Kenny’s Voice for Simpletons

I see that the Voice of distraction and misdirection was at it again in the Weekend Australian. Chris Kenny lays bare the No campaigns “Hateful Eight” scare tactics. I can’t cover them all. Here are the first three. I’m sure you can as easily knock down the other five.

According to Kenny, it is a “blatant untruth” that the Voice inserts race into the Constitution. He notes that race is already in the Constitution and that, in any event race, is an “outdated concept.”

Race is in the Constitution; that’s true. It is in section 25, where it was placed at federation to ensure that states could not exclude people from particular races from voting for their parliaments, if they wanted to count them as part of their population for calculating their representation in the federal parliament. It is an anti-racial-discrimination provision. In section 51 (xxvi) the Commonwealth was given power, through the 1967 referendum, to make laws for the people of any race. The purpose was to allow the federal government to make laws benefitting Aboriginal people.

OK then, “race” is in the Constitution. What isn’t in the Constitution is a provision which gives any racial group a right which others don’t have. Because that would be racist. What is in there now is not racist. The Voice would be racist. Kenny needs to stop playing clever games and learn the difference between race and racism. When those supporting the No case talk about race being inserted into the Constitution, they are, in that context, talking about racism being inserted. And, right now there is no racism in the Constitution; as there would be, if the Yes case were to get up. As to race being an outdated concept, if only it were.

According to Kenny, the argument that the Voice “will deliver a treaty, reparations and more…form the heart of the scare campaign and deliberately ignore” its lack of legal power.

Legal power comes from two primary sources. A vote of the majority of the parliament. And decisions of the High Court. The Voice of itself cannot exert legal power. But as a constitutionally enshrined body it will wield significant influence. How that translates into action over time will be dependent on the ever-changing political composition of the parliament and on the political leaning of the High Court. Both unpredictable. However, the Voice will only have to find one or two propitious sets of circumstances to get its radical agenda through.

We know that treaty is the next cab of the rank after the Voice. That’s part of the Uluru Statement. We know that many activists behind the Voice see reparations and some form of sovereignty wrapped up in a treaty. Does Kenny lack imagination? The activists don’t. For them, the Voice is simply the first step to give them a sold constitutional base from which to seize the opportunity to build a much grander edifice.

According to Kenny, the Uluru Statement is not more than one page. Claims that it is longer are “false.”

Again, Kenny is indulging in game playing. The Uluru one-pager is a distillation of a process captured in the records of discussions and meetings. It is surely fair enough to regard those records as pertinent to interpreting and better understanding the one-pager? That is the substance of the matter. Instead of engaging with that substance, Kenny dances around it. It’s unedifying from a supposed conservative. I suppose “supposed” is the operative word.

38 responses to “Kenny’s Voice for Simpletons”

  1. Mak Siccar Avatar
    Mak Siccar

    The comments in the Oz are rather castigating, and rightly so. Kenny’s blind spot on this issue is astonishing and very disappointing.

  2. Rabz Avatar

    kenny is a pretend non-collectivist.

    I’ve used the descriptor above carefully.

  3. Boambee John Avatar
    Boambee John


    Like Tum Flummery, whom I suspect went hard on the Klimate Kaper as a way ti work his way back into “polite” society and its fashionable dinner parties as a way to atone for his heresy in The Future Eaters, I suspect that Kenny is using Da InVoice as a way to atone for his work on Hindmarsh Island.

    Neither seems aware of the Groucho Marx philosophy (paraphrased) that “I wouldn’t want to go to dinner with anyone who would invite me”.

  4. Boambee John Avatar
    Boambee John

    … to work … by atoning for …

  5. Bruce in WA Avatar
    Bruce in WA

    Phuck Kenny AND the horse he rode in on … I’m still voting NO.

  6. Christine Avatar

    Can’t see Kenny persuading anyone; he’s just indulging himself.
    I agree he’s atoning.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    It’s quite clear the Voice will be comprised of urban aboriginal people who lockstep vote Labor, and will therefore be an effective veto on anything, anything at all, that a future Liberal Government tries to do.

    It is a not entirely soft dictatorship, written into the Constitution and impossible to remove.

    It is worse than Apartheid: it’s an actual leftist coup.

    If Kenny can’t see that he’s credulous. It’s obvious.

  8. Roger Avatar

    ,According to Kenny, it is a “blatant untruth” that the Voice inserts race into the Constitution. He notes that race is already in the Constitution and that, in any event race, is an “outdated concept.”

    He’s right there, at least.

    So let’s remove it from the constitution and all legislation.

    Welfare to be based on need, for starters.

  9. Dot Avatar

    According to Kenny, it is a “blatant untruth” that the Voice inserts race into the Constitution. He notes that race is already in the Constitution and that, in any event race, is an “outdated concept.”

    Technically he’s right, but this belies why the Voice is a con job.

    129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice

    In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:

    there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
    the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
    the Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its the composition, functions, powers and procedures.

