- The full version of this statement will appear as a Quadrant Online book.
- A short undocumented version of 1,000 words can be read on this website here.
- Executive summary
- Referendum content
- Evaluative criteria
- Context 1: The exclusion of Anglos from the voice debate
- Context 2: The exclusion of Anglos ethnic politics in general
- Context 3: The Stolen Commonwealth
- Stakeholders real, alleged, and ignored
- Invidious outcomes
- Improper process
- Conclusion 1: Referendum advice
- Conclusion 2: A vision of genuine reconciliation
Acknowledgment. I thank the many individuals who commented on drafts of this document. In particular I thank Tom Salter for his forensic proofing and Harry Richardson for his critical reading.
- Executive Summary
The British Australian Community (BAC) calls on Australians to vote No in the referendum on an “indigenous voice to parliament”.
Our criticisms of the voice proposal include some already made by commentators. A constitutionally mandated voice would undermine democracy and the supremacy of federal parliament, establish unwarranted ethnic privilege, and encourage undemocratic judicial activism. It would result in Anglo Australians becoming second class citizens in the nation we founded. Recognition should not take the form of a constitutional voice but a legislated one, or a declaration in a preamble to the Constitution. Additionally, the BAC argues that a constitutional voice would be bad for Anglo-Australians by distorting federal governance, in which all citizens are stakeholders.
The present paper evaluates the proposed voice from the perspective of Anglo and national interests. The referendum can only be judged by considering its context. Anglo advocates have been completely excluded from the consultations and deliberations that formulated the voice proposal. This has been a continuation of a broader context. Anglo-Australians have been excluded from fair representation in ethnic politics in general – on issues of immigration, multiculturalism, and indigenous affairs. Overall, the referendum context is that Anglo-Australians are under siege by an establishment that is subjecting them to institutional Anglophobia. This includes a hostile media environment and the indoctrination of Anglo children at school to despise their ancestors. Undemocratic immigration policy will reduce the founding ethnic group to minority status within a few decades. This is the context in which Anglo-Australians are being asked to change the Constitution to privilege indigenous peoples and pay for the inevitable vast voice bureaucracy.
All Australians have an interest in good governance by the Commonwealth. However, Anglo-Australians have a special interest as the founding people of the Australian nation. Failure to recognise them would further alienate the nation from the Commonwealth it created.
The voice proposal might have been less biased if the consultation process that informed it had included a fair number of Anglo advocates.
The paper concludes by sketching conditions for genuine long-term reconciliation. This includes a realistic history of the special relationship that developed between indigenous peoples and the Anglo settler society. Reconciliation can only occur as a reciprocal settlement between the two peoples, both of whom have contributed to national identity.
- Referendum content
The wording of the voice referendum was finalised in March 2023 by the Albanese Labor government. The question to be put to voters will be:
“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Do you approve this proposed alteration?”
The proposed alteration is a new section in the Constitution, as follows:
“Chapter IX Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:
There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.”[i]
The voice idea was stated in the document, Uluru Statement from the Heart, which expresses unreserved ethnic identity and asserts collective interests. It is one answer to the implicit question, “Is it good for indigenous-Australians?”
- Evaluative criteria
Like other multicultural lobbies, the British Australian Community (BAC) is a community service organisation dedicated to celebrating and defending the history, culture, and interests of the Australian nation’s core Anglo identity going back to and before the First Fleet.
Therefore, the BAC’s rationale in formulating positions on all proposals, including the voice, has two parts. We ask whether the proposal is good for the security and prosperity of the Commonwealth and all its citizens. We also ask whether the proposal is good for Anglo-Australians.
Some definitions are needed here. Indigenous-Australians are those descended in significant part from Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. “Anglo-Australian” are Australians descended in significant part from the indigenous population of the British Isles as well as those who have assimilated into that population and culture. That includes many Australians with some indigenous ancestry.
A nation is an ethnic group living in its homeland. Thus it is valid to add the term “first nations” to indigenous-Australians only when they live on their ancestral clan countries. “First peoples” designates all indigenous peoples, wherever they live. Anglo-Australians made up the first continent-wide Australian nation, and remain the core identity of that now diverse society.
A nation state is a self-governing nation, typically with its own state apparatus. In this case, national and state territorial boundaries overlap or coincide.[ii] The term “Australian nation” is often used imprecisely to mean the Commonwealth, though in reality the Commonwealth is a state apparatus. National consciousness arose before federation. The nation played a major role in creating the Commonwealth, as discussed further below. The Australian nation is not the same as the population of Australia. It is a subset, consisting of people who identity with the culture and history of “Australia”.
The BAC’s loyalty to the Commonwealth is conditional on that state apparatus serving the interests of the nation, because the nation is people and therefore more intrinsically valuable than organisations constructed to administer them. Parliaments and bureaucracies may be demolished and rebuilt; humans and their bonds should not be. The Australian nation draws its core identity mainly from the Anglo population that made it. From the beginning there were participants not descended from the British-Isles. But they were few, they assimilated to the mainstream, and they contributed as individuals, not as members of the colonising and nation-building identity. As a result, their cultural identities did not become core components of the nation.
These distinctions remain true now that Australia has become a diverse society. Diversity in Australia looks very different to diversity in Nigeria or Malaysia, because the core identities are different. Australian diversity has an Anglo core; diversity in Nigeria or Malaysia has an African or a Malay one, respectively.
Attempting to influence government policies is normal in multicultural politics. It is common, indeed expected, for minority ethnic organisations to lobby for policies and executive actions that serve their interests. In a democracy these are legitimate grass root actions, unsullied by the criminal origins of political multiculturalism.[iii]
It is thus normal and proper for Anglo-Australians to think ethnically about the voice proposal, because their interests are not respected by either side of the debate.
- Context 1: The exclusion of Anglos from the voice debate
The history of Anglo dispossession is the context in which a voice is being demanded. That history explains why not one Anglo representative or advocate was included in the consultative process that formulated the voice referendum.[iv]
Anglo exclusion from the voice process goes back to its beginnings. In 2012 prime minister Julia Gillard appointed an “Expert Panel” to consider constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. All members of the panel were either indigenous activists, their white supporters, or other minority advocates. Subsequent Coalition governments continued Gillard’s discriminatory practice in appointing committees to advise on indigenous recognition, though prime minister Tony Abbott intended to consult more widely.[v] The new Albanese Labor government is also excluding Anglo advocates from its advisory bodies.[vi]
Anglo-Australians need champions who are willing to take their side in the voice argument. Freedom rests on balancing adversarial relations in politics, business, and culture. Monopolies rest on eliminating or preventing adversaries. They tend to be oppressive. The revolutionary demographic change afflicting many Western countries could not have occurred had the majority’s ethnic interests been represented in politics and culture. Similarly, the inverted ethnic hierarchy imposed by multicultural regimes could not have arisen or been sustained if governments had not turned against the founding ethnicity.
All ethnic groups with a stake in Australia’s Constitution should be treated as flesh-and-blood people with interests of life, dignity, and demographic continuity. Advocates of Anglo interests have been effectively silenced in the present debate over an indigenous voice. The same has been true for decades concerning public discussion of ethnic affairs in general.
- Context 2: The exclusion of Anglos from ethnic politics in general
The absence of Anglo-Australian advocates in the voice consultative process is part of a broader pattern of exclusion and subordination.
The ethnic bias against Anglo-Australia was obvious to historian Geoffrey Blainey by the 1980s. Blainey noted that Australia’s immigration policy “gives the tiny Asian portion of the Australian population four of every ten migrant places.”[vii] This correctly implied that immigration of fellow ethnics is a benefit, a gift, to the receiving group. Political scientist David Brown has explained that Anglo-Australia’s relative demographic and political decline since the 1970s has been due to it losing Commonwealth support.[viii] Blainey also concluded that the ideology of multiculturalism was based on a double standard. When Anglo-Celtic Australians showed the same ethnic preference as minorities, they were denounced as racists.[ix]
Post-WWII immigration was facilitated by a bipartisan agreement between the major parties to keep immigration off the political agenda.[x] That bipartisanship was aligned with public sentiment. Australians knew that traditional restrictions applied. After the experience of the War, most agreed that the country had to, as the saying went, “populate or perish”. However, the bipartisan agreement among the major political parties remained intact even as they shifted policy away from majority preference and began to cater to minorities. Immigration policy has become administratively imposed, as documented by Catherine Betts in her 1999 text, The Great Divide.[xi] Multiculturalism was also imposed bureaucratically, as shown by Mark Lopez in his 2000 book, The Origins of Multiculturalism in Australian Politics 1945-1975.[xii] Multiculturalism’s official public face, of free cultural expression and association, of some light cultural seasoning, is a forgotten fantasy. The reality takes the form of the draconian Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act and immigrant mono-cultures growing across our cities.
