The left – from mild to far left – have an ideology to propagate. The ideology is central. Propositions that are contrary to the Marxist vision of 99% of the left are simply rejected. This causes anxiety or embarrassment among some when they appear to be defying reason or plain observation, but little concern for most. They simply skip over the blaring problems when applying their ideological vision to the major issues of our time. Louise Milligan is a good example of this blissful evasion as Professor Gans pointed out recently.
Other common ways for the leftist mind to deal with objections rational people raise are to distort, misrepresent or create a myth. In the issue of the day – the Voice – mythmaking is running out of control. Gerard Henderson in an article in today’s Australian brings up a favourite. In this case, he was responding to a claim made by ABC journalist Dan Bourchier about the 1967 referendum. Here are the relevant paragraphs.
‘However, my interest was sparked as Bourchier wound up the segment [on the Drum]. He stated that Australians “don’t like changing the Constitution” and added “there have been 44 attempts, only eight successful”. Correct. And added: “Coincidentally, the most successful (referendum was) in ’67 to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Australian citizens.”
‘This is wrong – and is one of the many myths of Australian history. Two referendum proposals were put to Australian electors by the Holt Coalition government in May 1967.
‘The first concerned the nexus between the number of parliamentarians in the House of Representatives compared with the Senate …
‘The second proposal sought to give the commonwealth parliament power to make laws with respect to Aboriginal people wherever they lived in Australia. And also to make it possible to include Aboriginal people in the national census. This was a great success, with 91 per cent of Australians voting “yes” across the nation and obtaining majority support in all states …
‘The 1967 referendum had nothing to do with citizenship. All Indigenous Australians were classified as citizens – along with all other Australians – by no later than 1948 when Australian citizenship was introduced. Formerly, Australians were classified as British subjects.
‘In 1962, commonwealth legislation provided that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders could vote in federal elections. Before that, Indigenous Australians who had voting rights in some states were also able to vote at the federal level but their number was limited. Both changes were in place before the 1967 referendum …’
I suppose I could not blame Bouchier in one way. He was repeating a long propagated myth. I remember the 1967 referendum well. I was present at one of Charles Perkins’ rallies. (I was twenty-one.) The impression I had from Perkins’ fiery performance was that for Australia Aboriginal people were invisible. They were of no account. They weren’t even citizens. Of course, I voted ‘yes’.
If one wants to have an idea of the body of myths that Aboriginal activists are spreading, I refer you to Keith Windschuttle’s comprehensive The Break-Up of Australia: The Real agenda behind Aboriginal Recognition.