    Why is he technically correct though?

    Because the Voice is so badly designed and drafted.

    Parliament could make rules that it was to be entirely made up of Italian and Indian immigrants.

    It could even make up a rule that it was to be composed entirely of Anglican and Catholic Anglo-Irish males born in Australia who speak English as their first language.

    Technically, you don’t feel your brains being blown out, so it’s not as bad as people are led to believe.

  10. Buccaneer Avatar

    Frankly there is only one of the three points that comes remotely close to needing a rebuttal. If there will be no legal power in the voice, the question would specifically say the voice will have no legal power, it is after all going to be inserted into the primary legal document that underpins the laws of the country. But it doesn’t.

    The other two questions highlight that this omission is deliberate, of course inserting a non specific privilege for one race of people in the constitution is racist. How do people think apartheid started? The desire to ‘protect’ one race over all others and the accompanying raft of legislation to do so didn’t all happen in one hit.

    That the Ulu?u statement is self evidently more than the one page sanitised summary. Voice proponents should keep spouting that bollocks, only the true believer rubes swallow that one.

  11. Muddy Avatar

    The elite don’t remain elite by lifting to their level those below them.

  12. Damon Avatar

    Being brought up in the 50s and sixties, when Australia would not even consider playing cricket against South Africa, I find it more than amazing that we are now seriously considering instituting a mirror image of that racist regime.

  13. Damon Avatar

    … but there are no mirrors in the halls of power.

  14. Ceres Avatar

    Love your heading Peter.
    Kenny is committing to being wrong. He cannot guarantee that rent and reparations will not follow a Voice.
    I can just imagine the blackmail that could occur to avoid threats of proceeding to the High Court and gumming up essential Government business possibly for years.
    Give us $100 million and we will not proceed to the High Court because we don’t believe you’ve listened enough to our ‘representations’. Remember Albanese stated. “It would be a brave government who ignored the Voice”.

  15. Damon Avatar

    The essence of the dispute is that if you ‘claim’ to be aboriginal, you will be accorded benefits not available to the rest of the population.

    It’s indisputable, and it’s that simple.

  16. Damon Avatar

    Albanese wants to go down in history. Well, he will. Henceforth, whether the Voice succeeds or fails, race will be an element in any political discussion. Any goodwill the population held towards the aboriginals will rapidly be eroded.

  17. DrBeauGan Avatar

    Any goodwill the population held towards the aboriginals will rapidly be eroded.

    I’m afraid that’s true. Currently there’s a lot of goodwill for aborigines, we can see what is happening in the outback and we see that it’s neither fair nor just. And we object strenuously. On the other hand, we see grifting activists with less than ten percent aboriginal ancestry making a nuisance of themselves.

    I don’t give half a damn about someone’s ancestry; I judge people as individuals. Unfortunately, not everyone does. It’s intellectual laziness to judge people by whatever collective they belong to, but most people are intellectually lazy.

  18. Kingsley Avatar

    What amazes me, but probably shouldn’t, is how the Yes “elite” have no idea how little we mistrust them. They smugly claim the Voice doesn’t say there will be reparations or some veto over parliament thinking they’ve made some killer point . We know it strictly speaking doesn’t say that, but we don’t trust you to then immediately start agitating for it 5 minutes after you get your Voice passed. If you are being forced to walk the plank the smart person refuses to make even the first step down it.

  19. billie Avatar

    Albo the tory fighter, tilting at anyone opposing his vision.

    His place in history guaranteed, as a devisive figure.

    Now Julie Bishop, a Clinton Foundation investor with taxpayers money, joins Labor, how predictable. Waiting for Chrissy Pyne from Adelaide to join as well.

  20. Colonel Crispin Berka Avatar
    Colonel Crispin Berka
  21. Colonel Crispin Berka Avatar
    Colonel Crispin Berka

    Leeser says young people should not wait for permission to participate in this campaign, and “don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, you will see things others don’t.”
    Right! They’ll believe things which aren’t true, in other words. The Yes campaign is so desperate for votes they need people born yesterday to parrot their propaganda uncritically.

  22. Mother Lode Avatar
    Mother Lode

    Kenny may believe that it is only a little thing, thinking that The Voice will only interrupt the otherwise raucous deliberation of that most dysfunctional creche for the most dysfunctional children – known formally as Parliament – to opine that one law or other might disadvantage Aborigines unduly through lack of awareness of their mystical attachments.

    He may really believe that.

    Remember a few years ago when the government assured us that Same Sex Marriage would not affect normies, who were in fact being churlish in withholding their special bliss from those who just happened to be in love with someone of the same sex? Love is love!

    And now we have trannies naked in the girls toilets at swimming pools and rolling their eyes and tittering at their own lewd jokes to small children in libraries. And teachers abusing the trusting natures of kids to fill their heads with gender nonsense where a lopped penis is a trophy as the stuffed heads of lions, zebras, and moose used to be.