When Geoffrey Blainey began writing about immigration, Bob Hawke was prime minister. In 1993 Hawke indicated that he and his predecessors on both sides of politics had adopted a bipartisan policy – an “implicit pact” – to impose non-European immigration on Australians despite the public not endorsing the policy. They had done so by keeping the issue off the agenda.[xiii] That implied that the pact included the mainstream media, academia, and corporations. Sociologist Katherine Betts attributed the pact to the shared ideology of tertiary-educated professionals who ignored popular discontent with diverse immigration.[xiv]
The previous prime minister, Malcolm Fraser (1975-1983), confirmed Hawke’s approach, writing in his memoirs that Australians should never be given the opportunity to vote on immigration because in the past they had favoured immigrants close to their own identity.[xv] Fraser was on the other side of mainstream politics to Hawke, but they both approved of excluding majorities from consultation about ethnic policy – indigenous affairs, immigration, and multiculturalism.
The demographic transformation of Australia since the 1970s has not been due to reasoned public debate and democratically decided policy. Across the English-speaking world, ethnic politics has been conducted using culture war tactics aimed at suppressing Anglo identity.[xvi]
The cultural establishment remains closed to Anglo interests but firmly supportive of minority empowerment. Observers note that all elite sectors support the voice proposal. Journalist Chris Kenny, who supports the voice, admits that “the bureaucracy, educational institutions, digital giants, corporate ESG activists, and public broadcasters” are sympathetic to the voice proposal.[xvii] Another journalist, veteran columnist Paul Kelly, observes the extraordinary consensus among elites that the voice referendum must pass:
“Our elites have come together – political, corporate, financial, university, media, sporting, trade union and religious – to persuade and intimidate the Australian people to put an Indigenous voice into the Constitution.”[xviii]
The same elites are as one in supporting multicultural dogma, which includes the imperative of excluding Anglos from participation in ethnic politics.
- Context 3: The stolen Commonwealth
Exclusion from the voice process and from ethnic politics in general has contributed to Anglo-Australians being stripped of their special ties to the Commonwealth, an institution they created. Losing ownership of and special status within the Commonwealth effectively cut their lifeline and set them on the path to demographic replacement.
In democracies the majority are supposed to control policy, as was once the case in Australia regarding immigration. Minority rights are protected but they do not rule. In terms of David Brown’s theory, the anti-white emphasis of immigration policy has been facilitated by the Commonwealth switching its loyalty from the founding majority to ethnic minorities. Under the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, the Anglo majority was “politically licensed” by the state in a manner consistent with democratic principles. Multiculturalism transfers this licence to minorities instead.[xix]
Poet Les Murray expressed the subordination of Anglos in his volume, Subhuman Redneck Poems:
“They are creating an Australia that is exclusive. Multicultural, they call it. But they are discriminatory; they exclude. They are the ruling elite of today’s Australia: the cultural bureaucrats, the academics, the intellectuals . . . They are excluding people like me from their Australia—the country people, the rednecks, the Anglo-Celts, the farming people—they have turned their backs on us. They act as though they despise us . . . We Old Australians, not always Anglo but having no other country but this one, are now mostly caught and silenced between the indigenous and the multicultural.”[xx]
The Commonwealth is the Australian nation’s instrument of self-government. For decades the colonies had their own parliaments and administrative arms. The Commonwealth would mean something more – national independence, an institution designed to defend the new continent-wide nation’s collective interests in trade, diplomacy, defence, and immigration. That instrument, which now informally extends to the cultural, media, and financial establishments, was lost in the 1960s and 1970s to the counter-culture spreading throughout the universities and mass media. The loss of proportional control over the Commonwealth meant that national independence was compromised. Anglo-Australians became a defeated people.
Constitutional law academic Andrew Fraser concluded a decade ago that Anglo-Australians were being dispossessed of the Commonwealth they created, that they were on-track to become a stateless people and a minority.[xxi] By then, Anglo school children were being indoctrinated to dislike their ancestors and their nation. Public broadcasting catered to minority interests. SBS television, which served immigrant communities, was a free-to-air media network, as now is National Indigenous TV (NITV). The channel is expressly dedicated to serve ATSI people, despite its audience being only 4 percent of the population. The Anglo majority has no partisan mainstream media platform at all. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has leant towards the Anglophobic left since its news and current affairs division was captured by Marxists in the 1960s.[xxii]
The rise of the multicultural deep state explains the disconnect between the loud complaints about indigenous disadvantage and the total silence concerning the wholesale assault on Anglo-Australia.
The proposed voice bears a striking resemblance to the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which Australia ratified in 2009.[xxiii] The resemblance is not surprising, because UNDRIP was a master document to the Report of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, released in 2012. [xxiv] This is evidence of foreign globalist influence on the voice process. UNDRIP epitomises the top-down character of the voice proposal, which has elite origins, not grassroot ones.
UNDRIP is cited in reverential tones by voice proponents, such as June Oscar, since 2017 the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. Oscar states:
“The Declaration is the most comprehensive tool we have available to advance and protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I use the Declaration as my guide as Social Justice Commissioner.”[xxv]
The first principle praised in the Declaration is “self-determination”, not for ethnic groups in general, and not for Anglo-Australia with their track record of self government, but for indigenous peoples only. Predictably, the establishment is invested in the document. For example, the Law Council of Australia accuses Australia – by which it means white Australians – of horrific treatment of indigenous people, and calls for UNDRIP to be fully adopted.[xxvi]
Yet the Declaration is riddled with self-contradictions, tendentious definitions, and racist demands, just the sort of flaws that should be apparent to legal minds. It declares against national rights and in favour of indigenous rights. [xxvii] This was the reason the Howard Coalition government refused to ratify the document in 2007. In effect UNDRIP advocates a form of minority ethnic supremacism. There is more. As the following examples show, the Declaration asserts the indigenous right to discriminate against the majority, in Australia’s case, Anglos. And it privileges indigenous ethnic loyalty over national loyalty, as revealed by the following content:
- Article 16(1) declares the indigenous right to “establish their own media in their own languages” while enjoying full and equal access to non-indigenous media. This right can only be exercised by discriminating to form organisations along ethnic lines, through preferentially employing indigenous people and determining media content. Indigenous people are to have their own media, while retaining the right to join non-indigenous media. This is not a formula for equity of opportunity.
- Article 20 declares the right of indigenous peoples to “maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions”. Article 23 declares the indigenous right to determine their development priorities and to administer their health, housing and other economic and social programs “through their own institutions”. These rights mean nothing if they do not allow the indigenous to discriminate when hiring staff and associates. At the same time, the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination condemns such discrimination by Western majorities.
- Articles 35 to 37 come close to demanding state sovereignty for indigenous peoples. Article 35 declares the right of “Indigenous peoples … to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities”. Authoritative prescription of responsibilities of people is normally a state power. That power cannot be ethnically directed without categorical treatment by ethnicity, such as excluding people from employment and right of membership. Article 37 goes further in the direction of statehood by entitling indigenous peoples to recognise, observe and enforce treaties and agreements made with states and to have the latter honour those arrangements.
- Other articles of UNDRIP evoke the Aboriginal industry’s open-ended ethnocentric goals. Article 26 declares the indigenous right to “lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired”, without reference to history or the rights or interests of other citizens individually or collectively.
- Like the Australian voice proposals, the UN Declaration does not limit indigenous rights by time or culture. No mention is made of accepted international laws of possession that operated in past centuries. The declared rights are not limited to peoples recently colonised or who retain their indigenous traditions and attachment to the land, as did the High Court in its Mabo
These are some of the outcomes intended by UNDRIP, the master document of the voice proposal. Anglo-Australians should pay close attention because UNDRIP’s policies are invidious for founding ethnicities. They would exclude Anglo-Australians from pursuing group interests altogether, while urging minorities to lobby for their own ethnic advantage within the multicultural system.
