Why conservatives shouldn’t support an Indigenous Voice to Parliament
Peter O’Brien, Spectator Australia, 10 August 2021
Yesterday, Flat White ran a piece by Senator Andrew Bragg explaining why conservatives should support the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Let me now offer my thoughts as to why conservatives should shun this idea.
There are two reasons the Voice is not a good idea. Firstly, claims that it will be advisory only and that it will not become a third chamber of Parliament are specious at best. And secondly, it will not work.
Let me begin with the first point. Senator Bragg cites a number of examples where government has a formal mechanism to receive advice – the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Joint Standing Committees on Corporations and Intelligence and Security. Notice anything about these bodies? That’s right. They are embedded within the parliament. There are, of course, many external bodies that proffer advice to government – industry associations and so on – that is not binding, but they do not attract the wide public support, and therefore political attention, that Aboriginal affairs does. The advice of these organizations is considered by governments but since they are essentially self-interested, albeit enlightened, their advice can safely be ignored by government if it adversely impacts other considerations.
That will not be the case with the Voice.