    Does anyone believe that even the most deranged spittle-spraying teacher in 2013 felt a missionary zeal for gender their and mutilating children’s bodies. Yet now they can probably not imagine themselves not being so.

    The fact they did not think something through does not make it less dangerous or less potent a poison.

  23. Colonel Crispin Berka Avatar
    Colonel Crispin Berka

    Leeser says that change is not the main risk of this referendum!
    The main risk is same-old same-old!

    He also clarifies that the members of the Voice will be ATSI.
    The Voice’s advice can be ignored, or cherry picked, by government, “just like any local council’s advisory bodies”.

    He points out correctly that the No campaign has talked about everything other than the actual wording of the constitutional change being voted on. He says this is proof that the wording of the proposed change is safe.

    Yeah, it’s just difficult to believe that if you vote for the Voice that the only thing that will change is a new Voice. Albo has made that clear.

    Leeser admits the power of the Voice is still to be decided, after just having declared that the body is only advisory.

  24. Colonel Crispin Berka Avatar
    Colonel Crispin Berka

    Leeser says the voice is needed because there is only one group of people that parliament makes special laws about, and that’s aboriginals, and so the voice is needed to make sure the special laws are appropriate.

    Amazing. Racist laws should be repealed, not supported with another racist body.
    His reasoning is logical but wrong.

  25. Christine Avatar

    I wonder who chose the word “modest”.
    Probably Pearson.

    If it were a modest plan, they wouldn’t want it.

    Of course it’s a plan on a grand scale.

  26. Damon Avatar

    I challenge anybody to demonstrate, anywhere in the world, that a minority, once given power, has failed to exercise it.

  27. Colonel Crispin Berka Avatar
    Colonel Crispin Berka

    Sky currently televising a “panel session on the Voice” at ANU in which there are NO representatives of the No case. None. Four in favour and crickets against.

    This after the Vice-Chancellor said the university should be encouraging curiosity.

  28. Colonel Crispin Berka Avatar
    Colonel Crispin Berka

    “The Voice referendum does not stop a Treaty from being made in the future… but Treaty is already being done at State and Territory level.” – one of the main organisers of the Uluru Statement from The Heart (at ANU panel).

  29. pete m Avatar
    pete m

    In many High Court constitution decisions the Judges refer to the conventions for insight into the meaning of the words in the final constitution. Good enough for the High Court, good enough for us.

  30. Old Goat Avatar
    Old Goat

    Being indigenous is the latest card in the game of victimhood . I hope you all feel guilty . Sorry just wasn’t enough . Everything will get fixed if we double down . What can possibly go wrong ?

  31. Simon Morgan Avatar
    Simon Morgan

    Kenny persists with the argument that the Voice is purely advisory – despite the term advisory being deliberately left out of the Statement. He doesn’t go on to ask himself ‘What would happen if the advice received was rejected?

    Margot Kingston has made it crystal clear what she thinks will happen in that situation – it’s straight off to the High Court we go.

    Kenny – The Voice was put together by activists like Kingston and Mayo – please take those blinkers off, and soon FFS.

  32. Perfidious Albino Avatar
    Perfidious Albino

    Good point Pete M, was thinking the same – the contemporaneous notes on the other 25 pages will inform a future ‘interpretation’ of the 1 pager.

  33. areff Avatar

    I have on my desk a mechanic’s manual for a 300E Mercedes, with a lovely picture of such a vehicle on the cover. The following 300 pages explain how it works and how to go about doing whatever needs doing to it. This is as you might expect.

    The Statement, though, observes different rules: Lovely picture painted on the initial page (complete with lotsa dots and snaky lines), but what follows has, according to Kenny, absolutely nothing to do with the topic.

    You’d have to be thicker than John Pesutto, another Voice sympathiser, to accept that.

  34. Christine Avatar

    Aboriginal Affairs Minister “opens up” on medical condition. It hasn’t gone unnoticed; but she needed to declare herself fighting fit. The only people affected by this revelation will already be yesvoters.
    Time she “opened up” on her flora and fauna claim.

  35. Anchor What Avatar
    Anchor What

    Much is being made (again!) of the allegedly 60,000 years of occupation by the tribes. But as one historian put it, despite having all those years to develop, one culture which hadn’t worked out how to boil water was confronted by another which had just invented the steam engine.

  36. Anchor What Avatar
    Anchor What

    The 1967 referendum didn’t solve the problem of cultural failure. Nor did Sit Down Money, Land Rights, The Big Sorry, or ATSIC. But now we are being told that Da Voice will lead to an improvement in everything, and that we will go forward “walking together”. I don’t believe it, and not do Jacinta and Warren.

  37. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha Avatar
    Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    But as one historian put it, despite having all those years to develop, one culture which hadn’t worked out how to boil water was confronted by another which had just invented the steam engine.

    Geoffrey Blainey – probably the greatest historian this country has ever produced. I don’t count Henry Reynolds as a contender.

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