It is in this context that the likely operation of an indigenous voice must be evaluated. Whatever its merits and demerits, the voice proposal must also be evaluated according to criteria of national and therefore Anglo interests if bitter divisions are to be avoided.
It is unacceptable that the only stakeholders acknowledged by the multicultural state are minorities and their supporters. In this instance, they seek to privilege indigenous citizens. The reality is that all citizens, indigenous and otherwise, are stakeholders in the good governance of the Commonwealth.
- Stakeholders real, alleged, and ignored
Who has a stake in the proposed voice? To answer that question requires a typology of stakeholders. To be discussed are four categories – individual citizens, Australia’s many ethnic groups, in particular Aborigines, Torres Strait Islanders, and Anglo-Australians, and the multicultural movement.
The population as a whole has a shared interest in the country being effectively governed, in maintaining social cohesion, and in retaining the Commonwealth’s territory. This general interest extends to members of Australia’s many ethnic groups, who have collective stakes in protecting and growing their groups, because those groups are sources of identity, cultural and genetic kinship, and relatively intense altruism, an important basis of community in multicultural societies.[xxviii] All citizens have a stake in the Constitution at the individual, family, ethnic and national levels.
In addition to general interests, Anglo- and indigenous-Australians have a special stake in Australia because they are its founding peoples and make up the core identity of those Australians who have greater emotional and proprietorial investment in the homeland and in the institution of the Commonwealth. Affection and feelings of ownership are consistent with a greater sense of responsibility.
The proprietorial status of small minorities such as ATSI peoples can only be defended by participating in a powerful alliance, such as with the Commonwealth or the nation. For Anglo-Australians, democratic control of the Commonwealth has depended on remaining the super-majority. This affected civil liberties, because the more secure a majority feels, the more liberal it can afford to be. Now that Anglos are becoming a minority, liberal democracy is being compromised by the multicultural strategy of imposing draconian controls on speech and freedom of association.
Not all of these interests are recognised.
Conservatives recognise the general interest of good governance, but fail to comprehend the special stake of the founding peoples. Somewhat inconsistently, they can see a point in recognising indigenous-Australians but it never seems to have crossed their minds that Anglo interests are also worthy of recognition.
Stakeholders are perceived differently by the multicultural establishment, which is politically represented by elements of the Liberal Party and the present Labor government. The multiculturalists advocate what they claim are collective indigenous interests, which they pitch against an allegedly deep-seated white racism. This adds an Anglophobic sting to the narrative shared with conservatives, that Anglos have no legitimate collective interests, such as keeping a democratic share of influence over ethnic policy (indigenous affairs, immigration, and multiculturalism). The same perspective directs the establishment’s strategy of seeking coalition with immigrant communities. The multicultural movement applies the victim narrative to Aborigines and immigrants alike, pitting both against Anglo-Australia as the common enemy.
The multicultural movement is a vehicle for various interests – utopian socialist ideology, corporate globalism, minority tribalism, and political entrepreneurs. From the start, multiculturalism has been a coalition between the radical left and various ethnic minorities. This union of opposites – cosmopolitan left-liberals and the tribal right – has only cohered due to shared opposition to the Anglo majority. Hence the hostility towards white interests on the part of states influenced by multiculturalism, a trend also present in American multiculturalism.[xxix]
The indigenous sense of ownership derives from long occupation and resulting deep familiarity and spiritual connection with country. The Anglo sense of ownership also derives from occupation and familiarity, though usually not of spiritual intensity. By the second half of the nineteenth century, many white settlers had developed an intimate affinity with and sense of belonging to the countryside, as expressed in the Heidelberg School of art.[xxx] There are additional dimensions of the Anglo stake in Australia. Anglos and other mostly white settlers largely created the nation, its culture, farms, industry, roads and towns, established the six self-governing colonies and in January 1901 their own Federal Commonwealth, all under the British crown. These governmental structures were intended in part to perpetuate the founders’ national interests, at first British, then Anglo-Australian. The nation began and remained for much of its existence as an expression of Anglo identity and demography, textured by a distinct input from the indigenous peoples.
Australia’s British origins are obvious in the historical record, yet denial of Anglos as stakeholders in the country’s governance is repeated across the political spectrum. The alienation of the Commonwealth from its founding people should be taken as a warning. Anglo-Australians have a stake in resisting any systematic change, such as a constitutional amendment, that further alienates them from their Commonwealth. All Australians have a stake in effective constitutional government, and Anglos are the first and largest such stakeholders. Though they no longer comprise the overwhelming majority of the Australian population, as citizens and as a large ethnic group, they have a vital interest in preserving the Commonwealth. At the same time they have a special interest in reversing the Commonwealth’s hostility to them.
Indigenous Australians share many of the same interests as Anglos. It is not in their or any citizens’ interests to disrupt constitutional government or harm national identity or unity. All citizens have an interest in the cohesion bestowed by national identity, which originates in the founding ethnicity.[xxxi] Additionally, ATSI people have an interest in being recognised as founding contributors to that identity.
The interests of small minorities such as ATSI peoples rests on the maintenance of strong allies, including liberal democratic states such as the Australian Commonwealth. Until recent decades, Anglo-Australians assumed they could rely on overwhelming numbers to defend their domestic group interests. This has changed with their declining numbers, and they now have an interest in participating in the multicultural system, or rather the normative, theoretical model, not the present Anglophobic ethnic-hierarchical reality. Genuine multiculturalism should be attractive to Anglos and Aborigines alike because they have a stake in being heard instead of silenced, acknowledged instead of ignored.
Indigenous Australians grapple with issues of status and dignity, but it is not at all clear that a constitutionally mandated voice would make a difference. There are also extreme demands made by some that would, if successful, endanger stable governance and national unity. The proposed voice is an example.
It is significant that the voice proposal does not come from Aborigines alone. It is also a project of the multicultural establishment and the same elite that has, for decades, disregarded the interests of Australia’s Anglo founders. Indigenous activists’ connection with peak multicultural bodies has produced extreme demands such as the irredentist voice proposal. Irredentism is the aspiration to reclaim lost territory. It has been a perennial source of tribal and national conflict.
Indigenous voice advocates are mainly drawn from the urban Aboriginal elite.[xxxii] Such individuals often have had personal or professional connections with leading multiculturalists. Examples include Professor Marcia Langton and Noel Pearson. Both have categorically vilified Anglo-Australians.[xxxiii]
The relationship between the multicultural and globalist movements and indigenous people is asymmetrical. The movement patronises the urban elite of the Aboriginal movement, a trend going back to the 1960s and 1970s.[xxxiv] It is no accident that those mentored by Anglophobic multiculturalists are prone to advocate irredentist nationalist policies of unrestrained land claims, treaties, apology, reparations, anti-white vilification, denial of responsibility for indigenous misbehaviour, a voice, and sooner or later, secession. These radical positions are incentivised. They bring jobs in the bureaucracy, in public broadcasting, in corporations, and in universities. These are jobs for which Anglo advocates, and sometimes Anglos of any persuasion, need not apply. At the same time, the relationship leaves most Aborigines ill-served by multicultural-approved elites, out on a limb, isolated from leaders who understand their way of life and particular local problems. And it risks marginalising white Australia. This is the quid pro quo of the deal, because a powerful segment of the multicultural leadership is intent on weakening Anglos politically and culturally.[xxxv] This is obviously bad for Anglos. It is also bad for indigenous-Australians because white Australia is their long-term irreplaceable ally.
The multicultural lobby does not share class or ethnic interests with Aborigines. Like other citizens, Aborigines are part of the nation and rely upon it for their external and internal security and support. It is not in their interests to lobby Canberra to diversify the Australian population, creating a future hostile environment for indigenous aspirations. Multiculturalists would bring down Aborigines’ greatest ally, Anglo-Australians, a majority of whom feel genuine responsibility and warmth towards them, and who have prioritised their welfare, who are pouring in taxpayer resources, and who secure the nation as a whole from external attack and internal lawlessness.
