Brenden Brown: Listening to the Voice or listening to voices?

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You won’t finish this article, and that’s one of many reasons why the referendum is unlikely to get up.

This combined with the generally wary nature of Aussies, has not seen a successful referendum in the last 60ish years.

We’ve developed very short attention spans, unlikely to spend more than 30 seconds on a particular topic and most politicians are delighted to have worked this out.

It is unlikely that most of us have read much about the upcoming referendum at all. It’s most likely your position comes from radio soundbites, the odd radio commentator or podcast, or more likely still Facebook, Instagram or TikTok reels. Most of us are busy working, it’s harder to save for a home than ever before. When we relax or distract ourselves, this mostly comes in the form of quick easy-to-consume social media hits. Our “feeds” are waiting for us to devour a diet delivered full of what our algorithms know we want to hear, read, and see. All are designed to keep us glued to our devices as long as possible.

Ask yourself, how long it has been since you opened your device and saw something you really disagreed with? When did you listen to an opinion that challenged your current thinking? Scroll! Politicians love this, they love peeps who “aren’t into politics”, and they will tell you “If you don’t know, vote no”.

In the early 2000’s I took on a role in a “Flying Dr” style project. I flew into NSW’s regional and remote areas, where civilisation meets the desert. I worked in health, predominantly with Indigenous communities.

On driving into Brewarrina, a remote town in far western NSW, I asked why there were beds lining the wrap-around verandas on the mostly public housing used by the indigenous people. My guide explained that the housing had been designed and manufactured in Sydney, essentially prefab homes shipped to Brewarrina. The housing comprised small, enclosed bedrooms, with little ventilation, which in the stifling heat of Bre became virtual hot houses.

There was no consultation with the local community, the Aboriginal people who had lived in that area for thousands of years.

White folk in Sydney had decided this would work and so it began. The housing rendered useless by design was adapted by the locals who moved the bedding to the verandas so they could at least sleep in the often Furness-like temperatures. If only someone had listened.

While we all love a bit of Facebook advice or remedy, for example, Barb who wants to know if the Woolworths is open at 6am on a Sunday, or Brett who is desperate to remove the beer from carpet, do we really want our advice about changes to the constitution provided by these people? Ask yourself, do you want your Cardiologist to learn from Davidlovesfords71 on Facebook or get their advice and up-to-date information from experts, professors, and scholars. In turn, do you listen to your Cardiologist or randoms on social media?

DavidlovesFords71 may claim to know all about “hidden clauses” and how “the real truth” has been “hidden in the detail”. However, we all have a sneaking suspicion that Dave is probably also soon to appear in one of those cra cra videos on socials we all see of police making traffic stops of so-called sovereign citizens where they declare their rights, refuse to show their licence and then end up in handcuffs with frustrated coppers rolling their eyes.

The changes for the Voice have been written by constitutional experts. Judges and lawyers, all with years of experience debating, and advising on Constitutional law in the High Court and to successive governments.

These people have been crystal clear in debunking the conspiracy theory cooker notions, around hidden United Nations plots, hidden additional pages, or secret powers. The Voice is simple due to its simplicity, it’s a paragraph that gives Aboriginal people a voice to offer advice on issues that impact them, whilst granting politicians of the day the right to not listen to that advice.

Australia’s Solicitor General, Dr Stephen Donaghue KC, appointed in 2016 by the then Liberal government, released his opinion in April this year saying that this change would “enhance” the responsiveness and responsibility of government and “will not fetter or impede it”. DavidlovesFords71 believe the solicitor general maybe a lizard man.

It’s time we simply gave Aboriginal people a voice in their future. This doesn’t come down to politics, we all know and have seen how Politicians must “toe the party line”. Having Aboriginal members of parliament won’t fix this, they will have to vote in line with the party, not the Aboriginal people they represent. The Voice will address this, it simply gives Aboriginal people a say.

For years we’ve all heard murmurings about how dissatisfied people are about programs run for Indigenous people. How money is seen to be wasted, or how programs don’t work. These programs are universally thought up by and designed by white people for Indigenous people. This has been the same for centuries now, I wish I wasn’t exaggerating but it’s literally centuries! Indigenous people aren’t asking for more money, not a single cent, they are simply asking for a say in the decision-making process.

Well done to you if you’ve got this far and haven’t drifted off to read about the cricket or find a remedy for beer stains. I hope you’ll be part of a vote to push Australia ahead by voting Yes and ignore Dave and his conspiracies about Lizard people.

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