The Voice: Using the Magic Racism Card By James Reed
It had to happen; the Yes side of the Voice referendum, has pulled out the racism card, with a leading Yes advocate claiming that the No side is based upon racism. Now, I was expecting that, and I wondered if it would scare the punters. But, not so; members of the Yes side came out, seeing that this would be potentially damaging to their side and urged that respect be showered to everyone, that diversity of opinion be respected. Heart-warming stuff indeed.
At least we are seeing some on the Yes side saying that there will be no treaty, and no reparations. We know that this is false from the explicit statements to the country directly from the Uluru Statement. But, extracted today at the blog, is a great middle-of-the-road article from The Australian, that details the fine print of the Voice referendum that the Yes side does not want you to know. It needs to be given to the undecided.
“Linda Burney has been forced to intervene and call for care and respect from both sides of the voice referendum debate after Marcia Langton accused the No case of racism and stupidity, undermining the Yes campaign’s strategy to win over five million undecided voters.
Race became a central feature of the campaign on Tuesday in the wake of Professor Langton’s comments to an audience in regional Western Australia, as Noel Pearson urged fellow Yes supporters to “be respectful of the reservations that people have”.
ALP national secretary Paul Erickson also gave his third briefing to caucus for the year, telling Labor MPs that 30 per cent of voters – or about five million people – were still in play.
The Australian understands there is a view among senior ranks of the party that if the Yes campaign manages to win over undecided people and add them to the Yes voters already locked in, they can achieve a majority on October 14.
Professor Langton in Bunbury on Sunday called out No campaign “lies” such as a voice enshrined in the Constitution will lead to treaty and compensation for Aboriginal people. “We’re really down to the wire. We’ve got four weeks to win this now and if there are people thinking, ‘Oh, but I read that (West Australian columnist) Paul Murray said that they’re going to use this as a sneaky way to get treaties’, we’re already well on the way to treaties, just tell them that,” Professor Langton said, adding that compensation would only ever be paid if the courts or governments said it should be.
“What are they (the No campaign) talking about? See, ‘Aborigines are bludgers, Aborigines steal everything, Aborigines aren’t entitled to the compensation that everybody else gets because they’re lying’. Do you see my point? Every time the No case raises one of their arguments, if you start pulling it apart you get down to base racism – I’m sorry to say it but that’s where it lands – or just sheer stupidity.”
The Minister for Indigenous Australians refused to directly criticise the comments but told federal parliament: “I want to say this very clearly – I call on everyone involved in this referendum to act respectfully and with care for their fellow Australians.
“We are a great country. We are enhanced by listening to a diversity of views and opinions. Fundamentally the voice is all about the act of listening … Of course there is no room for racism of any kind in this country,” Ms Burney said.
Professor Langton, an architect of national, regional and local voice models, defended her comments, saying No campaigners were using racist tactics but she didn’t believe the majority of Australians were racist.
“I have not said that No voters are racist. The No campaign is using racism to peddle their deceitful wares,” she told The Australian on Tuesday.
“No one gets compensation unless a court or authority has ordered it. There are treaty processes well under way in Victoria. Queensland and the NT. The Calma Langton Report states unequivocally that the Voice structure we recommend would not interfere in existing bodies or processes.
“It is an advisory body only. The No campaign is deliberately lying about matters that are on the public record and duping the public.”
Opposition Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Jacinta Price – a leading campaigner for the No case – said the comments provided an “insight into the mindset and agenda of the Aboriginal activists pushing the divisive voice.” She warned the remarks from Professor Langton would be highly offensive to about half the nation.
“Whichever way the referendum goes, the result looks like it will be extremely close and any suggestion No voters who are unpersuaded by their proposed voice are siding with racism or stupidity is highly offensive to at least half the country.”
Ken Wyatt, who was Indigenous Australians minister in the Morrison government and has worked with Professor Langton for years on the issues of constitutional recognition and a voice, did not wish to comment on her remarks first reported by the Bunbury Herald.”