It is therefore good news that many indigenous Australians do not think they have a stake in the voice, despite the mainstream media exaggerating its popularity.
A January 2023 Ipsos poll of about 300 indigenous-Australians found that 10 percent of indigenous people were explicitly opposed to a constitutionally mandated voice to parliament, with another 10 percent being unsure.[xxxvi] Despite the 2017 Uluru Convention being hand-picked to promote consensus, some Aboriginal representatives walked out to demonstrate their rejection of the Statement. The Ngaanyatjarra Council argues that there is a “real risk that distilling voices from 500 Indigenous clans into a collection of regional groups would effectively nullify authentic Indigenous voices”.[xxxvii] Dissent from the voice proposal has origins in popular Aboriginal distrust of separatism.
Many Aboriginal leaders not supported by multicultural elites, such as Jacinta Price, Nyunggai Warren Mundine and Josephine Cashman, are also opposed to the voice proposal. This is part of a broader policy conflict between them and establishment-supported figures such as Noel Pearson.[xxxviii]
Senator Jacinta Price, a “Walpriri-Celtic” woman from Alice Springs, is critical of the voice proposal because it would empower “elite” indigenous leaders who have failed vulnerable Aborigines for decades.[xxxix] In a November 2022 ABC interview, Pearson accused Price of “punching down on blackfellas in a redneck celebrity vortex”.
Senator Price criticises the voice proposal and accuses its proponents of being culturally alienated from the most marginalised Aborigines, many of whom do not have English as their first language.
The voice proposal is radical in that it seeks to maximise indigenous self-rule and welfare while ignoring other stakeholders. Responsible democratic policies do not attempt to maximise particular interests but to optimise competing claims, thus providing the best outcome for society as a whole.
Multiculturalists, a powerful force behind the voice proposal, are also radical because they are willing to dispose of the present Constitution and national sovereignty over the Australian continent. Patriots, most of whom are Anglo-Australians, view these interests very differently. For them, the Constitution and the Australian continent form their political and geographic homelands. They see retention of a tried-and-tested constitutional order and a unified national territory as existential interests. They are likely to view attempts to mutilate the Constitution or divide up Australia as unacceptable.
The brightest future for indigenous Australians lies in them remaining part of the nation constitutionally and territorially. They and Anglo-Australians form the core national identity. Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are serving their interests when they refrain from harming the nation.
The following section discusses likely outcomes should the voice referendum succeed, in relation to the national context and interests.
- Invidious outcomes
Voice advocates assert that substantial benefits will accrue to indigenous-Australians. On the other side of the debate, legal experts have predicted several invidious outcomes. Before briefly reviewing the arguments on both sides, we shall consider the likely impact on Anglo-Australians.
An indigenous voice as proposed would harm the standing of Anglo-Australians by elevating indigenous people to a privileged status, one that would give political advantage to their elites and entitle them to a permanent transfer of wealth from non-indigenous citizens. This constitutionally-mandated ethnic hierarchy is likely to compromise the forbearance of non-indigenous citizens and thus cleave the nation.
Even the Coalition’s preferred alternative to the voice – recognition of indigenous peoples in a preamble to the Constitution – would demean Anglo-Australians if they were not likewise acknowledged. This is understood by intellectuals influential in the voice process. such as Julian Leeser and Damien Freeman, long-term advisers to Noel Pearson. Perhaps as early as 2013 Leeser and Freeman had the idea of a constitutional declaration, which would become a key element of the voice proposal. Such a declaration would “change the cultural position of indigenous Australians in the national story”, Leeser noted in 2015. Without mentioning the leading role of Anglos, Leeser argued that “the declaration of recognition, through its repetition” would “imprint the story of the place of indigenous people … on the minds of Australians for future generations”.[xl] Recognising only ATSI people without also recognising the leading role of people with a British-Isles background would be a lie that would falsify national identity to the unfair disadvantage of Anglo-Australia.
Another negative outcome of the voice being approved at referendum, is that its bureaucracy would probably become a strategic asset in separatist, anti-Anglo, agitation. This situation is best averted by preventing a voice from being inserted in the Constitution. A less satisfactory remedy would be to balance the voice with a separate voice, also in the Constitution, representing the nation. However, extra chambers of parliament would likely make governance unworkable.
As discussed in Section 6 above, negative impacts on Anglos and other non-indigenous citizens are predictable from the fact that a master document of the voice is a chauvinistic ideological tract, the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Ex-High Court justice Ian Callinan predicts that a constitutionally mandated indigenous voice would trigger a period of judicial activism.[xli] “A voice in any form, in my view, will give rise to many arguments and division, legal and otherwise.” A likely outcome of litigation and judicial activism is that the High Court will interpret the draft words – that the voice “may make representations to Parliament and the Executive Government” – to imply that the government has a duty to consult the voice. James Allan, professor of constitutional law at Queensland University, agrees with Callinan.[xlii]
Controversy has arisen within the pro-voice movement concerning the initial draft’s impact on the Executive Government. The Solicitor-General of the Albanese Labor government officially cautioned against inclusion of “Executive Government”. This advice was relayed by the Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to the Referendum Working Group. The concern was that the voice would disrupt the functions of government. A further risk is that the public will perceive this danger and vote against the referendum. Dreyfus advised the Working Group to change the draft amendment to reduce the legal effect of voice representations on the executive.[xliii] His advice was rejected by the Albanese government This attempt at preventing public concern came late in the process. It might be too late to save the voice proposal from being rejected in the referendum.
Callinan concluded that the voice is, in effect, a proposal for a separate indigenous parliament. He identified a number of poorly specified aspects of the voice that could form in that direction. When Callinan wrote it was not clear that membership of the voice would be appointed, not elected. Nevertheless, his queries are still pertinent because elections would yield greater legitimacy, and thus remain an attractive alternative.
Another fundamental criticism raised by Ian Callinan is that the proposed voice does not contain much detail. It gives parliament a blank cheque to determine the voice’s size (representatives, employees, budget), composition, eligibility, method of election, and jurisdiction.[xliv] These all relate to minimum characteristics for a viable voice. On the face of it, the words to be inserted in the Constitution authorise the parliament to effectively reduce or increase the voice’s resources. The fact that the Constitution mandates a voice that may proffer advice is, by itself, a hollow promise, absent governmental support or High Court intervention on the matter of scale. If the High Court approved, government might be able to cripple the voice, for example by altering the number and choice of indigenous representatives or by reducing the voice’s staff and funding. Alternatively, parliament could grow a voice into a bureaucratic, budgetary and political monster, a super ATSIC that unbalances the tripartite distinction of powers. Should not both extremes be circumscribed by putting more detail into the Constitution?
Australians are mistaken to think that a voice will at last resolve indigenous grievance. It is more likely to open a Pandora’s Box of demands – for treaties, more land hand-overs, further subversion of school curricula, and reparations. Minority advocacy is served by professionals who make their living from finding grievances and litigating for redress. At the same time, the judiciary has been infiltrated by progressives as part of the general leftwards march of the universities. James Allan reports that he is one of the “very few” conservative constitutional law professors in Australia.[xlv] The combination of factors can produce bizarre judgments by the High Court.
In 2020 the High Court decided in Love versus Commonwealth of Australia that Aborigines, even when born overseas, cannot be categorised as non-citizens under section 51(xix) of the Constitution. This decision created a racial category of Australian citizenship, one that takes priority over criteria once applicable to everyone.[xlvi] Justice Gordon expressed this view thus: “[E]ven if an Aboriginal Australian’s birth is not registered and as a result no citizenship is recorded, or an Aboriginal Australian is born overseas without obtaining Australian citizenship, they are not susceptible to legislation made pursuant to the aliens power or detention and deportation under such legislation.”[xlvii] This High Court judgment was really a legislative act, beyond the Court’s remit. Such judicial activism is another reason to reject an indigenous voice, especially one embedded in the Constitution.The proposed voice would greatly increase the scope for judicial activism. Instead, the High Court should be given no wriggle room to pursue further activism that legislates non-indigenous-Australian second class citizenship.
