The Competing Voices on the Voice

Read Time:18 Minutes

Navigating the complexities of the struggle for First Nations justice in the age of woke, censorship and repression

By Lorraine Pratley for Real Left Australia.

Australia, like the US and South Africa, is a colonial settler state. For millennia, the first peoples of Australia and the Torres Strait Islands lived healthy and fulfilling lives.[1][2] This was disrupted in the era of colonial expansion of the first capitalist powers. Invaded in 1788, Australia was to serve as a port for Britain in the South Pacific. Early colonists quickly recognised the commercial potential of this vast land.

Contrary to popular belief, Australia was not a predominantly arid place. The very earliest settlers reported a landscape of lush green grasslands interspersed with forested bushlands. These plains were carefully sculpted by local First Nations communities through the skilled use of fire, resulting in the fertile green pastures favoured by their prey.[3] The countryside so resembled the classic English country estate, that it was described by early settlers as “the biggest estate on Earth.”[4]

The first colonial posts centred around key ports, and were populated with a privileged officer class and a convict class, which laboured under harsh conditions to build the earliest infrastructure. Sheep pasturing soon followed as ‘squatters’, a landed class granted huge properties by the state, known as stations,[5] moved inland from the coast. Large cattle stations followed, and coal became an important commodity. Fast forward to the present day and the Australian economy continues to rely heavily on the export of key raw materials, including grains and other agricultural products, and, most lucratively, mining materials such as iron ore and other extracted minerals.

Now a nation of 26.5 million people, of which 3% are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, there is no escaping the fact that Australia was founded on the wholesale theft of the land of the original inhabitants. The economic and social structure of these First Nations societies was not based on private property or any form of inequality. Tribal elders were not a privileged group in any material sense. Material needs were met through deep and extensive knowledge of animals, plants, weather patterns and astrology, alongside a keen awareness of their role as custodians of the land. Practices based on this long-accrued wisdom ensured a harmonious relationship with the environment, successfully reproducing their communities for millennia. This approach to nature, and to reciprocal relationships with each other, was antithetical to the hierarchical class-based system the British arrived with and intended to impose – a system in which land and people alike are viewed by a tiny minority as nothing more than means of further enrichment.

After realising the malicious intent of the invaders, the people of the first Aboriginal Nations did not go quietly. Accounts abound of determined armed resistance to the brutal takeover of their lands, first by colonial soldiers, and, increasingly, from ‘squatter’ settler farmers. This resistance was ultimately defeated due to a mismatch of weaponry but gave rise to the enduring sentiment, “sovereignty never ceded”. Survivors were herded onto reserves, given substandard food and denied access to once-bountiful traditional foods and medicines. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, they suffered through various iterations of bureaucratic approaches to assimilation including many generations of children forcibly taken from their families, destined to become unpaid domestic servants and farm hands.

As First Nations people became increasingly integrated into the Australian working class, their methods of struggle shifted to reflect their social power as workers. They used their concentration in outback station work as stockmen to stop the flow of their employer’s profits, most conspicuously with a three year victorious strike in the Pilbara from 1946 for the payment of wages; the great Wave Hill station strike of 1966-67; as well as strikes by black government workers on reserves in the Northern Territory for improved conditions on the reserves, improved wages and equal citizenship rights, despite banishment and the jailing of strike leaders.

The Wave Hill strike, which won in part due to widespread support from the Australian trade union movement, and occurred in the context of the US civil rights movement and movements of indigenous peoples elsewhere in the world, was mostly waged by members of the Gurindji people, who went on to establish a camp and claim land rights over their traditional homelands, giving birth to the modern land rights movement.[6] Since 1972, Aboriginal ‘tent embassies’ have been periodically erected on the grounds of Parliament House to protest the slow progress of the establishment of land rights.

Despite gains in legal and political rights, including the 1967 referendum establishing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as citizens (Australia’s most highly supported referendum at 90.77%), the ongoing legacy of dispossession alongside systemic racism in Australian judicial and bureaucratic structures has ensured that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia endure poor outcomes on virtually all measures, documented in Close the Gap[7] data. Governments have come and gone, some promising to address inequality differently, others simply continuing proven failed approaches. Pressure from Aboriginal groups, and supporters in the wider community, to do more to address systemic disadvantage is the context of the Voice referendum, likely to be held in October. Australians must compulsorily vote on a question of whether to approve an amendment to the Constitution.[8] To pass, a referendum must achieve a majority of both the population and the six states.  

