Guest Post – The Drowning Voice


The Beer Whisperer

My first ever referendum was as a bright-eyed and bushy tailed young man, albeit naive. Yet I was sufficiently trained in scepticism by my father to quickly see the distortions from both sides. I consequently read the actual constitutional change, and made up my own mind that it was a trojan horse for any of a host of things unsaid. Yet now, some decades later, the no case doesn’t exist at all, and as such its unofficial representations are readily distorted by the official yes case.

So I did what any diligent, forewarned citizen should do – I read the proposed constitutional wording. And no one has questioned the term used in the proposed constitutional wording – executive government. Immediately, I cottoned on to the implication that it gave The Voice to Parliament access to, well, more than just parliament. It gives access to Cabinet. Cabinet, unlike parliament, is secretive. It is not recorded in Hansard, is not televised, and occurs behind closed doors, away from the prying eyes of the public.

Yet The Voice to Parliament indeed does have access to it. It’s only recording is in Cabinet minutes, which, again, is not available to the public.

But, as it turns out, executive government is not simply Cabinet. It includes the Prime Minister, so they will have direct access to Albo as well as every other Prime Minister, outside of parliament, and vice versa. It also includes Cabinet and Ministry, the latter of which controls all of the federal government departments. But this isn’t the full extent, not even close. It also gives access to the pubic service/bureaucracy, of which it surely includes department heads, who advise government. The clear implication here is that they will have access, perhaps separately, to both the bureaucracy who advises government, and government itself, potentially playing off each against the other as they see fit. The potential for manipulation has not been fully thought through, to say the least.

Dragging the chain is the King’s representative in Australia, the Governor General. To quote directly from the source, “Whilst the Governor-General is not an elected official and performs a largely ceremonial role, he or she is nevertheless crucial to the operation of Australia’s executive government”. The Governor General of course chairs the Executive Council for starters, among a host of other functions. Would The Voice to Parliament have a seat at this council?

Actually, i’m asking the wrong question. In constitutional legalese, the correct question is “does the constitution disallow the Voice to Parliament having a seat at the Executive Council?” As it turns out, the Executive Council is somewhat anachronistic as it in effect in modern times a rubber stamp, yet each question begets all relevant questions. Has the formal Yes case addresssed such issues as this? Of course not. With so many questions, it makes sense that the Yes case would avoid it for convenience, or, more specifically, avoid such inconveniences.

As repeatedly seen, there is far more to the Voice to Parliament than claimed by the Prime Minister. Rather, the Voice to Parliament is a demonstrable misnomer. It’s quite literally a Voice to far more than simply parliament. It’s a voice to both houses of parliament, the Prime Minister, the Governor General and all minsters and their department heads. Is national security relevant to aboriginal peoples? Why wouldn’t it be? The Voice to Parliament (sic) has access not only to the four defence ministers, but the Department of Defence as well. The primary decision-making committee of the Department of Defence is the Defence Committee, of whose members include the chiefs of each arm of the defence forces, being the army, navy and air force. Will they have a real say or simply be ignored? The Yes case has not offered answers, or indeed sought them, as far as their public communications indicates.

[Removed at author’s request]

I doubt it takes a law degree to understand that any appeal to the High Court of Australia requires appellants to demonstrate laws to be in violation of the Constitution. Hence, such assertions that it is merely an advisory body, which is backed by nothing more than thin air, have not been subject to legal testing. Like a certain American legislation, you’ll have to vote YES to find out its limitations, if indeed there are any. A simple “just” or “only” with the missing word “advisory” would restrict members of the High Court from the more adventurous interpretations that appear to be otherwise possible.

Importantly, the Ballot Paper asks a non-binding question to which we are all potentially bound. Worse, its reference to recognition is a demonstrably bald-faced lie. A mere 10% being swayed by a misleading question determined by the current government who drafted and had passed the referendum legislation will likely turn the unlikely Yes vote into a permanent constitutional change with demonstrably uncertain outcomes.

And yet the papa elephant in the room is the use of the term “representations” over the Albanese-asserted “advisory” that simply does not exist. Definitions are representations are likely to be found deep in the bowels of High Court judgements, or perhaps not at all. But what is highly likely is that they will refer to the Uluru statement to try and determine intent.

What did they intend? As the very basis for the referendum change, they would likely ask what the framers of the Uluru statement and indigenous signatories intend when they chose the word representations instead of the outright lie that is perpetrated as mere advice. Call me cynical but i’m not trusting the assertions of lying politicians when our entire system of government and ultimate laws of the land are at stake.And in any case, no one can guarantee intent or predict the High Court forever into perpetuity. AIt’s just another unanswered question apparently covered by the Prime Minister’s “trust us” assertions. Just today Pat Dodson asserted that referendums (sic) are simply about principles, demonstrating a convenient ignorance of law in what appears to be another desperate attempt to persuade people on a falsity. Surely a sound reform would narrow the reform to clear, decisive, focused outcomes not subject to interpretation lest it be misinterpreted and scare the horses as a result?