One sure outcome is a decline in coherent government due to the intrusions of a voice. The proposed voice would necessarily be served by an extensive bureaucracy, deepening and solidifying this department of the multicultural infrastructure. It would expand the number and influence of individuals, both indigenous and non-indigenous, with a stake in separatism.
The privileged status of indigenous people is signalled by the Aboriginal flag flying on public buildings despite not representing any democratically-elected government. Indigenous privilege is signalled by the Taxation Office excusing indigenous-Australians from paying taxes on income gained from native title land or benefits.[xlviii] However, income from native title is taxed if some of it goes to non-indigenous individuals.[xlix] The voice proposal is an expression of this elite-enforced privilege.
Another outcome is economic dependence on the non-indigenous taxpayer. Whether or not indigenous nationalism does lead to secession, a voice to parliament and the accompanying politics of privilege would draw attention to the large annual flow of resources – at present in the vicinity of $33 billion – into indigenous welfare and health programs.[l] This is about twice the per capita expenditure on non-indigenous citizens. Such a large wealth transfer might remain tolerable if indigenous people remained equal Australians. But if they become a privileged ethnicity or worse, an ethnically-defined state, the annual transfers are likely to be perceived as exploitation, as a form of taxation without representation.
The outcomes discussed above appear invidious for all stakeholders in the Commonwealth, especially Anglo-Australians. There is the prospect of serious damage to governance, to community standing, and to national finances. The risks are too high to undertake the monumental experiment of changing a system of government which, though surely not perfect, has served us well.
This gloomy prognosis is the result of major stakeholders being excluded from the process of consultation that generated the voice proposal.
- Improper process
This paper has already discussed several examples of flawed process, such as the total exclusion of Anglo advocates from the consultation process and from deliberative committees. The present section brings together these and other improprieties in the voice process. Let us begin by restating the point about excluding stakeholders.
It is difficult to overstate the potential for an indigenous voice and constitutional indigenous recognition in general to damage the well-being of non-indigenous-Australians, including Anglos. That is why, as noted earlier, any legitimate procedure to amend the Constitution or make laws to enact a voice should have – must have – included Anglo and other non-indigenous advocates in the consultative process. Only then would the reckless demands, often initiated by white radicals, be moderated and the reconciliation process made fair and equitable. Excluding Anglo advocates from the voice process and overlooking their collective interests is treatment to be expected from an occupying army, not from a democratic government.
Indeed, if China or India invaded and conquered Australia, they would be well advised to break national resistance by putting an indigenous voice in the constitution (and perhaps other voices but never an Anglo one), retaining the anti-Anglo indoctrination already practised in Australian schools, and continuing high levels of Third World immigration, especially from their own countries. (Actually, the occupiers might substantially reduce present levels of immigration to avoid being accused of committing cultural genocide.)
The corrupt voice process is a hallmark of the Anglophobic multicultural lobby.
An important matter of detail not discussed in the voice process is the definition of indigeneity. Who is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander? Which criteria apply? These questions need to be answered for a voice to function properly. As indigenous historian Victoria Grieves Williams points out, both sides of the voice debate have been silent on this issue. Yet the numbers claiming to be indigenous affect government spending, statistics on Closing the Gap, cultural representation, and therefore indigenous health and wellbeing.[li]
At present, indigeneity is determined by the combination of self-identification, descent, and acceptance by the local community. This standard has seen the official indigenous population increase by 23 percent over the five years to June 2021, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. During the same period, due largely to mass immigration, the non-indigenous population rose by 5.5 percent.[lii] The extraordinary increase in indigenous numbers could not have been due to births alone, but must have resulted from individuals discovering or imagining Aboriginal ancestors. This is, in itself, an indication of the benefit that Australians perceive from being identified as having Aboriginal heritage. Whilst elites and academics are constantly talking about the benefits of “white privilege,” many ordinary Australians are voting with their feet and moving to embrace what they perceive to be the benefits of black privilege.
For Australia to strike a stable settlement between the nation and its indigenous citizens, the answers to questions about identity must continue to apply in the future. A large number, perhaps a majority. of those who identify mainly as Aborigines (their foreground identity) are also Anglos to some extent (their background identity), often to a great extent. And some with an Anglo foreground identity also have Aboriginal ancestors. As other criteria fade, indigenous identification will rest on ancestry to a larger degree.
Ancestry cannot be ignored as an important criterion of ethnic identity, though other criteria play roles. The reality of foreground versus background identity, and community acceptance, complicate the choice of a mandatory fraction. The matter has been debated, for example in Tasmania. There should be a cut-off percentage below which an individual is not categorised as indigenous.
These principles raise the question, which fraction of ancestry should count an individual as indigenous? Full blood? Half? An eighth? One sixty fourth? This valid question has been suppressed by the multicultural establishment, which adopts Noel Pearson’s position that ancestry does not matter. Pearson seeks to de-emphasise ancestry, even adopting the Marxian notion that “[r]ace is really only an instrument of class”.[liii] He also stated: “Indigeneity, however, is not about race. . . . Indigeneity is about historical connection and political status, and the rights and interests arising therefrom.”[liv] This implies that culture and subjective identification are sufficient criteria to accredit someone indigenous. The opposed view is championed by journalist Andrew Bolt, who was found guilty of racial vilification for daring to suggest that it is unrealistic to categorise an individual as indigenous for the purpose of allocating affirmative assistance, when he or she does not have much indigenous ancestry.[lv]
Political censorship, formal and informal, has discouraged conservatives from airing views on identity issues. The censorship began soon after ethno-cultural diversity began to rise, enforced by emerging multicultural elites. It is so ubiquitous that it carries popular names such as “political correctness” and “wokeness”. Thus, the intolerance of the multicultural movement has itself impeded democratic deliberation of the voice proposal.
It is telling that in the debate about the voice, neither side has considered how the proposed changes to the Constitution might affect non-indigenous interests, in particular Anglo interests.
The exclusion of Anglo and other non-indigenous interests is an extraordinary omission of process, because all citizens, including the Anglo population, are stakeholders in the Commonwealth. That is clearly the case for Anglo-Australians because it is primarily they who are held accountable for indigenous disability, which allegedly includes being omitted from the Constitution. The assertion that Anglos are accountable is a backhanded acknowledgment of British-Australian centrality to Australia’s national story. They are attributed with agency but only as it involves alleged wrongdoing. Mr. Albanese cannot have it both ways. A principled resolution requires that he acknowledge the historic Anglo nation as the creator of the colonies and the Commonwealth and the bearer of the core national identity. Then we can reckon any obligation to indigenous people. But it is unprincipled to deny Australia’s Anglo roots while simultaneously blaming white Australia for the supposed sins of the nation’s colonial past.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese considers it “good manners” to give indigenous people a voice in the Constitution. He likens the Constitution to the nation’s “birth certificate”, and as such thinks it should record all those present at the birth, including those who inhabited the continent long before. The Prime Minister contradicts himself by not recognising Anglos and by excluding their advocates from the voice process. If the Constitution-as-birth-certificate metaphor is to be adopted, how can Anglo-Australians, the parents of the nation, be excluded from the family tree? Why have Albanese and his predecessors been working to deny Anglo paternity altogether?
The Anglophobia in the voice process has been, and still is, palpable. Both sides of politics are guilty. The Coalition participated in the voice process without challenging the exclusion of Anglo-Australian advocates, even when in government.
The final process issue is observed by Ian Callinan – the government’s reluctance to fund the Yes and No campaigns for the upcoming referendum. One might add the government’s failure to hold a constitutional convention to deliberate the voice proposal. Instead, the government has promised to educate the public about the issue, which Callinan feels is ominous and Orwellian.[lvi] The context is widespread corporate and institutional support for the voice. The government’s decision means, in effect, that the Yes case will receive indirect institutional support from Government and its media and educational assets as well as corporations, including most media corporations. By contrast, the No case will receive little funding. This is typical of the radical intolerance that contradicts traditions of fair play and due process.
- Conclusion 1: Referendum advice
The British Australian Community calls on Australians to vote No in the referendum on a constitutionally mandated indigenous advisory body, an “indigenous voice to parliament”.