Proposed amendment

The current proposal for the amendment to be inserted into the Constitution is:

Chapter IX Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice

In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:

  1. There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
  2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  3. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.

At face value, in the context of the long struggle for justice, the Voice referendum seems innocuous. It is purportedly one of the fruits born of a consultation process culminating in a message to the nation in 2017, the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which lobbies for three things: constitutional recognition through the Voice, truth-telling and Makarrata (treaty).[9]

The forces driving the Yes vote

In reality, the Voice is an astroturfing operation, hatched through a process beginning in 2007,[10] led by conservative Aboriginal lawyer, Noel Pearson, working closely with the (conservative) Liberal Party, with business backing.[11][12] Nineteen out of 100 participants walked out of the convention to establish the Uluru Statement, frustrated at the complete lack of power such a body would have to compel the government on anything.[13] Indeed, an advisory body to parliament with no legislative power became an attractive means for the state to head off a growing, and potentially militant, grassroots movement, fed up with government inaction,[14] one that could mobilise many tens of thousands onto the streets on ’Invasion Day’ over recent years, dwarfing official Australia Day events.

The Labor party came to power in 2022 after 10 years in opposition. Labor leadership, always under some pressure to deliver to its base on matters of solidarity, saw the opportunity to appear to be doing something about Aboriginal inequality while reassuring local mining magnates with a measure that would have no teeth.[15] Lacking concrete measures to address Aboriginal inequality, the Voice is essentially a cynical act of tokenism designed to merely quell the appetite within the Labor base for addressing inequality. In floating the idea, new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has calculated upon well-established widespread support in the wider Australian community[16] for action to address Aboriginal disadvantage.

However, he has miscalculated on two important fronts. First, the opposing No camp has been able to exploit the vagueness in the construction of the referendum question which invites far more questions than answers. Second and more importantly, the party has alienated a significant section of its base by waging war against Australian workers and small business people through the authoritarian Covid response in this country.[17] This has allowed the mainstream Right, in the form of the opposition coalition parties, Liberal and National, as well as the populist Right like the One Nation party, once considered fringe due to the formerly overt racism of their policies, to gain a large hearing which now threatens the very success of the vote.[18] There are even whispers the referendum may be cancelled altogether.

The Yes campaign is supported by the usual suspects in the new overt collaboration between big business, mainstream liberal media and the trade union movement.[19] This includes the academics, bureaucrats, NGO and land council leaders of the black middle class. It also includes a small number of Liberal/National coalition MP’s who rely on urban professional voters for their seats. Pro-Yes forces are now in overdrive to try to stem the losses and are clearly lobbying hard behind the scenes.[20] No doubt the big mining companies are secretly hoping the Voice fails, setting back hopes for further land rights for a long time to come.

The forces driving the No vote

Driving the official No campaign is the Liberal-National coalition, flailing in opposition federally and all states and territories bar one, which latched onto this issue in an attempt to claw back relevance. It was a no-brainer for opposition leader Peter Dutton to try to make a dent in the standing of his rival. His Aboriginal colleague, Country Liberal Party MP, Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, has lent strong credibility to the opposition camp with her slogan: “The Voice will divide, not unite us.”[21]

The No case repeats the classic racist dog-whistle that bad things happened in the past but now Aboriginal people need to stop complaining, stop asking for government handouts and pull themselves up by their bootstraps. This is what is behind former Liberal prime minister, Tony Abbott’s, comments “This assumption that Indigenous people are ‘different’ and need to be treated differently—this separatist mindset—is at the heart of the problem”. Worse, he claims the Voice is a “Trojan horse” and a “power grab”. Dutton outright lied when he suggested the Voice would be “a new arm of government.”[22]

These latter statements play on financial insecurities, especially among the lower middle class, about the small amounts of property ordinary people own. In classic divide and rule tactics, the land rights movement has always been attacked from the Right with fear-mongering warnings to the general population that your home, the ‘great Australian dream’, is at risk (‘they’re after your backyard’). For months, dire warnings have spread through social media like wildfire, with messages summed up in a mysterious leaflet predicting everyday Australians will have to pay reparations through increased taxes to compensate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders for land theft, stolen wages and stolen children.[23] Never mind that there have already been some successful legal claims to compensate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders for these injustices [24]. These flames are fanned by populist Right politicians and most of the leaders of the ‘freedom movement’.