On that note, conservatism isn’t an ideology, it’s a pragmatic response to potential threats. I do not consider myself conservative, for the simple reason that I favour reform where I think improvement is required. If anything, conservative simply means a higher threshold for change to negate potentially perverse outcomes. With this particular proposed constitutional change, far more questions are raised than answers, and appeals to emotion trigger numerous red flags due to their rhetorical use by politicians with something to hide. And our biggest politician of all, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, has been leading the charge with misrepresentations of the Voice to Parliament (sic). His claim that it is a humble request is in no way supported by the facts. His frequent references to advice has no foundation whatsoever. The sheer carpetbaggery of his assertions are very strong indeed.

There are questions that the average punter hasn’t thought of, yet haven’t been asked, let alone answered. How does this additional chapter affect the separation of powers, if at all? Note that the separation of powers refers to distinct chapters. Another chapter poses questions that are yet to be asked, but may be at any point into the infinite future. What importance is having it’s own chapter as opposed to being placed elsewhere? What weight, if any, would it have? You’ll have to wait for a future High Court bench to tell you. Furthermore, how will the principle of procedural fairness be affected, if at all? Clearly, it is up to proponents to address such concerns as they are the ones asking Australians to make fundamental change to the ultimate laws of our country.

Personally, i support in principle any reform to improve democracy or our access to decision-makers. Indeed, such a reform could become a template for all Australians to have more say in decisions made on our behalf. Yet such reforms have a threshold of certainty to ensure that such reforms do not have unintended outcomes or perverse outcomes. The previous referendum on becoming a republic failed largely on this basis, and hopefully, this referendum will also. Do it once, do it right, but a half-baked change of which the Prime Minister himself admits to not reading it suggests it isn’t being done right. I don’t expect a lifetime politician to get it right, but he is squandering an opportunity to make a change which could plausibly result in improvements, at the ultimate expense of aborigines who have been repeatedly failed by politicians out for cheap and quick frephoto ops.

A casual observation of the model for the Voice to Parliament (sic) reveals many flaws, the least of which is the non-existence of individual aborigines, but also its heniously authoritarian top-down approach. The lack of clarity, misrepresentations and over-simplified assertions potentially belie a purposeful distortion of the truth to mislead the Australian public as to the true nature of the proposed constitutional change.

Dishonesty betrays many intentions; the mere presence substituting effectively for known lies. Indeed, the entire endeavour is brought into question, and for good reason. If and when the government or a future government revisits this scarred proposal, i will try not to be clouded by past misrepresentations, but it will be difficult, and the fault of that will like firmly with the current leadership. Until then, i will defer to the now famous meme of Simon Cowell when faced with an undercooked attempt – it’s a no from me. It will simply elevate privileged voices while drowning out all the rest.


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The Beer whisperer
The Beer whisperer
October 6, 2023 12:24 am

Thanks, Dover.

Further information on executive government from UNSW. They’re rather gleeful about it all, but it’s clearly an all-consuming voice, involved in all facets of government. Department heads won’t be able to scratch their arses without consulting first.

Explainer: what is executive government and what does it have to do with the Voice to Parliament?

Salvatore, Iron Publican
October 6, 2023 2:16 am

First class compilation Beer Whisperer. Thank you.

Diogenes
Diogenes
October 6, 2023 7:25 am

Beery,
The actual wording of the amendment does include recognition. The very first words…

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

Damon
Damon
October 6, 2023 8:04 am

Strictly speaking, Australia did not exist at that time. Original occupants of the continent , maybe, but First Peoples, no.

The Beer whisperer
The Beer whisperer
October 6, 2023 9:02 am

The actual wording of the amendment does include recognition. The very first words…

Silly me. I was concentrating on the three points. Amendment time!

mem
mem
October 6, 2023 9:53 am

On that note, conservatism isn’t an ideology, it’s a pragmatic response to potential threats. I do not consider myself conservative, for the simple reason that I favour reform where I think improvement is required. If anything, conservative simply means a higher threshold for change to negate potentially perverse outcomes.

Thankyou for your post on the proposed changes to the Australian constitution which have been cleverly marketed as a package called “The Voice”. It may equally have been called, “The Can of Worms”.
Your description of what it means to be conservative, as highlighted above, resonated with me and I think should be used more widely as it positions being conservative in a more positive light than is the norm. Certainly I’ll be using in my dinner table stoushes with welded on lefties.

Rabz
October 6, 2023 10:07 am

The screeech is such an idiotic obscenity that it should never have been proposed in the first place.

