The Voice: Get Real

The Voice: Get Real. By Gary Johns.

The Voice was always a political instrument designed to privilege one class of Aborigine, the urban university elite, primed in separatist ideology, buttressed by misapplied post-colonialist mumbo jumbo, and identity self-regard.

Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton, Megan Davis and a host of others charged ahead thinking they were talking to Australia. They were not. They were talking to Mark Leibler, Danny Gilbert, Greg Craven, Julian Leeser and a host of paid-for Aboriginal leaders with stars in their eyes.

Professors, lawyers, bishops, editors, and leaders of industry should have called out their behaviour. But few had the strength or insight to oppose, so the key players got away with indulging their egos.


The Uluru attempted coup was an outrageous presumption on a nation that had done more than most to bring an ancient people into the modern world.

Aboriginal voices are everywhere, but some of those who had made the transition to modernity most successfully wanted more and spat in the nation’s face. They called Australians stupid and racist.

The referendum was a legacy exercise, the last desperate lunge at hero status by a leadership divorced from their people and disdainful of their own journey to integration. …

Based on lies:

And the lies. My God did they lie. The claim, for example, that colonisation ‘forced removal of children’ and that its effect continues is perhaps the biggest. Evidence was trotted out, that, ‘Indigenous children with a family history of removals were nearly twice as likely to be arrested or charged with an offence’. What classic displacement. The removals occurred because children were at risk from their own, albeit damaged parents. Had they not been removed the arrest rate may have been three times that of other children. The same may be true for non-Aboriginal children taken into care. And what of the majority not removed, were they not ‘victims’ of colonisation? …

Assuming the Voice is defeated, what now?

The good thing to come from the anticipated comprehensive rejection of the Voice is the opportunity to re-establish humanity as the basis for Aboriginal policy.

Australians must be treated equally before the law, merit must be rewarded, and those in need helped. The nasty politics of identity destroys legal equality and merit, and wastes money on those not in need. …

The explicit purpose of Aboriginal policy must be to bring the last 20 per cent, the minority of Aborigines, those who have been unable to adapt, into the open society. To do so requires that all policies are based on need or merit, and not on race.

It also is vital that the difference between ‘access’ to services and the ‘attitudes’ to the use of those services is understood. I will scream the next time I read that we need access to education, employment and health. Access is not the problem, having it accepted is. Individuals must take responsibility for their future by using the services provided. …

To live as a ‘proud’ Aboriginal person with the full suite of culture, language, land and spirituality is not acting responsibly if it pushes out learning how to live in the modern world. Being Aboriginal is not enough.

Middle-class Aborigines should receive no preference in services, programs, or anything else. Merit or need should be the only basis for access to services.

Personally, if the Voice passed, I was looking forward to the DNA tests.