There is always a grain of truth in populist Right propaganda. The question of Treaty, seen by grassroots black activists as a necessary precondition to self-determination, is problematic. Treaties now exist in several states but few voters are aware of them and they were not brought about through public consultation. Consider the recently introduced law in WA, mandating landowners of any property larger than a house block to consult with, at their own expense, aboriginal cultural heritage inspectors before building any new, or altering existing, infrastructure on their land. It was such a disaster the government of that state scrapped it after mere weeks.[25]  

When a response and fightback was desperately needed to Covid repression, the entire spectrum of the ‘Left’ not only applauded the erosion of basic rights but, in some cases, helped implement the state and corporate agenda. This political merger of the so-called Left and the state created a vacuum that was quickly filled by already-organised right-wing forces.[26] The problem now facing the faux Left as represented by the incumbent government is that the few populist Right MPs who sit in Australian parliaments have gained a huge audience of disaffected people, including many workers, who rightly do not trust government and are looking for leadership. They deeply distrust the ‘Left’ of all stripes for abandoning them, and then policing Covid authoritarianism.

Most, however, are not motivated by racism. They are worried that even more small farmers will be driven from the land; access to natural recreational places will be limited; water may be taxed etc. There are no respectful or convincing reassurances from the Yes camp that their fears are misplaced. Rather, they are dismissed as stupid racists by smug elites they can’t relate to. Instead of waging a determined battle for improved infrastructure and to halt the fall in living standards, the current leadership of the trade union movement is allowing inflation to far outstrip wages. This does nothing to relieve the insecurity of ordinary people in an uncertain world of financial insecurity and extreme censorship of their concerns. My warnings in 2020 to the leadership of the largest socialist group in Australia of the likelihood of this scenario playing out fell on deaf ears.[27][28] In suppressing the fight against Covid mandates, the state and its false-Left allies have created a vast amorphous movement that is finding political expression through opposition to the Voice.

Then there are the black nationalists, who rightly claim the Voice will not deliver concrete gains but have a classless approach to the question of black liberation.[29][30][31] The right-wing forces of the official No campaign, who have only ever stood in the way of justice, are aware that younger voters and liberal-left supporters of genuine progress will doubt the Voice if prominent grassroots black voices oppose it. The mainstream No campaign has thus cynically co-opted black nationalist opposition and amplified it through marketing strategies that specifically target different demographics with different messaging.[32] The Right may well indeed pull off a victory by exposing the Voice as the empty gesture that it is, and by opportunistically galvanising vast anti-woke sentiment exacerbated by the mandates, lies and virtue signalling of Covid fanaticism.

Furthermore, a successful No vote will embolden the populist and hard Right in Australia, and is likely to demoralise and further fracture the struggle for justice for First Nations peoples. The increasingly polarised atmosphere must be blamed on both the Right (initiators of the Culture Wars) and the so-called Left, who have largely abandoned class struggle for the far less challenging arena of identity politics.

The Real Left Australia position

Much more effective than to advocate for a principled No vote would be for the real Left to call for a boycott of the referendum itself. This would split the vote into three camps: the obsequious Yes crowd, the cynical right wing No, and a genuine expression of support for real action on Aboriginal oppression. A serious boycott campaign is needed in order for people to be confident to break the law, in defiance of compulsory voting laws in Australia. Alternatively, an informal[33] voting block would likewise indicate support for continued grassroots struggle, regardless of the formal outcome of the referendum. In the context of the Voice, this points the way forward.  

Real Left Australia is an informal group for people with genuine left principles that embrace support for workers’ rights, anti-authoritarianism and anti-censorship. We don’t agree with each other on everything, but in the current composition, we advocate for:

A boycott of the Voice referendum.

Proper infrastructure funding and jobs for all in remote and regional communities.

Complete payment of stolen wages and compensation to the Stolen Generations.

Funded language and cultural programs.

Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Grassroots decision-making processes and implementation of the programs addressing the systemic disadvantage of First Nations people.

All of the above can be funded by a modest increase in corporate taxes and redirection of military spending.

