Misguided and Misleading
The Voice debate has fuelled division but a bit of truth-telling needs to be injected into the YES camp.
My Sky News colleague Chris Kenny has penned another column detailing his support for the racist and divisive Voice.
I've crossed swords with him before on this subject, and while I respect his intellect and enthusiasm, I cannot accept his position.
I believe it is misguided and misleading - at best.
He would likely say the same about my position. That's what he did in his column in the Weekend Australian.
Kenny claims to have busted eight myths of the NO campaign, but in my view, he's broken open the hollowness of the Yes campaign.
Let's deal with them one point at a time.
Chris Kenny claims that race is an outdated concept, and the YES vote doesn't instal race in the constitution because it's already there.
He's correct that there is a race provision in the Constitution. Still, nothing in that document provides for any constitutional right available only to members of a specific race. That's exactly what the voice will provide - an arm of government available exclusively to people claiming ATSI racial identity.
The voice will deliver a treaty, reparations and more.
This is not a myth, as Kenny claims. It is clearly the future intent of those who created and endorsed the idea of a voice.
While Kenny claims it will have no legal effect, plenty of learned legal eagles disagree with him. The truth is nobody will honestly know until it is too late. That's why the safest course of action is to vote no.
I should also point out that Chris's fellow traveller Amanda Vanstone said the Voice would have an effective veto power in her comments on the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Vanstone's comments are in the 25 pages that the government, and Kenny, claim aren't part of the statement, even though they detail the full intent - Voice, Truth, Treaty.
That's his third myth buster, busted.
Kenny also claims the Voice will not divide the nation.
I hate to break it to him, but it already has. The outrageous words of YES advocates like Pearson, Mayo, Langton and co cannot be forgotten.
The voices we have heard for too long has been the voice of these elites, and entrenching that authority in the Constitution would give them even more power. It's fanciful to think these powerbrokers of the Aboriginal industry would cede their business to 'grassroots' representatives.
I'm calling BS, as no one knows how the Aboriginal House of Lords will be chosen, what communities they'll represent or even how much money will be involved.
"Reconciliation cannot progress meaningfully if non-Indigenous Australia declares it will offer constitutional recognition only on its own minimalist terms – a modern version of trinkets and beads."
I'd counter that reconciliation cannot meaningfully progress until we stop offering anything special and treat all Australians as one.
We've been told we must apologise, have special days, worship welcome to country, double the per-capita spending and give billions extra to particular programs. Yet there's always another demand.
The Voice won't change that, although it would empower the demand for reparations and rents.
This leads me to Kenny's next point. He claims the voice will not empower the 3% with special authority over the rest of us.
In this claim, he relies on the 'advisory status' of the Voice but ignores the Prime Minister's words that it would be a very brave parliament that ignored the Voice.
Kenny would know from his work in politics that parliament is pretty much devoid of the brave.
And his final statement is that it's a myth that the voice will not fix Indigenous traumas or close the gap.
To defend this position, he invokes the notion of justice, recognition and future safeguards while admitting no one knows whether it would fix current problems.
In that respect, I agree. Current policies have failed; who knows if the Voice would do any better?
But is also hoists Kenny on his own petard.
If we want to be sure that a Voice in parliament would be effective and not result in myriad potential problems the NO campaign legitimately raises, then the government could legislate for it.
That way, we wouldn't be experimenting with our constitution, making it into a document detailing the dual privileges afforded to Australian citizens based on their racial identification.