the population with voting yes to the republic, because , if it went down it would show all manner of things. Like we would have “no respect for the country”, or there was “no future vision for us”; or “it would look appalling internationally”.

    So making claims of wacism if you’re against the inVoice (h/t to whomever thought up that one) is from the same playbook.

    The political class never understands that the majority of Aussies don’t care about such things – especially the ones that will make things worse, not better. That’s because they don’t socialise with the kind of people who want to be seen as morally superior and who engage in tearing down others for any supposed transgression that this blowhard class doesn’t like.

    Instead, Aussies are upright people because, on the whole, they try to treat everyone they come across with respect; they don’t spend their time looking for social error wrong thought to call out others on. And if they find it, well, they take the p1ss out of them.

    The average Aussie’s life is about work and family, trying to help others when that help is really needed, and some down time. Not wacism and not WtC.

  33. Bar Beach Swimmer Avatar
    Bar Beach Swimmer

    wrong thought
    inverted commas

  34. WolfmanOz Avatar

    Bar Beach Swimmer says:
    April 20, 2023 at 10:38 am

    Beautifully said.

    This is still a great couple try . . . unfortunately there’s a very noisy minority who are pretty much scum who wish to tear the whole thing down.

  35. WolfmanOz Avatar

    country not couple !

  36. Bazinga Avatar

    It’s not the final nail, logic alone wont do it.
    At least the opposition in the media could make a decent effort to point out, at some length, the hypocrisy every time waacism is attempted to be used as a leftist talking point and turn it into an actually true talking point.

  37. Bazinga Avatar

    The point is to turn people who are soft yes’s into no’s.

  38. Forest stylist Avatar
    Forest stylist

    The High Court Love case means criminals who have never been to Australia or are not Australian citizens but claim to be Aboriginal are entitled to be treated as such if they meet the current guidelines.
    Could this lead to a flood of refugees claiming ancenstry or would they need to commit a crime first?

  39. Bar Beach Swimmer Avatar
    Bar Beach Swimmer

    FS, how many people know about that case, I wonder? But, yes, there are many who do and who are appalled that the land rights legislation enabled that claim to be won. So, new/amended legislation can bring about what was previously asserted could not happen. We’re all now once bitten, twice shy.

    And on that case, the fact the the Federal Govt did nothing about it – didn’t even try to argue that this reading of previously unknown rights of a group of non-citizens should stand is bitter pill for us to swallow. Thank you, Scummo.

    But while they may not be fully aware of that HC case, most Aussies are very much aware of the billions of $ spent every year, the special treatment for a few and the shocking and ignored abuse of women and children in “traditional communities”, of the violence, the crime, and of Lidia Thorpe. It doesn’t take an Einstein or a nation of Einsteins to work out that this nation is being dudded.

    MT, yes, Lidia Thorpe is a great own goal from the Greens – should have put her on my list of own goals from that angle!

  40. grumpy Avatar

    I’m all for letting aborigines live on their traditional lands, as long as they live their traditional life. No money, no booze, no firearms, no vehicles, none of the contrivances of modern Western civilisation.

  41. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha Avatar
    Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I’m all for letting aborigines live on their traditional lands, as long as they live their traditional life.

    With all the endless taboos and savage punishments of tribal law.

  42. thefrollickingmole Avatar

    The question that will sink it that hasnt been asked.

    How much will it cost?

    Duplicating a 4th level of government, then the treaty/in-voice etc.
    Currently 90 million dollars a day spent on Abo issues.

    Total direct expenditure on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2012-13 was estimated to be $30.3 billion, accounting for 6.1% of total direct general government expenditure.

    Or, to put it another way, its costing the equivalent of the NDIS every year.
    At an annual running cost of $35.8 billion in 2022-23, the federal government will spend more on the NDIS this financial year than Medicare ($30.8 billion), aged care ($27.7 billion), and support for state government hospitals ($27.3 billion).
    And thats the groups CURRENT expenditure, the wreckage of the in-voice will be multiples of that.

  43. The Beer whisperer Avatar
    The Beer whisperer

    But perhaps the biggest own goal of all is the endorsement by the Law Society.

    Seriously, when you’re salivating for a particular result and you’re about as popular as yesterday’s prawns left out in the sun, best to keep your mouth shut.

  44. Speedbox Avatar

    thefrollickingmole says:
    April 20, 2023 at 4:27 pm

    For a long time I wondered where all the money goes. Every indigenous person in the country should be living in a two storey house and driving a Mercedes! How can we spend that much money and yet, a great many thousands of ’em live in utter poverty.

    Yeah, I know, booze, charlatans, fraud, sheer waste…… but it still astonishes me that we carve through that much money every year with not much to show for it.

    Separately, I think the Voice is a Trojan Horse. If it gets up, next will come a Treaty with sovereignty attachments followed by a “Treaty Levy” applied to every non-indigenous person in the country. Meanwhile, the Voice will become a de facto executive arm of government. Somebody mentioned similarities to the British House of Lords the other day and that seemed apt (and ironic that the Voice may somewhat mimic the approach of the white devil colonisers).

  45. Gabor Avatar

    Speedbox says:
    April 21, 2023 at 4:37 pm

    thefrollickingmole says:
    April 20, 2023 at 4:27 pm

    For a long time I wondered where all the money goes. Every indigenous person in the country should be living in a two storey house and driving a Mercedes! How can we spend that much money and yet, a great many thousands of ’em live in utter poverty.

    I, semi seriously, suggested years ago, that we should halve the indigenous budget, divide the sum by the numbers and give that amount to every individual with no questions asked.
    They would live in the way you described.
    We would also be better off.

    One proviso, abolish every state and commonwealth department, except the few people
    , who actually dole out the money every month, or whenever.

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