It’s a signal example of just how stupid albansleazey is. If he was any kind of savvy political operator, he would have realised the screech is a “dead cat”.

As it is, it’s a blatant attempt at a power grab by vile racist communist scum like pearson, plankton, (hold the) mayo, thorpey, etc.

What really annoys the hell out of me is the incessant lying about what the consequences would be if this ridiculous load of divisive racist rubbish is endorsed by the electorate.

Everything about it stinks to high heaven.

NO, NO and NO again.

The Beer Whisperer
The Beer Whisperer
October 6, 2023 10:46 am

Absolutely, Rabz.

As an example of their blatant dishonesty, they flood Twitter with claims of bad behaviour by the no proponents, without any evidence whatsoever. Instead, they get actual evidence of vile and racist behaviour and words by the yes case. Jacinta Price has been subject to accusations that would make a sailor blush.

Projecting, always projecting.

And just as we feared, this is an all-pervasive attack on our democracy. All legislation, policy and regulation and its application will have a voice delegate involved. They wouldn’t dare make a decision without inviting them into discussions. A cast of thousands with fingers in every pie.

duncanm
duncanm
October 6, 2023 10:48 am

Quentin Dumpster outs himself as a condescending racist.
https://twitter.com/QuentinDempster/status/1710034527224308197

Quentin Dempster
@QuentinDempster
8 days to go for Recognition/Voice. If, as polls suggest, it’s rejected by a majority of electors and a majority of states, there will not be any “treaty”. Distressingly Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, Nyunggai Warren Mundine, Lidia Thorpe are blind to white fella realpolitik here.

C.L.
C.L.
October 6, 2023 10:53 am

Great post, Beero.

The bottom line: “… I’m not trusting the assertions of lying politicians when our entire system of government and ultimate laws of the land are at stake.”

Anybody who does is a dinosaur and a dickhead.

C.L.
C.L.
October 6, 2023 10:55 am

And it just wouldn’t be a left-wing cause if there wasn’t a traditional joint letter from 70 experts to the population.

Funny how they never published one of these on, say, the presumption of innocence.

Boxcar
Boxcar
October 6, 2023 11:02 am

When the Republic Referendum was running hot over 20 years ago, I was in my forties and had a slew of children and relatives in the 18-25 ages, beating that drum.
When I pointed out that the politicians were lying about how the president would be appointed, they disagreed but checked.
The whole case crashed on that basis, and it’s happened again.

Gilas
Gilas
October 6, 2023 11:13 am

Abuse, insults, name-calling, violence, dissembling, lies, secrecy, sneering, arrogance, condescension, sanctimony, illegal and deceptive publications at polling booths and social media.
All “persuasion” techniques of the gentle, walk-with-us, compassionate YES camp.

And still they can count on 45+ % of voters.

COVID was the prelude.. regardless of the result in 9 days’ time, this country is well on its way to get f@cked.

Razey
Razey
October 6, 2023 11:43 am

Abuse, insults, name-calling, violence, dissembling, lies, secrecy, sneering, arrogance, condescension, sanctimony, illegal and deceptive publications at polling booths and social media.
All “persuasion” techniques of the gentle, walk-with-us, compassionate YES camp.

And still they can count on 45+ % of voters.

In 10 years time this will be over 50% as the boomers die off and the brainwashed young get to voting age. The left will be able to change whatever they want.

Speedbox
October 6, 2023 12:03 pm

Good post BW.

The Voice is an astonishingly brazen Trojan Horse and I think the majority of Australians are now coming to recognise it for what it is, namely, an untouchable independent entity that has no accountability, must be consulted, can force consultation into government functions by having a constitutional and legislated right to do so and, when it does, is outside the law and cannot be challenged, even in the High Court.

From what I’ve seen, it has no discernible deliverables of any note, no accountability and is outside government influence and cannot be directed by Parliament…. but the taxpayer will fund it. And you can be certain that we will pay.

Yet, in order to calm legitimate concern, Albo, the MSM, assorted ‘stars’ and the Aboriginal industry trot out the line that the Voice will merely allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to have ‘a say’ in legislation impacting them. That is completely dishonest because the Voice, as proposed, is nothing of the kind. Instead, the Voice will permanently enshrine Indigenous persons as superior in their ability to influence all levels of government and impact any legislation they choose. There are no limits to the Voice’s reach and its authority is not limited to matters impacting only Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.

Bob Hawke once said that there must be no “hierarchy of descent” and “no privilege of origin”. Hawke may have been a venerated leader of the Labor Party but those principles have been discarded in the promotion of the Voice by the same political party. Voting yes will change Australia forever – and not for the better.

Speedbox
October 6, 2023 12:15 pm

The Beer Whisperer
Oct 6, 2023 10:46 AM
As an example of their blatant dishonesty….