Should a voice proposal be advanced again in the future:
- Any voice should be created by legislation, not through constitutional amendment;
- If the constitutional route is chosen, recognition should go in a preamble to the Constitution, not in the legally-binding main text;
- Indigenous recognition should be balanced by the equivalent for Anglo-Australia;
- These matters should be negotiated by the representatives of all major stakeholders. The greatest flaw in the voice process has been the total exclusion of Anglo advocates. This alone is a fatal shortcoming of the voice process.
The BAC rejects the voice referendum for the reasons of likely outcomes and flawed process. A constitutionally-mandated voice would most likely amount to an indigenous parliament. It would impede governance of the Commonwealth, create ethnic privilege, and empower both the Anglophobic multicultural movement and separatist Aboriginal nationalism. All these outcomes are unacceptable.
The proposed constitutional amendment was developed in a process that, from beginning to end, systematically excluded advocates of almost all non-indigenous ethnic group in general and advocates of the nation and its core identity in particular. This not only insults the great majority of citizens, but if the referendum passes, would require them to fund an indigenous voice without having representation within it.
Another reason to reject the referendum is that it comes at a time when the nation is under siege by a rogue Commonwealth. The avowed motivation for the referendum is to close the “gap” between indigenous and typical Australian living conditions. Proponents assert that the gap cannot be closed until indigenous peoples have a voice to parliament. But Anglo-Australians also suffer from a gap, a deficiency of democratic representation. They are being undemocratically subordinated and their Commonwealth stolen from them. Anglo-Australians should not vote for a fundamental change to their way of government when there is a desperate need to close the democracy gap that has been imposed on them.
Any recognition of national origins should include Australia’s historic Anglo nation. Sir Henry Parkes, father of federation, spoke of the crimson thread of kinship that united the colonies and would bind the planned Commonwealth.[lvii] Now we must declare a red line in the sand, marked by the sign: You will not take our Commonwealth, our creation, from us. Morally it belongs to us, because our forefathers constructed it explicitly to serve our ethnic interests, as well as the needs of indigenous-Australians and all citizens.
At the same time the BAC suggests a way forward. The nation’s origins and indigenous prior settlement should be recognised in a preamble to the Constitution, as set out in the next section. That way emphasises genuine reconciliation based on procedure in which all major stakeholders are represented.
The next and final section discusses the broader principles for achieving genuine reconciliation.
- Conclusion 2: A vision of genuine reconciliation
The voice referendum is presented as a means of ensuring that indigenous people are heard, thus helping to resolve grievance. That is why it has been attractive to many people of good will. This final section therefore addresses the larger issue of reconciliation, because disputation cannot be ended until amends heal legitimate grievances and reciprocity is shown to friendly actions.
A good starting point is to describe the particular relationship that has developed between Anglos and indigenous-Australians since the First Fleet. That relationship bears on the need and potential for reconciliation. A final just reckoning will be, in part, fair compensation and recognition, if needed, in addition to securing the rights of all citizens. In principle, this will come from both sides, but mainly from the historically stronger party, the Commonwealth, and therefore indirectly from the Anglo-core nation. The nation has shown that it is willing to make the settlement but should only do so from a position of security and strength, not as the craven begging of the defeated, not as appeasement, but as an act of leadership. \
The history of Anglo-indigenous relations begins with one fact generally accepted, and reinforced by the Mabo decision, that the continent and associated islands were annexed by Great Britain and the Australian nation was built over the next century on land that had been occupied by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders since time immemorial. After that there is less consensus.
The dominant historical narrative, the one taught in schools and universities and by the media, assumes that British settlement frustrated indigenous achievement of national consciousness and self-rule. Expressed as an explicit claim, this view is certainly false, if British colonisation is set in historical context. That context is well documented though not taught in schools.
The characteristics of British economics and political culture softened, though did not eliminate, the harsh colonial experience of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. There were aggressive actions against them, such as occupation of traditional lands, removals, and the inevitable frontier conflicts with settlers who had a technological advantage. At the same time, despite the impracticality of making treaties with the hundreds of small indigenous clans, there was no genocide, the colonial authorities provided legal protection, and indigenous men could vote in the colonies of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania well before most British men received the franchise in 1918. The indigenous population has recovered overall and might now exceeds its pre-1788 dimension.
When the British claimed, named, and settled Australia they broke no laws or moral standards of the time. In the late eighteenth century international law permitted annexation and conquest and even slavery. European powers were taking the lead in developing international law and would become morally critical of conquest and colonisation. But for the time being, and still today to a degree, states operated within an anarchic world (dis)order.
If the colonisation of Australia from 1788 is viewed from the British perspective, it appears less as a questionable annexation or outright invasion and more as an inevitable race against time and distance. For the indigenous population, their inevitable colonisation happened as humanely as could be expected.
This historical context invalidates much of the blame being heaped on white Australia’s colonial ancestors. At the same time, it reinforces Anglos’ motivation to do everything in their power to keep the positive interpretation true, by ensuring that indigenous peoples continue to benefit from a secure and prosperous Anglo-core nation. It is also relevant that the six colonies and the federal Commonwealth have gone a long way to fulfilling that obligation. However, the commitment to treat indigenous fellow citizens with dignity and respect does not oblige Australia to disable its system of representative government in the effort. On the contrary, Anglos have a duty to all citizens to preserve a secure, united, and prosperous Australia.
Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders have added a local texture to national identity in a way special to Australia, making them a founding people alongside Anglos. Due to disparity of numbers and economy, the indigenous component was more significant qualitatively than quantitatively. The bulk of national identity markers came from Anglo pioneers and immigrants. If the continent had been devoid of people in 1788, Australia today would still be part of Western civilisation with British characteristics. The convict influence helped the new nation jettison the aristocratic baggage of the Old World. Evidence of the quantitative importance of Anglo identity in Australia and other colonies is their continuing familiarity across the English-speaking world despite some differences in cultural admixture. Country was the massive quantitative contribution made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Their contribution to Australia’s cultural capital and thus to its identity was not special quantitatively; but qualitatively it was unique. No other national identity carries the golden Aboriginal threads of identity – folk ways, art, language, names, myths, connection with country, and race. Anglos should be grateful.
White settlers came to identity with the whole continent, a result of the charting that was substantial by 1770 and completed by the 1830s. The early explorers became part of Anglo national lore. In contrast, indigenous peoples’ familiarity with country was ancient but also local. Aborigines did not know that they lived on a continent-sized island. They had no name for the continent as a whole. It is true that Anglos settled on particular plots, which they named – Sydney, van Diemen’s Land, and so on. But they were the first Australians to have an overview of their physical place in the world. Due to cartography, they knew they were settling a vast land, which they named. During that process they had a collective self-awareness, something at first not available to indigenous people due to limited communications. Aborigines did not have a collective vision of themselves. Anglos did possess a collective conception of themselves and of the territory they were occupying. In the long run, none of this matters very much. Everyone now has access to the same information. Nevertheless, it remains a matter of fact that the first Australia-wide nation was created and understood predominantly by people from the British Isles.
In 1901 the six self-governing colonies united to form the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal nation state. They did so explicitly as an Anglo nation, as repeatedly observed by political leaders during the constitutional conventions of the 1890s.
Shared interest is the axis around which reconciliation should turn. Both sides – the nation and its indigenous component – have an interest in good governance, Any voice should be installed via conventional legislation or in a preamble to the Constitution, as proposed by former prime minister John Howard.
Australia has two historic peoples, indigenous and Anglos, both worthy of recognition, whether in the Constitution, legislation, or in educational curricula. If the Constitution is to be amended to afford recognition to Australia’s founding peoples, it is appropriate that both indigenous- and Anglo-Australians be recognised. At present indigenous peoples are shown sympathy, while Anglo history and behaviour are often vilified.[lviii]
If Australia’s origins are to be recognised in the Constitution, the people who largely created the nation and the Commonwealth cannot be omitted. If, as prime minister Anthony Albanese put it, “the fullness of our history” is to be recognised, Anglos cannot be left out. Failing that basic standard of fairness and truth-telling, recognising indigenous people alone will divide our society. Recognition must be conferred on both or on neither.
Consideration of the legitimate interests of Anglo-Australians recommends rejecting the proposal of a constitutional voice. The same considerations yield sympathy for indigenous aspirations for recognition.
