Australia

Indigenous Voices discussion recalls controversy before I made national apology

Decision-making would be vastly improved with a voice as an authoritative representative body informing Canberra about the realities on the ground in local communities. Better outcomes for communities and the best value for all taxpayers, as the Prime Minister says Canberra’s handful of hardworking Aboriginal MPs cannot represent such diversity. It’s unfair to expect that from them.

Second, they ask for “more detail”. Before the apology, I faced weeks of demands to release the full wording along with confidential policy advice. Many wanted materials that could convey falsehoods for political effect – standard procedure in Tory politics.

Critics who now demand the government elaborate on how the voice works ignore the fact that this is not what Labor is dictating because of the government’s conservative approach. It will be up to the next Congress to design and refine how Voice makes its recommendations through a process that transcends divisions. And they will be informed by a massive 269-page report produced under that notorious radical, Scott Morrison. A more prescriptive referendum is exactly the kind of radical reform that conservatives should oppose.

Third, it creates fear that the change will not work or even be dangerous. For example, the week before the apology, Peter Dutton said it could cost taxpayers billions in damages, even though the allegations were debunked by John Howard’s own Attorney General. It was a classic Dutton, designed solely to create anxiety and terror.

Abbott’s dystopian vision of a three-chamber parliament, activist judges overthrowing it, and lawyers lined up in their own pockets is equally fantastic. The Albanian language couldn’t be clearer: the voice is “not a third house, not a rolling veto, not a blank check”. Like Dutton, Abbott misleads the public for political ends ing.

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Fourth, they argue that it will be “fragmentational.” Critics said an apology would tear the country apart because non-Indigenous Australians, who take pride in their ancestors’ achievements, would not acknowledge that their ancestors could have been wrong. united rather than divide Australians. No matter where we came from, it was a cathartic occasion for all of us.

The arc of history actually bends slowly, as we’ve described. Unfortunately for Dutton and Abbott, however, Australians are basically decent, so it will continue to bend.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is co-chair of the National Apology Foundation.

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Indigenous Voices discussion recalls controversy before I made national apology

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