We do not support a Treaty. It is not possible to satisfy Aboriginal aspirations for full self-determination and autonomy within capitalist Australia. A classless economic and social system cannot be overlaid onto the current class system, one that’s based on the control of land and workplaces by unelected billionaires. Nor can a transfer of wealth from members of the existing ruling class to an aspiring black ruling class be justified.[34] Today, most First Nations people live and work in cities and towns[35] and are dispersed throughout the working class. The struggle to overcome Aboriginal oppression is bound up with the wider working-class struggle against capitalism and for full democratic rights for all working people, of all colours and backgrounds.


[3]  these plains quickly degraded through sheep and cattle pasturing on a fragile shallow topsoil not yet adapted to hoofed herbivores.

[4][5] Australia’s largest sheep station is ⅙ the size of England. The largest cattle station, at 5 times this size, is the largest in the world.

[6] their sentiments expressed in this protest song bugger me, Gurindji…







[13] ibid


[15] Labor has come to the rescue of the nation’s extraction corporations many times by implementing legislation to curtail the gains of the Aboriginal rights movements, from Wik to the Northern Territory Intervention to the Indue card.


[17] While both major parties spread lies and suppressed alternative expert opinion on Covid-19, and despite the Liberal Party being in power federally, the predominantly state Labor governments were the most draconian.

[18] Support has declined from 67% to 51% to 44% in the past 11 months, including amongst Aboriginal people, although still higher than non


[20] Prominent Aboriginal activist in Western Australia who has vocally called for a no vote, describing the Voice as ‘tokenistic’ and ‘distraction politics’, has recently come out for Yes.




[24] Warren Mundine, along with other former Labor heavyweights, is director of a lucrative legal firm recovering stolen wages and winning compensating stolen generations


[26] Much more influential since the government’s ‘pandemic’ response include forces such as Liberals who don’t always toe the corporate line like Alex Antic, Gerard Rennick and others; the Libertarian Party; One Nation Party – all of whom work tirelessly work to expose vaccine injuries, excess deaths and the medical castration of minors in the name of ‘gender affirmation’. Also influential is a large number of ‘freedom’ influencers. The fraudulent organised pseudo-legal movement, an anti-social ideology against the payment of fines and taxes, brilliantly and painstakingly exposed and debunked by Robert Sudy, is also now enormously more influential than before Covid..


[28] Indeed, I have no doubt the polarised atmosphere in Australian society the false Left helped create is suiting this particular group very well as they focus their activity on campaigning against a mostly imaginary far right. They operate through these front groups:,

[29] a prominent leader of which is former Greens member, Senator Lidia Thorpe

[30] grassroots but gaining in local prominence, especially in Queensland and Victoria of the past 10 years

[31] interview with legend, Gary Foley, in which he outlines a classic black nationalist proposed solution


[33] Improperly completed ballot papers are rendered invalid but still counted, as ‘informal’ votes, most of which are considered intentional by electoral analysts. Voters may even, for example, scrawl a political message across the ballot paper.

[34] Much of the most contested land in Australia is now in remote areas, sites of huge extractive mineral wealth.


7 thoughts on “The Competing Voices on the Voice

  1. Thanks Lorraine for this explainer on the Voice issue.

    You acknowledge that, on the face of it, the Voice proposal seems innocuous. The main argument against the Yes vote in this piece seems to be that the Voice amounts to a tokenistic measure that will, in practice, have no power to address systemic inequality. It therefore seems that the worst one can say about the Yes vote is that it doesn’t go far enough. At best, it looks like a step in the right direction if you take the pragmatic view that politics is more often than not a game of foot-in-the-door and making gains when possible, however small.

    Josie Douglas, an Aboriginal Wardaman woman, and director of the Central Land Council, states in this Sydney Morning Herald piece that there is no such thing as a progressive No vote:

    She also says that, “History won’t distinguish between a progressive No or a hard, conservative No…Voting No is voting for the status quo.” If a Yes vote is the lesser of the two evils – there doesn’t seem to be anything truly disadvantageous or regressive in a Yes – then how would Real Left Australia respond to her?

