The Voice By Bailey Compton 13 Oct 2023

Can we move forward?  Reflections on a divided nation.

It is now Black Friday, and tomorrow Australia will vote. It is a referendum that requires us to say “yes” or “no”. It should be simple, however many have complicated the question with emotion and fake news. Unfortunately, it has divided this country, so much that it may offer no path to reconciliation.

I have been requested to explain what people are voting for. It is simple. If you are voting yes, you will be consenting to the following:

  • The Constitution being altered to acknowledge First Nations People;
  • To amend the Constitution to create an Aboriginal Voice to advise Parliament on issues that relate to First Nations People; and
  • To give the Parliament power to determine who may serve on the Voice, identifying the powers for the Voice and its functions.

I would have preferred the Referendum to ask two questions: The first being 1 and the second combining 2 and 3. This hasn’t been done and my opposition is irrelevant.

The Referendum is asking Australia to recognise First Nations People by creating a Voice and trusting the politicians to work out who is on the Voice, what their functions are and what powers it possesses.

A couple of points to remember:

  • Question 3 widens the power of the Parliament. If passed, the Voice can be given greater powers then just advising on First Nation issues.
  • Once in the constitution, it cannot be removed without this process again.
  • Although we hope the Voice will remedy current problems, it’s difficult to understand how.  For clarity’s sake, it’s important to note our current budget for Indigenous people totals over $4 Billion. Yet it’s not getting to where it needs to be. How the Voice will change this situation is unclear.

We are divided like the vote to me. We pray that when we rise on Sunday, we adopt our Australian approach by accepting the vote of the People. I fear that, what ever the result, many will feel disenfranchised.

We are Australians. The second nation to give universal suffrage. Let’s vote and accept that others disagree.

Good luck Australia!