Read Time:6 Minute, 20 Second

January 26 is not the best day to gauge the progress of a campaign to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution, and to establish a body that gives them a platform from which to be heard by the government and the parliament on issues that affect them.

It is a raw day for Indigenous Australia, and equally a day when many Australians feel entitled to celebrate the country as it is, without reflecting on its historic significance.

Still, it would have been dispiriting to supporters of the Voice to see the day marked by an evolution in opposition from a position of there not being enough “detail” about how such a body could work, to a sense that the underlying constitutional question of recognition — and why that was important — had got lost in the melee.

Equally, there were hostility and clear divisions within the First Nations community, with some not only arguing against supporting the Voice because they don’t believe it will change anything, to claiming it would actually undermine Indigenous rights.

Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe is among a phalanx of Indigenous people attacking the proposal for the Voice from the left.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Lots of people won’t have been paying much attention over the summer to the Voice debate, despite the increasing noise it has been generating.

The federal government also insists everyone have a chill pill because a referendum is still at least nine months away.

But if you have been paying attention, the complexities and divisions would not seem to augur particularly well for the quality of the national debate in the months ahead.

Lots of talk, no coordination or coherency

The federal Coalition is divided and undecided about what it will do. The Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe is among a phalanx of Indigenous people attacking the proposal from the left.

And for the past week, the eruption of violence in Alice Springs has both highlighted the failures of current policy and raised legitimate questions about how the Voice could fix a complex and nightmarish problem, not just in Alice but in many parts of Australia.

The Prime Minister may well have intervened with a grog ban, though few think this is enough to deal with the complex issues involved.

And in fact, it looked very much like exactly the sort of band-aid that has so often been the hallmark of responses to crises in Indigenous affairs. As did Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s intervention calling for the Australian Federal Police to be sent in.

The PM sits at a conference table with two police officers and other people.
Anthony Albanese speaks with police officers about crime and alcohol-fuelled violence in Alice Springs.((Twitter: Anthony Albanese )

But the complaint made by community leaders that they had been asking for help for months — but that these calls had gone unheeded — both demonstrated the fact that these communities don’t get listened to now, and gave a platform for both the pro and negative cases for what the Voice might to do to change this.

Confronted with a situation where the message demonstrably did not get through to Canberra that the lapsing of liquor laws last year was going to cause — and then did cause — all sorts of problems, what is happening in Alice Springs can be seen to promote the cause of a body which can speak authoritatively, in detail, and early, about what needs to be done.

As Uluru Statement author and constitutional lawyer Megan Davis told 7.30 in December: “One of the key things about the Voice is that we’re not just involved in Parliament until the bells are ringing [for a vote on legislation]. We’d be at the table when they’re designing the laws and policies and having the initial conversations.”

At the moment, she says, “there’s a lot of noise”:

“There’s a lot of advisory committees, there’s a lot of talk, there’s a lot of reports, but there’s no coordination. There’s no coherency. And I think what people feel is a virtue of the Voice is that we can get that national coherency back again. The Commonwealth, and cascading through the Federation to the states and territories, will be compelled to listen.”

That’s the “key thing”, Davis argues: “They’re not going to listen out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Play Video. Duration: 7 minutes 33 seconds

Why Megan Davis remains optimistic about a Voice to Parliament(Laura Tingle)

All the premiers are on board

Davis observed that the Nationals’ decision late last year to oppose the Voice was in itself “a really good example of why the Voice is needed”.

“They made that decision on the basis of no detail. They hadn’t read anything, they hadn’t responded to any substantive, concrete detail. That’s actually what happens in Indigenous affairs.” 


https://live-production.wcms.abc-cdn.net.au/087c65ca7d20fe3b347fa931437be5db?impolicy=wcms_crop_resize&cropH=1080&cropW=1920&xPos=0&yPos=60&width=862&height=485

#spectre #haunt #politics #year #Albanese #cast

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %
Previous post NEVE Shares Pop Statement ‘Should’ve Been Us’ | News | Clash Magazine Music News, Reviews & Interviews
Next post UCLA has lost two straight. Here are five things the Bruins must do to win the Pac-12