Australian Democracy in Peril: The remit of the Voice keeps growing like Topsy

Australian Democracy in Peril: The remit of the Voice keeps growing like Topsy. By Greg Sheridan.

Just like every other left wing cause, e.g. climate:

The way voice campaigning has unfolded is alarming in several respects. First is the incoherence of the Yes case and its almost universal refusal to acknowledge that any argument against it is legitimate.

I don’t expect voice advocates to agree with arguments against their position, but they frequently suggest the only reasons anyone could oppose it are racism, cynical political exploitation, careerism or ignorance.

Thus we saw Noel Pearson’s ugly attack on senator Jacinta Price, accusing her of being recruited as a blackfella to punch down on other blacks. Presumably, that’s the future tone of the voice.

Hide the radicalism!

The changing justifications for the voice suggest its advocates are hiding its radicalism.

The purposes and scope of the voice keep slip sliding around. First it was to be an institution for Aboriginal Australians to be consulted on legislation that affected them. It’s a vanishingly tiny proportion of legislation that affects only, or even primarily, Aboriginal people.

Most legislation affects all Australians, which means the voice will have a say on health, education, defence policy etc. That’s undemocratic because all other Australians get to vote only once, whereas those who can vote for the voice get two votes.

One likely motive for constitutional change is a power grab by groups who think they can capture, or benefit from, a newly constitutionally privileged institution.

The voice is thus a weakening of parliamentary democracy and a rejection of the core principle of political liberalism, that all citizens are equal in civic status regardless of race, gender, religion, background etc. …

The remit of the voice grows like Topsy. Now it’s a voice not just to parliament but to executive government, and now to cabinet as well. No one has the faintest idea what our ultra-activist High Court would do with all this.

Our Stalinist ABC:

One [element of of growing concern is the] Cuban-style soft Stalinism about the demand for public unanimity on the voice.

ABC and SBS news reports on the voice frequently contain naked editorial endorsement of the voice, as though there is no other legitimate position. It’s like the Chinese Communist Party denouncing ideological deviationism. It is truly shameful that the government plans to end the age-old practice of posting to Australian households a pamphlet containing the Yes and the No cases, will not fund either case but will provide government money for an education (re-education?) campaign, and will make only pro-Yes organisations tax deductible.

This is deeply undemocratic. The proponents of the voice are scared of having a real debate….

Our uniparty:

Some Liberals argue that a conscience vote would allow them to avoid becoming the issue. This is just an excuse for raw cowardice.

If the Liberal Party doesn’t have a view in principle about the most important, radical and ultimately unpredictable constitutional change proposed in modern Australia, it ought to just go out of business. …

Oh goody, just like the USA:

The voice will likely entrench the most destructive elements of identity politics into the heart of Australian life. Identity politics is killing Western societies.

It pits group against group. It is not about unity but constant grievance and performative pantomime, of grievance discovery, perpetual escalating apology, relentless identification of new villains and whipping up new hatreds.

The proponents of the voice say it’s only the first step to a treaty, presumably involving reparations, and truth-telling commissions, as though Australian history classes are currently anti-Aboriginal.

The voice would move Australian culture and politics several standard deviations to the left, permanently institutionalising the destructive dynamics of identity politics into every part of our national life.

Looking forward to it. The latest poll is about 65 – 35 in favor of the Voice.