Four non-negotiable terms. The first condition is that a voice will not compromise national security, national territory or cohesion. Therefore, a voice or other constitutional or legislative recognition must not empower the separatist revanchist nationalism advocated by Anglophobic elites. Secondly, a special case of the first condition is that recognition or autonomy must not result in independent policies concerning foreign affairs or immigration. Thirdly, recognition must not weaken the nation’s influence on the Commonwealth, for example by impeding its efforts to eliminate Anglophobic policies. Finally, recognition must not compromise Australia’s system of government. Let us consider these in turn.
For the sake of national security, whether one sees the First Fleet and subsequent British settlements as an invasion or annexation, it is now imperative for the nation and the state and their dependants that Australia remain whole and undivided. The nation can allow for symbolic access to land such as provided for by the High Court’s Mabo decision. It can continue to allow for and contribute to the cost of preserving religious sites and other special needs – linguistic, cultural, medical, economic, educational, and social – to facilitate indigenous cultural continuity and ameliorate disability. However, no act of reconciliation should be allowed to threaten national continuity, unity or identity. Any attempt to split off territory or otherwise weaken or dispossess the nation is unacceptable. That includes attempts to vilify or diminish the demographic standing of Anglo-Australians.
Financial reciprocity. This paper has been arguing that any form of recognition, including a voice, should be designed and enacted equitably. That includes financial contributions. If indigenous people have agency, should not those who participate in a voice pay some of its cost? After all, the proposed voice is designed to be a private ethnic good. None of its advocates have provided justification for having non-indigenous citizens provide all the funding.
Responsible negotiation partners should show consideration for the interests of all major stakeholders, which means citizens as a whole, including the Anglo-core nation. And that will entail rejecting the anti-white component of the multicultural industry.
At the same time, Anglos should demand inclusion in the referendum process and cessation of systemic Anglophobic exclusion and vilification. They should advocate for their own as well as for national interests.
Only through full consultation can indigenous recognition be conducted in a legitimate manner. The goal should be reconciliation through finding a settlement consisting of respectful mutual recognition. An example will close this statement. It is a revision of the well-known Acknowledgment of Country to include both Anglo- as well as indigenous-Australians.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE HISTORIC AUSTRALIAN NATION
We acknowledge the Anglo explorers, pioneers and their descendants who planted the British flag and Western Civilisation on this continent, creating the Australian nation. We acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have lived here since the Dreamtime. And we acknowledge the Federal Commonwealth of Australia, created by the nation under the Crown to guard the nation and the liberty of all citizens.
[i] National Indigenous Australians Agency (2023). Referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, March, https://www.niaa.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/referendum-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-voice, accessed 20.4.2023.
[ii] For further details, see Richardson, H. and F. K. Salter (2023). Anglophobia: The unrecognised hatred. Sydney, Social Technologies, Create Space, pp. 10-15.
[iii] Richardson, H. and F. K. Salter (2023). Anglophobia: The unrecognised hatred. Sydney, Social Technologies, Create Space, Chapter 9.
[iv] Salter, The misguided case for indigenous recognition, op cit.
[v] Salter, F. K. (2014). The misguided case for indigenous recognition in the Constitution. Part II: Race and the culture wars, https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2014/01-02/misguided-case-indigenous-recognition-constitution-part-ii/. Quadrant 58(1): 32-40. Reprinted in: Salter, F. K. (2018). The Aboriginal question: Australian racial politics of indigenous recognition and Anglo de-recognition. Collected essays II, Social Technologies., Sydney.
[vi] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice (2023). Who is involved. https://voice.niaa.gov.au/who-involved#workinggroup, accessed 11.3.2022.
[vii] Blainey, G. (1984). All for Australia. North Ryde, Australia, Methuen Haynes, p. 167.
[viii] Brown, David (2000). Contemporary nationalism. Civic, ethnocultural and multicultural politics. London, Routledge.
[ix] Blainey, G. (1994). Melting pot on the boil. The Bulletin, 30 August, pp. 22-25, p. 25
[x] Tavan, G. (2005). The long, slow death of white Australia. Melbourne, Scribe, p. 229.
[xi] Betts, K. (1999). The great divide. Sydney, Duffy & Snellgrove.
[xii] Lopez, M. (2000). The origins of multiculturalism in Australian politics 1945-1975. Melbourne, Melbourne University Press.
[xiii] Collins, Carolyn; and Eccleston, Roy. Pact with Libs dictated policy, says Hawke, The Australian, 25 May 1993.
[xiv] Collins and Eccleston, Pact with Libs.
Betts, The great divide.
[xv] Fraser, M. (2003). Common ground: Issues that should bind and not divide us. Camberwell, Victoria, Penguin, p. 250.
[xvi] Kaufmann, Eric (2018). Whiteshift: Populism, immigration, and the future of white majorities, London: Penguin.
[xvii] Kenny, Chris (2023). 15 questions, now for the answers, The Weekend Australian, 11 February, p. 21. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/indigenous-voice-to-parliament-15-key-questions-answered/news-story/1e996b65527b14fc011e5cad72bf68b2
Law professor Allan James confirms the bias of the universities.
Allan, James (2023). Conservatives on campus hit the wall of censor sensibility, The Weekend Australian, 4 February, p. 15. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/conservatives-on-campus-hit-the-wall-of-censor-sensibility/news-story/47a9e0e8b388dcc38090de3ed3a266d5
[xviii] Kelly, Paul (2023). Deception is no path to reconciliation, The Weekend Australian, 27 May, pp. 17, 20. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/division-is-no-path-to-reconciliation-via-the-indigenous-voice-to-parliament/news-story/b48c599822686f80098a83d05722b57f
[xix] Brown, David (2000). Contemporary nationalism, pp. 139-40.
[xx] Murray, L. (1997). Subhuman redneck poems, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Quoted in Paul Sheehan, 1998, Among the Barbarians: The Dividing of Australia, Random House, Milsons Point, p. 141.
[xxi] Fraser, Andrew (2011). The WASP question: An essay on the biocultural evolution, present predicament, and future prospects of the invisible race. London, Arktos.
[xxii] Inglis, Ken S. (1983). This is the ABC: The Australian Broadcasting Commission 1932-1983, Black Inc.
[xxiii] Clegg, Louise (2023). Legal implications should send a shiver up our spines, The Weekend Australian, 11 February, p. 20. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/legal-implications-over-indigenous-voice-to-parliament-should-give-us-the-chills/news-story/aea435f00d2baf416d6659caec257741
[xxiv] Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians (2012). Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution. Report of the Expert Panel – https://www.indigenousjustice.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/mp/files/resources/files/12-01-16-indigenous-recognition-expert-panel-report.pdf. Canberra, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
[xxv] (2021). UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Australian Human Rights Commission, https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-social-justice/projects/un-declaration-rights, accessed 21.4.2023.
[xxvi] Law Council of Australia (2022). Australia must formally adopt UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People, 8 July. https://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/media/media-releases/australia-must-formally-adopt-un-declaration-on-rights-of-indigenous-people, accessed 21.4.2023.
[xxvii] Salter, F. K. (2014). The misguided case for indigenous recognition in the Constitution. Part II: Race and the culture wars. Quadrant 58(1): 32-40. https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2014/01-02/misguided-case-indigenous-recognition-constitution-part-ii/, accessed 10.5.2023.
Reprinted in: Salter, F. K. (2018). The Aboriginal question: Australian racial politics of indigenous recognition and Anglo de-recognition. Collected essays II, Social Technologies, Sydney.
[xxviii] Salter, F. K. (2007/2003). On genetic interests: Family, ethnicity, and humanity in an age of mass migration. New Brunswick, N.J., Transaction Publishers.
[xxix] Kaufmann, Eric (2004). The rise and fall of Anglo-America. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, p. 193.
[xxx] Allen, Christopher (2023). History wars behind Australiana, The Weekend Australian Review, 6 May, pp. 18-19.
[xxxi] Smith, A. D. (1986). The ethnic origins of nations. Oxford, Basil Blackwell.
[xxxii] Johns, G. (2023). The burden of culture: How to dismantle the Aboriginal industry and give hope to its victims. Sydney, Quadrant Books.