    The Sydney Morning Herald piece states that “The Aboriginal Advancement League, the oldest continuing Aboriginal organisation in Australia, has become the latest Aboriginal community body to back the Yes campaign”. That makes me curious about where Aboriginals themselves stand on this. Notwithstanding the cynical coopting of black nationalist opposition by the No camp, does a majority of Aborigines want a Yes vote? If so, how does one justify voting against the wishes of the very people one purports to support, and effectively backing the No camp which is dominated by the reactionary and populist Right? As you say in your piece here on RL, “a successful No vote will embolden the populist and hard Right in Australia, and is likely to demoralise and further fracture the struggle for justice for First Nations peoples”.

    On the question of a boycott, surely that is as good for the No camp as a No vote? You say you don’t support a Treaty. The Sydney Morning Herald claims that some figures on the left advocate a No vote on the grounds that other measures, such as a treaty, should come first. I have no idea what role Treaty plays in the decision-making on this vote. Is there an ‘easy’ way to understand this aspect of the debate? If the Voice is not the answer and nor is Treaty, then how does one galvanise the political will to achieve all the good things you list at the end of the piece, especially given that this political will has been absent to date? It’s an admirable wish list but, if the Voice cannot deliver it, then what can?

  2. Thank you Rusere for your questions and such detailed interest in a big issue in our country!

    Yes, we are arguing that the Voice is tokenistic and has no power to make any difference for First Nations people here. Therefore, it wouldn’t make sense to conclude, as you suggest we do: “…that the worst one can say about the Yes vote is that it doesn’t go far enough.” We believe the worst the Voice can do is to fob off legitimate demands for solutions for Aboriginal inequality, and relegate more grassroots Aboriginal voices further to the fringes.

    We see a victory for the Yes vote as a victory for more of the same (except for a further bloating of the black middle class elite). More of nothing is not a “foot-in-the-door.” There are already feet in various doors. There have been numerous government programs and bodies charged with addressing the problems of higher poverty, worse health etc. and they are widely, even officially, recognised as not having achieved anything at all. First Nations people are justifiably tired of waiting through this last round of negotiations at the bureaucratic and NGO level, spanning the ‘reconciliation’ phase of the past 20 or so years. Worse, they still get blamed for their relatively worse off lives via racist commentary from the political Right, conservative Aborigines themselves, and those with populist Right politics of resentment and envy of grossly exaggerated diversity programs and schemes.

    Imagine this scenario if you will: 235 years after the Covid ‘pandemic’, amid widespread mainstream acknowledgement of the harms of lockdowns and vaccines, and numerous ineffectual programs ostensibly aimed at redressing the injuries, deaths etc. had come and gone, someone suggests that surely a “foot-in-the-door” is better than nothing, when it is plain as day that the measure would have no power to enforce practical outcomes, and the most radical of the victims were against it. It’s not the same of course, but this is an analogy that might offer you a timeline and some context.

    The Central Land Council is a body that disperses royalties received by traditional land ‘owners’ from the proceeds of mining activity. This is not a radical group in any sense, and the quote you mention is from a newspaper much like the Guardian. Anyway, she makes a case for our position: “History won’t distinguish between a progressive No or a hard, conservative No” – correct, hence the need for a boycott.

    As for the Aboriginal Advancement League, I’m not familiar with them but, if they have only just come onboard with the Yes camp, they clearly have reservations, given the debate about the Voice has been ongoing for over a year.

    To be crystal clear, we do not believe we are “effectively backing the No camp”. A boycott (probably too late for effectively campaigning for that with our small numbers) or informal voting bloc (which is tallied and noted) is unlikely to threaten the success of the referendum. On the contrary, given that only valid votes matter, boycotted or informal votes would boost the Yes vote proportion and therefore the success of Yes. But it would represent an important political bloc, distinguishable from the Right and the racists, yet enabling the expression of a progressive rejection of the Voice in its current form.

    In terms of what First Nations people themselves want, that is undetermined, although in footnote 18 I linked to an article with attempts to quantify it. Nevertheless, even if a majority of Aboriginal people are in favour of the Voice, this doesn’t automatically guarantee our support. We believe only left-wing solutions can be effective, therefore we give unconditional but critical support to oppressed groups, that is, we join the struggle for justice but reserve our right to disagree on tactics.

    I don’t think there’s an easy way to understand treaty because it means different things to different people and has never been the subject of widespread discussion in Australia, other than around a popular song of 1991. If people had to guess, they would probably say it’s about land rights, and maybe reparations. For us at Real Left Australia, we believe a wide ranging treaty could only be achieved alongside a complete reorganisation of society.

