It’s interesting to observe our society sometimes.
The way we Australians, as a group, form perceived consensus on ideas.
The pandemic was a good example of that. Some of the “group think” we had consensus upon was constructive; for example, the evidence-based approach of protecting the elderly. Whilst other ideas we had consensus upon, were not as evidence-based, such as vaccinating healthy children, … albeit most of the population, including my family, did it.
I can see elements of social “group think” around Aboriginal affairs and the Voice to Parliament debate. This “group think” often goes silently unchallenged, even though we know rational reasons to challenge it.
It’s a bit like some religions or cults where the followers are not allowed to think or challenge some of their foundational constructs. And where those that do challenge it, are ostracized, just for raising the challenge and not for the substance of the challenge.
In the case of the Voice and Aboriginal affairs in general, I am observing that we are all enduring this “challengeable rationality” in socially acceptable silence.
For example, when I attend a meeting or receive an email with a footer that uses terminology like “First Nations.” When historians agree that what existed was a large number of small tribes speaking many different languages, and when the numerical order of migration to the country should have no bearing in a democracy.
Or when our multi-cultural society bows its head in religious servitude to one race to “pay my respects to Ancestors past and present, future and emerging;” (Do we Ancestor Worship now?)
Or when the recent Government Migration Strategy document (April 2023, pg 7) states:
“From the moment they arrive, migrants are on the lands and the waters of Australia’s First Nations peoples. Whether here temporarily, or establishing new lives in Australia, migrants live on Country belonging to First Nations peoples.”
(Excluding Native Title, does not the country belong to all Australian citizens?)
Or if we challenge the idea of why we need a First Nations Ambassador? When we already have an Australian Ambassador. (What country do they represent to the world?)
Or why one race should have a greater right of ownership of the water;
Or demand additional constitutional representation (Voice) to parliament and the executive, – when “one person, one vote” is the very essence of our democracy;
Or when people see, and don’t challenge it, when others are being called racist if they don’t support the Voice;
Or how the Uluru Statement goes unchallenged and virtually worshiped, when it divisively calls for Aboriginal, “ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty …. and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown” and calls for Constitutional Voice to achieve that goal. We silently cede to the concept of “one country, two nations, one taxation system” …. And don’t challenge the impact of this upon all citizens over the coming decades and centuries …
Or why we don’t challenge other socially “undiscussable” constructs such as “It has never been ceded!” When all we need do is listen to the historians and lawyers and observe that realistically they never had a choice … as sadly history is just like that …
OR “Always was and always will be” and we ignore the divisive impact of “always will be” upon the “other” 25 million multi-racial citizens of the land, and their children … and their children … in perpetuity.
I am sure there are other social constructs that we silently feel compelled to unchallenge. It will be fascinating to view the Voice to Parliament debate through this lens.