Letter to the Editor

In tune with The Voice debate, might I suggest a little singing lesson to keep the topic on song. Let’s start with our National Anthem’s latest version which opens with: “Australians let us all rejoice, for we are one and free…” It does not continue, ” One rule for you, another rule for me…”

Then take up the chorus of I am Australian, first made famous by Judith Durham and The Seekers decades ago: “We are one, but we are many, And from all the lands on earth we come. We share a dream and sing with one voice: I am, you are, we are Australian…”

Exactly, Judith, and according to all the polls, The Voice has hit a flat note as more people are starting to wake up to the fact that we don’t need a Voice enshrined in The Constitution to permanently divide Australians, past present and future, on the basis of race. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney keep insisting that The Voice Referendum is a nice, feel good proposal to establish a separate unelected body which will be purely advisory.

They deny it has anything to do with Treaty, Reparations and “Truth Telling” even though they have already initiated moves for a “Makaratta Commission” and Makaratta directly translates to treaty.  The Uluru Statement from the Heart which the PM has pledged on numerous occasions to “implement in full,” also makes it clear that Treaty and Reparations are definitely on the agenda.

Rather than claiming all problems facing indigenous communities can somehow be solved with a permanent Voice in The Constitution, they should explain why this can’t be achieved by the numerous State and Federal indigenous agencies who have received copious funding over many years.

This is shown in a direct quote from a Productivity Commission report: “Total direct expenditure on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2012-13 was estimated to be $30.3 billion, accounting for 6.1% of total direct general government expenditure.”

Where has all the money gone, Albo, if not to the outback communities in most need? Meanwhile, there were 812,728 people who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin in the 2021 Census – up from 649,171 in 2016. This represents an increase of 25 percent, even higher than the increase between 2006 and 2011 (20.5%) and between 2011 and 2016 (18.4%).

You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to see the trend here. If the Yes vote succeeds, you can bet the house, if you’re fortunate enough to own it, the surge of “box tickers” will overload the largesse of any government unless some meaningful checks put a stop to a blank cheque approach for those on the receiving end.  


John Mikkelsen,