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'The Voice' may end up uniting us after a

By Graham Young - posted Friday, 13 October 2023

It might sound a strange thing to say, but it could be that the constitutional referendum that would divide us may actually bring us together and give new hope to Aboriginal Australians.

In October 2022, The Voice proposal looked unassailable with somewhere around 65 percent popular support.

An average of polls reveal support for a constitutional change stands at somewhere around 42 percent, although it may be as low as 34 percent.


It's in the interests of all Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, for the referendum to go down by the largest margin possible. That way, the result will not only be clear, but it will be clearly the view of most of the country.

Indigenous politics has been bedevilled by the attitude that Aboriginal Australians are somehow different from other Australians. Even the High Court thinks (Love and Thoms v. Commonwealth) that they somehow have a different nature which arises from their "spiritual connection" to the earth.

This type of attitude leads to some Indigenous communities living in a sort of limbo, expected to maintain a stoneage-type existence while enjoying the privileges of modern life, and that they will be this way forever.

It's a museum version of indigeneity, where the past is available for other Australians to visit on package tours, buy some nicknacks, and return to the comfortable present in the rest of Australia-and it is simply demeaning.

If the referendum goes down decisively it will be a signal to Aborigines that they need to do something about their current leadership who have brought them to this.

It will also be a signal to the federal government that Australians, including many Aboriginal Australians, are not interested in one group, defined by racial descent, being a protected species.


But I think it goes much further than that.

Plenty to learn about young, progressive voters

Initial polling showed that the better educated and younger you are, the more likely you were to favour the referendum, and that if you are female, you are more likely to be a supporter than if you are male. According to the latest Newspoll (one of Australia's most accurate pollsters), there are now more No than Yes votes in every demographic.

That is simply stunning, particularly compared to recent election results where centre-left Labor and the left-wing Greens have held huge majorities over the votes of women, the university-educated, and the young.

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A slightly edited version of this article appeared in the Epoch Times.

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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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