[xxxiii] Richardson, H. and F. K. Salter (2023). Anglophobia: The unrecognised hatred. Sydney, Social Technologies, Create Space, p. 32.
Bolt, Andrew (2014). Noel Pearson is not a god and cannot be excused this behaviour, Herald Sun, 18 August. https://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/noel-pearson-is-not-a-god-and-cannot-be-excused-this-behaviour/news-story/35d5318c839354a63c78d3d70c15ec7b, accessed 13.3.2023.
[xxxiv] Windschuttle, K. (2016). The break-up of Australia: The real agenda behind Aboriginal recognition. Sydney, Quadrant Books, pp. 295-296.
[xxxv] Richardson, H. and F. K. Salter (2023). Anglophobia: The unrecognised hatred. Sydney, Social Technologies, Create Space.
[xxxvi] Allam, Lorena (2023). Uluru statement architect confident of Indigenous voice success despite Invasion Day calls to vote no, The Guardian, 27 January, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jan/27/uluru-statement-architect-confident-of-indigenous-voice-success-despite-invasion-day-calls-to-vote-no. Also reported by Uluru Dialogue.
[xxxvii] Mundine (2023). Real voices gagged by grand gesture, https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/real-voices-gagged-by-grand-gesture-to-absolve-white-guilt/news-story/85ddf8ebd8fce2c2212e344c980462d6
[xxxviii] Salter, F. K. (2015). The Pearson factor. Quadrant Online, 22 July. https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/bennelong-papers/2015/07/pearson-factor/, accessed 10.5.2023. Reprinted in: Salter, F. K. (2018). The Aboriginal question: Australian racial politics of indigenous recognition and Anglo de-recognition. Collected essays II, Social Technologies., Sydney.
[xxxix] Vincent, Peter (2023). Jacinta Price says the ABC has ‘racially vilified’ her but gone easy on other Indigenous leaders because she’s a ‘conservative Aboriginal woman’, Daily Mail, 16 February, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11756189/Jacinta-Price-claims-ABC-racially-vilified-shes-conservative-Aboriginal-woman.html, accessed 17.2.2023.
[xl] Robinson, Natasha (2015). Noel Pearson takes lead from Jewish storytelling, The Australian, 25 April. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/in-depth/journey-to-recognition/news-story/fcc85b7ac224e45583c3798c931f3b32, accessed 3.5.2023.
[xli] Callinan, Ian (2022). Examining the case for the voice – an argument against, The Weekend Australian, 17 December, p. 20. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/examining-the-case-for-the-voice-an-argument-against/news-story/e30c8f2ffcbae73eaa3921e82bf174a9, accessed 18.2.2023.
[xlii] Allan, James (2020). Activist justices’ alien view of court’s power, The Australian, 14 February. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/activist-justices-alien-view-of-courts-power/news-story/bfff4c2f860a65426dddaf5f91cf9ff6, accessed 18.2.2023.
[xliii] Shanahan, Dennis (2023). Quietly and behind closed doors, Labor alters its draft. The Weekend Australian, 18 March, p. 23.
[xliv] Callinan, Ian (2022). Examining the case for the voice.
Robert Hardie (2023). Letter: Details matter and voice advocates should demand them, The Weekend Australian, 7 January, p. 10.
[xlv] Allan, James (2022). Roll of the dice on voice, The Weekend Australian, 31 December, p. 19. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/judges-make-it-a-roll-of-the-dice-on-voice/news-story/1b099f806b9007a5e152a30886df48e9, accessed 5.1.2023.
[xlvi] Allan, James (2020). Activist justices’ alien view of court’s power, The Australian, 14 February. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/activist-justices-alien-view-of-courts-power/news-story/bfff4c2f860a65426dddaf5f91cf9ff6, accessed 18.2.2023.
Allan, James (2023). Roll of the dice on voice, The Weekend Australian, 31 December., p. 19. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/judges-make-it-a-roll-of-the-dice-on-voice/news-story/1b099f806b9007a5e152a30886df48e9, accessed 5.1.2023.
[xlvii] Carroll, John, Cain Sibley, and Neil Cuthbert (2020). The Constitutional limits on defining an “alien”, 5 March, https://www.claytonutz.com/knowledge/2020/march/the-constitutional-limits-on-defining-an-alien
[xlviii] Australian Taxation Office (2022). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individual tax, Australian Government, 23 November. https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Aboriginal-and-Torres-Strait-Islander-people/Aboriginal-and-Torres-Strait-Islanders-and-individual-tax/, accessed 9.5.2023. “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Indigenous holding entities don’t need to pay income tax or capital gains tax on native title payments or benefits.”
[xlix] Australian Taxation Office (2022). Receiving native title benefits, Australian Government, 1 July. https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Aboriginal-and-Torres-Strait-Islander-people/Aboriginal-and-Torres-Strait-Islanders-and-individual-tax/Receiving-native-title-benefits/, accessed 9.5.2023.
An example provided by the document:
“Mae is an Aboriginal woman who lives in Western Australia. Every year, she receives a $100,000 native title benefit from a mining company. The mining company uses the land to mine for iron ore. Mae is not taxed on this $100,000 because it is a native title benefit, which is NANE income and is not taxable.”
Another example provided by the document:
“ABC Enterprises Trust is paid a native title benefit of $500,000. This payment is part of the income of the trust. The trust is not an Indigenous holding entity because its beneficiaries are not limited to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
[l] In 2017 the Productivity Commission estimated that indigenous-specific expenditure had increased to $33.4 billion. https://www.pc.gov.au/ongoing/indigenous-expenditure-report/2017/ier-2017-indigenous-expenditure-report.pdf, accessed 12.3.2023. p. 6. This was 6% of total government expenditures at a time when indigenous citizens numbered 3.1% of the population. See https://healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/healthinfonet/getContent.php?linkid=597498&title=Summary+of+Aboriginal+and+Torres+Strait+Islander+health+status+2015&contentid=33480_1, accessed 12.3.2023.
[li] Williams, Victoria Grieves (2023). Much more truth-talking needed in Indigenous affairs, The Weekend Australian, 28 January, p. 17. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/much-more-truthtalking-needed-in-indigenous-affairs/news-story/880e7266077c0826e9a6c3c23f76a8bf, accessed 17.2.2023.
[lii] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population approaching 1 million, Media release, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 21 September 2022. https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-population-approaching-1-million, accessed 13.3.2023.
[liii] Pearson, N. (2011). Up from the mission: Selected writings. Collingwood, Victoria, Schwartz Media, Kindle edition, loc. 4136.
[liv] Pearson, Noel (2015). Indigenous people need a lot more than just symbolism, Cape York Institute, 4 July. https://capeyorkpartnership.org.au/indigenous-people-need-a-lot-more-than-just-symbolism-noel-pearson/, accessed 13.3.2023. Originally published in The Australian, 4 July 2015.
[lv] Bolt, A. (2009). It’s so hip to be black. Herald-Sun, Melbourne, News Ltd. 15 April.
Quinn, K. (2010). Aborigines sue Bolt over racial writings. The Age. Melbourne, Fairfax. 18 September, https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/aborigines-sue-bolt-over-racial-writings-20100917-15gk7.html, accessed 19.8.2021.
[lvi] Callinan, Ian (2022). Examining the case for the voice.
[lvii] Salter, F. K. (2020). Sir Henry Parkes’s liberal-ethnic nationalism, Sydney Trads: Weblog of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum, https://sydneytrads.com/2020/12/18/sir-henry-parkess-liberal-ethnic-nationalism/.
Garran, Robert R. (1897). The coming commonwealth: An Australian handbook of federal government. Sydney and London, Angus & Robertson. Garran, a legal scholar, leading member of the Australian federation movement, and the first Commonwealth public servant, compared various states around the world. He concluded thus:
“The conditions favourable to the development and maintenance of the federal system are three —(1) There must be among the people of the federating States some community of origin or history, to form a basis for the common national life. The ‘crimson thread of kinship’ is not absolutely essential (witness Switzerland and Canada), but greatly helps the welding of the nation.”
https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/garran-sir-robert-randolph-410, accessed 7.4.2023.
[lviii] Richardson, H. and F. K. Salter (2023). Anglophobia: The unrecognised hatred. Sydney, Social Technologies, Create Space.