Just a few days ago the Yes campaign (or those associated with it), were ordered by the AEC to take down a social media campaign that told people you could place an X in the box if you wanted to vote No.

Of course, an X would render the vote informal under AEC rules but that would be one less No vote that could be counted.

The Beer Whisperer
The Beer Whisperer
October 6, 2023 1:05 pm

Speedbox, to be precise, they didn’t tell people, but they certainly implied it. Which is worse, because it was cunningly indirect.

Nos_Pullum
Nos_Pullum
October 6, 2023 1:16 pm

When it fails it will be because of over-reach by the activist class, aided and abetted by an acquiescent government. As a nation we have to choose between a disaster for social cohesion from the inevitable leftist hissy fits and revenge from it being voted down and a catastrophe for the rest of us from it getting up.

What is proposed is a dangerous pandora’s box that has been intentionally designed to fundamentally change Australia’s governance. It will give a small clique of power-hungry activists / unelected politicians an effective veto-power over the running of our country. Over time, it will come to be used negatively to drive a racist and socialist (if not actually communist) wedge into our political, social and economic life.

That may not actually have been what was originally intended, but that is where we are at now.

Decriminalising abortion paved the way for euthanasia, and VAD will pave the way for even more euthanasia (look at Canada and Holland etc).

‘Gay marriage’ has cleared a path for the current transgender mania and who knows what else to come.

The Voice will provide green light for racialising every aspect of our society, dividing us along racial lines permanently.

We won’t get a say on treaties, sovereignty, reparations and the rest of it; we only get a say now.

I trust all you fellow NO voters will doing more than online slacktivism and are putting your bodies on line, manning the booths with me on 14 October.

Boambee John
Boambee John
October 6, 2023 1:19 pm

Beery

And just as we feared, this is an all-pervasive attack on our democracy. All legislation, policy and regulation and its application will have a voice delegate involved. They wouldn’t dare make a decision without inviting them into discussions. A cast of thousands with fingers in every pie.

Recent court decisions on offshore mineral exploration suggest that full consultation MUST involve every indigenous person who might possibly have any interest at all in the subject (and probably a few more, to be sure, to be sure).

Rabz
October 6, 2023 1:33 pm

ordered by the ALPEC to take down a social media campaign that told people you could place an X in the box if you wanted to vote No.
Of course, an X would render the vote informal under ALPEC rules

While in the meantime, the ALPEC itself was out there screeching to anyone who would listen that a tick would count as a yes vote.

Dishonest dissembling dickheaded dinosaurs.

Rococo Liberal
Rococo Liberal
October 6, 2023 4:09 pm

And it just wouldn’t be a left-wing cause if there wasn’t a traditional joint letter from 70 experts to the population.

Who cares what law teachers say? They are not practising lawyers. They are mere academics.

Bazinga
Bazinga
October 6, 2023 9:27 pm

Better to be thought of as racist than to actually be racist. Vote No.

mem
mem
October 7, 2023 10:53 am

As Leak depicts in his cartoon most of the celebrities engaged to speak out in favour of the Yes vote are past their prime (i.e. being recycled) with most retired. Does this reflect the age of those coordinating the campaign or is it because those celebrities early or mid career don’t want to risk their future their popularity and income? A wise agent might also be reading the tea leaves and counselling not to touch it with a barge pole.

Mark from Melbourne
Mark from Melbourne
October 7, 2023 1:48 pm

And still they can count on 45+ % of voters.

I said at the start that Yes would struggle to exceed 35%, and I see nothing to change my mind thus far.

Interesting, isn’t it?

If it is indeed 35/65 as the result, it will be screamed to the rooftops that this is “divisive”. If it were 65/35 it would be “unifying”.

That is, of course, true for any result… if the Left get their way it is wonderful, if they don’t the opponents are all “ists” of one sort or another.

But if it does go 35/65, you could make a pretty good argument for it being the MOST unifying vote since the 1967 referendum. There’s a thesis in there somewhere.

Good post, Beery.

Mak Siccar
Mak Siccar
October 7, 2023 2:12 pm

Perhaps Beery/ Dover could run a competition for guessing the voting outcome, just like the Cat used to have many moons ago for number of Snowcone interruptions on QandA.

The correct (or even closest) guess could be awarded the use of a special Cat Gravatar for a month.

(BTW, I hope this rotten referendum is comprehensively crushed.)

Ignoring invalid votes, I reckon the No/Yes result will be 62%/38%.

Good luck everyone!

MatrixTransform
October 7, 2023 6:12 pm

The law was passed on March 23, 1933, and published the following day.
Its full name was the “Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Reich.”

just sayin’

  1. The walking dead don’t only exist in fiction. In terms of trends, the walking (political) dead are so yesterday though.…

  2. I’m confused about how anyone could consider it defamatory. It’s political comment, nothing else. …O.K. It’s true, and funny. So…

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