Aboriginal Separatism Moving Ahead with the Voice

Aboriginal Separatism Moving Ahead with the Voice, by Julia Patrick.

When ‘Sorry Days’, apologies for the Stolen Generation, ‘reconciliation’ etc. were considered insufficient atonement for past injustices to Aborigines, ‘recognition’ took over and Julia Gillard’s Referendum Council of sixteen ‘eminent’ people went on a junket round Australia having ‘national conversations’ on how to ‘recognise’ indigenous people in the constitution.

Its final recommendation, called the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’, claimed a separate, indigenous parliament be set up alongside the existing parliament.

But Turnbull, in an uncharacteristically decisive move, rejected this idea of a ‘third chamber’, leaving advocates squealing with temporarily suppressed anger; but most people found it boring and it ran off the radar.

But activists are nothing if not persistent and were soon at it again, trampling over old ground with the Referendum Council repackaged as a Joint Parliamentary Committee to consider a constitutionally-enshrined indigenous voice in parliament, abbreviated to a ‘Voice’, followed by a referendum to support it. The Committee’s Final Report has just appeared. … Labor Senator Pat Dodson … and Bill Shorten are confused about whether parliamentary debate should give priority to the Voice or to Australia becoming a republic.

All the while, talk of an Aboriginal Treaty with Australia rumbles away in the background, with advocates wanting to form their own independent black nation. …

Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Isobel Reid, giving the Welcome to Country at the Centenary of the Kangaroo March launch, December 2013

The ‘Welcome’ is now almost obligatory at public events and is getting to the point where one can imagine in the future a looped tape in the Great Hall at Sydney University repeating ‘Welcome to Country’ at five minute intervals. Meanwhile, in homes attuned to PC protocol, it’s an applauded starter to any social gathering.

Elsewhere, Aboriginal promotion is going ahead apace. Decorative totem poles or Mallee ant-eaten didgeridoos appear in up-market living rooms and hotel lobbies, while Melbourne’s new Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, keen to appear culturally sensitive, ‘cleansed’ herself at an Aboriginal smoking ceremony on the portico of the Town Hall.

Different rules for different folks based on the color of their skin used to be derided as racism, and the old South African Government was mocked for requiring racial tests on individuals. Wait long enough and everything comes back into fashion.