The Voice: Yes, Indeed, the Intention is to Deceive

The Voice: Yes, Indeed, the Intention is to Deceive. By David Barton.

Most likely you have seen Yes23’s campaign’s Voice referendum TV ad many times by now. It’s slick in seeking to provoke an emotional reaction, but that is not its only attribute, for it is also misleading, disingenuous, misinformation and disinformation. …

Strike 1:

It opens with these words: “Australia’s Constitution is 122 years old and still doesn’t recognise indigenous Australians.

This statement is correct. After 122 years the Australian Constitution does not “recognise Aboriginal people.” However, in point of fact, it does not ‘recognise’ anyone, and that is deliberate. The purpose of the Constitution is, in essence, to set out the working relationships between the states and the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia. It was never intended to ‘recognise’ anyone. The Constitution only refers to “the people” of Australia, as it should, of whom all Aborigines, immigrants and people native-born in Australia are included.

Australia’s Constitution does not ‘recognise’ or mention any group of people, just as it shouldn’t. It is intentionally blind to race and religion, and should never be allowed to mention any specific racial group as being more important than any other group, as this would immediately be hierarchical, divisive and, indeed, racist.

Clearly, the Yes23 campaign intends to create the impression there has been some mistake in that Aborigines have been inadvertently omitted or deliberately excluded from the Constitution. This is untrue, misleading and deceptive, aimed at making viewers think this alleged omission is a ‘mistake’ that needs to be be corrected. Note, too, that the male speaker’s voice is pitched in a complaining tone as if something is amiss. This adds to the ad’s emotional appeal. …

Strike 2:

The ad’s next effort to mislead is the following statement from an Aboriginal woman: “We’ve been here for 65,000 years.

In follow-on from the first misleading statement, the Aboriginal woman, also in a complaining tone of voice, implies that the length of time Aboriginal people have been in Australia makes this purported exclusion/omission even worse. The length of time Aborigines have been in Australia is a highly contested argument, but that is beside the point. What relevance has that habitation, however long, to changing the Constitution? The two are in no way connected, except by emotional appeal. …

Strike 3:

What follows next is this: “…with a referendum to give Indigenous Australians a real say in their future.

This is horrendously misleading. The vast majority who identify as Aborigines are urban city dwellers who, just like everyone else, have identical opportunities to ‘have their say’, as does every other Australian. They are not disadvantaged in that way, not at all.

The misleading implication is that Indigenous Australians don’t “have a say” because they are not mentioned in the Constitution. In actual fact, apart from the eleven elected Aboriginal members of the federal parliament, Aborigines across Australia currently have a ‘real say in their future’ through a multitudinous plethora of representative Aboriginal organisations numbering in the hundreds. Indeed, Aboriginal Australians are organisationally the most thoroughly over-represented group in Australia. Further, what is a “real” say? Implicit in Yes23’s use of that word is the assertion that all those bodies are a pretense or simply not valid or real, that they are insufficient, don’t work or whatever. This is fraud in the service of a political deception.

Sigh. Why can’t the modern left ever make a case for anything without relying on exaggeration, lies, and suppression of any opposition? An actual debate where others were allowed a voice (without threats of cancellation and the usual name-calling) would be nice.