    In terms of galvanising the political will to implement our practical demands to achieve concrete improvements in all disadvantaged Aboriginal lives, there would need to be a resurgence of a labour movement that galvanises widespread solidarity and uses its industrial power to force government action. At record low union density levels, and union leaderships whose main focus is on returning Labor governments and keeping them in power, for very meagre rewards to the working class, not to mention the legacy of smug wokeness and the Covid betrayal which has increased the appeal of the Right and reduced sentiments of basic solidarity from the lower middle class, we have a long way to go.

  3. Belated thanks for a fascinating and excellent article – and also for the follow-up exchange between yourself and Rusere.

    Living in the UK, and being busy fighting / resisting on several fronts, I didn’t have the ‘bandwidth’ to understand the issues and debate about The Voice Referendum at the time; though I was, of course, aware of its significance, and note that the ensuing result appears to have been a resounding ‘No.’

    If you have time, are you able to reflect on that outcome, and to let us know how you interpret it – from the point of view of the Australian people as a whole, and that of the ‘Real Left’ in Australia?

    PS If you have already done something like that in another article, please simply point me towards it. Thanks.

    1. Hi Steve, you’re most welcome! In the interests of the desperate need for an emergence of a global ‘real left’, I’m glad to do my part.

      The Voice referendum was defeated, as was expected, with 60.6% of the population voting against it in the end. There hasn’t been much in terms of developments since. The elite Aboriginal leaders of the the Voice push have been publicly quiet. Processes to implement ‘treaty,’ however, have proceeded unhindered in the background at the state level, although these are at very early stages. Treaty has not been taken to the wider public, and the authorities will never willingly take it to them, although the Right may push it to the fore in future.

      The Liberal Party (our Tories) and their National Party coalition partners, and the populist freedom Right, continue to try to make gains through race-based politics, but do not gain much traction, given most working class people are focussed on the cost of living and housing crises, and because the Labor government continues to mete out financial support to workers and the poor, which comprises the working poor and social security recipients. These financial concessions are fairly meagre but they do make a difference and are successfully buying relative social peace for the time being.

      The issues the Right hone in on are:

      – immigration, which is at very high levels in Australia, but everyone knows there is a severe shortage of workers since the pandemic, especially urgently needed in construction to address the housing crisis, and also in teaching, ‘health’ and aged care (unfortunately most workers don’t directly blame pandemic policies for this disruption in labour supply).

      – social chaos, domestic violence and crime in desperately poor remote Aboriginal communities

      – African crime rates, which are higher than for non-Africans. Immigrant crime rates are usually lower than average but that never stopped the Right before anyway.

      – the recent arrival of a few dozen refugees by boat (Australia has extremely draconian border policies on ‘illegal’ refugees). As well as the release of 149 ex-con non-citizens who can’t be deported for whatever reason, and who the Supreme Court recently ruled cannot be held indefinitely in detention. They did their time for their crimes yet both sides of the aisle would have them locked up indefinitely. Welcome to Australian immigration politics!

      The main issues in Australian politics atm are:

      – the cost of living crisis and a severe housing shortage which cannot be turned around, on capitalist terms, in the near and medium terms, given the pandemic-created high cost of materials, worker shortage and decades of housing infrastructure and policy neglect by government on both sides.

      – to a lesser extent Israel’s ramped up genocide in Gaza. Australia is much like Britain in being a staunch supporter of Israel and the US-led Western alliance, and Zionist Jewish Australians are overrepresented in the establishment and political elite. Thus there is longstanding anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism as elsewhere in the West. The government is under a lot of pressure to support Israel diplomatically via fake oppostion to ‘anti-Semitism’ but is also under pressure from large Arab and Muslim communities in some constituencies, as well as younger peoples’ growing revulsion towards the slaughter. (note that Labor in Australia is more uniformly rightwing and disciplined that UK Labour)

      So, First Nations people are near the bottom of the attention pile once again. Had the Voice succeeded I believe we would have had a bit more waffling in Parliament, maybe some industry-friendly policies, and not much else.

      By the way, here is my website for History with a Why, A People’s History of the World, if you’re interested (still slightly under construction):
      Soon to be

    2. PS it was the High Court of Australia where the decision was made on the indefinite detention. I always forget which is which!

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