There should be NO confusion on what we are voting on with the forthcoming referendum.
The only confusion is being caused by the misinformation and false claims made by those who are either unthinking, that is unable to think or unwilling to think, or are those that have hidden agenda, particularly political.
This is NOT a communist plot, as some claim! It is not some kind of plot to take away the rights of Australians whose rights are already enshrined in our Constitution.
What it is, is an attempt to correct many decades of injustice and to give Indigenous First Australians a say in their future.
This is NOT complicated, it is not complex, it is actually quite simple and straight-forward.
The question that will be put to voters is whether to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
The Parliament of Australia has agreed to propose adding a new chapter, Chapter IX-Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to the Constitution. The chapter would include a new section 129, which would be as follows:
129 ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER VOICE IN RECOGNITION OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES AS THE FIRST PEOPLES OF AUSTRALIA.
- there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;Torres Strait Islanders
- 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;
- 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.
Either you believe in equality and the right for First Australians to have a say in their future or, you continue to support the same heinous old policies that fundamentally underpinned the old “white Australia” policy that was the shame of this country.
Should the NO vote get up, it will put formal recognition of Indigenous Australians back a decade or more. It will put the chance for our First Australians to have a formal direct say in their future back also, by a decade or more.
It will, to the rest of the world, send a strong message that maybe, the “White Australia policy”, isn’t quite dead.
Rob Greaves is the past Senior Editor of the Toorak Times and is now an occasional contributor