Will the Voice lead to ‘reparations’? Voters want straight answers

The Voice has lost support in recent polls. Newspoll shows that support has fallen below 50 per cent in every state. Redbridge shows that 56 per cent of Australians intend to vote ‘no’. Even the Guardian/Essential poll now shows that ‘no’ is ahead. The ‘yes’ campaign is struggling.

An emerging concern is that the Voice appears to be a tool to achieve ‘reparations’ or ‘compensation’. These are technically separate issues. But, if the Voice pushes for treaty and treaty involves reparations, they are clearly connected. The Australian people are right to ask about what the Voice implies for future policy.

It is up to voters to decide whether they want to pay ‘reparations’ and whether they want to support the Voice. They are entitled to make a fully informed decision. They are also entitled to constructive and forthright information from their Prime Minister, this includes in relation to what is in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, its formation, and what it entails.

The prospect of reparations is not a ‘conspiracy theory’ or mere speculation, as Anthony Albanese would have people believe. This appears inherent in the Uluru Statement on which the Voice is based, and to which Anthony Albanese has committed ‘in full’.

There is some dispute over precisely what is in the Uluru Statement. Its implications, however, appear clear.

Anthony Albanese claims that the Uluru Statement is simply a one-page document. This document is broad. For example, it calls for ‘Makarrata’ (i.e., treaty) but does not indicate what would be in this treaty. We need further documentation to determine what a treaty envisions.

Senator Jacinta Price argues that the Uluru statement is a full 26-page document which she obtained via a Freedom of Information request from the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA). Oddly, Anthony Albanese has called Jacinta Price’s assertion a ‘conspiracy theory’, likening it to QAnon. Quite how this could be the case when the document is real and on a government website is unclear.

The NIAA itself has reportedly provided mixed information. Jacinta Price claims they told her the document was the Uluru Statement. The Guardian suggests they were told it is mere background. In either case, it implies that the document is relevant to understanding the shorter one-page Uluru Statement and its intentions.

Uluru Dialogue co-chair, Megan Davis, has clarified that the Uluru Statement is one page but that it is supported by other documents. Megan Davis had previously stated:

‘The Uluṟu Statement from the Heart is occasionally mistaken as merely a one-page document […] The Uluṟu Statement in totality is closer to 18 pages and includes several pages of the legal reasoning for a constitutional voice and also a lengthy narrative called “Our Story”, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander story of Australia.’

The issue is more fundamental. The one-page document is, at the very least, ‘supported by’ other documents. It seems beside the point whether the Uluru Statement is the full 26-page document or whether it is background that shows the framers’ thought process. In either case, it reveals the intended goals for the Voice and for Treaty.

What does this imply about reparations?

The documents suggest that the Voice would advocate for treaty and this involves reparations. The full statement, whether mere background or not, is informative. This is document 14 in the full pack (at page 87 of the PDF). The document promotes a Voice and states (at page 103 of the PDF):

‘Any Voice to Parliament should be designed so that it could support and promote a treaty-making process.’

The question is then, what is a ‘treaty’? The Uluru Statement further indicates (at page 105 of the PDF):

‘Treaty could include a proper say in decision-making, the establishment of a truth commission, reparations, a financial settlement (such as seeking a percentage of GDP), the resolution of land, water and resources issues, recognition of authority and customary law, and guarantees of respect for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.’

The goal appears to be to achieve a Voice which will push for a Treaty, a part of which will likely be ‘reparations’, potentially in the form of a percentage of GDP. The referendum text does not prevent this from happening; and thus, voters are concerned.

Anthony Albanese might argue that the 26-page document – whether background or not – is merely aspirational. However, his past conduct suggests he would follow recommendations for reparations. This includes his past statements – which he has not disavowed – that called for such reparation payments. In response to those statements being aired, he mocked the journalist, referring to him only sarcastically as an ‘investigative journalist’ while side-stepping his own comments.

Anthony Albanese’s decision to side-step questions do not engender confidence. The 26-page document is real. A government has adduced it and it is informative. It is not a QAnon-esque Conspiracy Theory. Bullying and obfuscation does not help the ‘yes’ case.

Where does this leave us?

There appears a strong likelihood that the Voice will push for a financial settlement or reparations. This is not certain. The Voice and its advocacy might deviate from the Uluru Statement and its background documents. Or, it might not. In any case, if Australians vote for the Voice, it appears significantly more likely there will be treaty and reparations.

This then raises additional questions. Given that it would have funding, and access to Pparliament and the executive, it could vociferously push for this. By contrast, reparation opponents would not have such funding and access. Thus, we risk an outcome akin to funding and hearing only one side of a court case: you know who will win. Safeguards would be essential to avoid such a situation emerging.

What then does this mean for everyday Australians? A reasonable assumption is that it would entail tax increases and/or worse government services. This is mathematics: If a percentage of GDP is now tithed, then the government has less money to spend on existing services. Thus, either those services will worsen, or the government will increase taxes, or both.

Anthony Albanese would be well advised to cool it with the bullying and name-calling, and to start listening and responding constructively. Voters might accept treaty and reparations. These appear to be a natural consequence of Voice. They are more likely to accept such an outcome if treated respectfully. But, the Prime Minister’s rhetoric and approach underscores why the Voice is struggling in the polls.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

This post was originally published on this site