Their racism, not ours

Their racism, not ours. By Greg Sheridan.

In which the Australian people to vote against the ruling class.

They want racism:

On any objective measure, Australia is one of the world’s most racially inclusive, least racist, societies.

However, if the referendum to install a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to parliament and the executive is successful, our politics and society will become increasingly racialised, with greater racial polarisation and hostility.

The voice would inject race into the Constitution in a way that it’s not there now, with likely awful results. It will imprison Aboriginal Australians in a stereotyped racial identity and, for the first time since 1967, formally enshrine the division of Australian citizens into unequal races. This would be a tragedy of epic proportion, and threaten much of the astonishing success of modern Australia. …

They are virtue signaling to each other:

If you place race at the centre of institutional and constitutional life, race will assume much greater salience in politics and society. If you subsidise grievance, you’ll get a lot more grievance. That’s the crazy spiral of identity politics. …

The Yes campaign has been structurally offensive because at no point does it accept any arguments for the No case as legitimate. It’s not necessary to agree with your opponents’ arguments but you can surely acknowledge that some are legitimate. Burney herself labelled the case that the voice contradicts the democratic principle of equal citizenship an example of Donald Trump-style, dangerous dishonesty. Yet the voice plainly does exactly that. …

The Australian constitution:

Australia’s Constitution is a work of genius. You can’t altogether stop judges from interfering in politics, but our Constitution is so tightly, technically, dryly written, it limits that a good deal. It’s a mechanical document – how many senators, when to have elections, the role of the courts, and so on. Marvellously, it doesn’t distinguish one Australian from another on grounds of race. It did before 1967, it doesn’t now. …


The 1967 Aboriginal referendum is spectacularly misrepresented. … This referendum won more than 90 per cent of the vote. It had the effect of removing the only two references to Aboriginal Australians from the Constitution.

It’s worth going back to the history books or archives to look at the campaign material for the Yes case in 1967. Although the actual changes were modest, the campaign was all about giving Aboriginal Australians absolute equality, making sure they suffered no official discrimination, giving them exactly the same civic status as everyone else. A popular campaign song said: “Give them rights and freedoms just like you and me”.