by Matt Jeffrey
I had thought it strange, that the Leader of our Country would plunge to radio shock-jock ‘self-anointed common-man’ territory, or their cheap imitators a la the likes of Ben Fordham, to have them re-frame what the functions of the First People’s Voice to Parliament would be.
I had thought it stranger, that the Minister of the Crown for Indigenous Affairs would follow the Leaders suit on ceding determinative power of the Voice’s design, remit, or philosophy to these very same jocks.
Were we not meant to decide its functions, scopes, and power after the principle was won and assented to by the People?
Not only are these politics dangerous because we ingest the conservative elites’ framing once again, they are dangerous because the real strength of The Voice primarily rests in it remaining of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design. Remaining in our self-determinative hands.
By going to the dens of the rubbishers before the blooming mechanism is even assented to, and inhaling what is acceptable for them, … well, many things occur.
The conservative elites who have, without our consent, pillaged all of our sweat, lands, water, and biosphere to the point of imminent food-web and mental-stress collapse, get a framing of the Voice more amenable to their financial wants. Their representatives in the Country and Liberal Parties harvest with their donors manufactured lies, more manufactured fervour of ‘NO’.
And the progressive radicals? Well, they ingest a sense that one must be the most progressive radical for also joining in the fervour of ‘NO’. Do they look to the thousands of radical First Nations people in favour of the construction of this communicative forum — The Voice? No. At best they may quietly vote ‘Yes’, and at worst will campaign heavily ‘NO’.
Therefore both our radicalism in Yes appears lessened the more we blindly accept capitulations, and the well of energy within would-be comrades for the fight is sapped, our hopes for self-determination in The Voice’s functions dashing away.
And what qualifies a ‘Ben Fordham’ to sledgehammer so?
Nothing but the foolish who think him so.
The Voice to Parliament is the springboard and foundational mechanism from which a truly Independent Australia can begin to emerge. Civilisations are meeting here. Will we allow First People’s sovereignty a fuller expression? Will we journey Voice, Treaty, and Truth?
It has the unerring support of the majority of First Nations Peoples and the First Nations.
It does not exist in a vacuum.
Its potential to provide a forum for more input into laws and more equal treaty-making is immense.
Don’t go mentioning past treaties, though, like Waitangi. It is mindsets past. Rather, imagine what could be with The Voice in play!
We must can capitulations that impede First Nations’ rights to self-determination, and call them out!
We must bring whatever adjacent radicalisms there are inside the tent of an exuberant ‘Yes’, or attempt to do so.
That is if we wish to have a shot at a healthy society and environment at all.
And to all those worried about Sovereignty, sovereignty cannot be ceded, full stop.
We are Here.
We must fight like Hell these next few weeks to let the Ancient Land Speak. With fire in our bellies.
Our Ancient polities have given the speck of dust that is this colonial polity and project the bones with which to wheeze its ephemera. We guide you the rivers, the foodspots, the hunting ones, the ways to grow surplus food with this land, and we guide in how to burn to stem unstoppable burns.
Yet our demos, along with the majority of the multicultural working class, have been locked out of the constitution of our country. At present, its heart is wickedly cold and wickedly imperial.
The communicative power of the Voice alone opens up the opportunity for the people to hear different conceptions of governance, society, and economy already existing. And for Treaties, well, they rarely get updated, but the Voice may live centuries to come and may be altered for more radical transformative power in the futures we fight for.
It is my firm belief that all humans on our continent and shared isles, need the First Peoples to have an organ, in ours the last settler-state to constrict and extract from an entire continent; this, to platform our sovereignty and to fashion livable shared pathways forward.
We were here before the palaces of parliament. And we will be here after.
The Uluru Statement: From the Heart is simply hands outstretched in this growingly iniquitous and unjust interregnum period. Statecraft can mean more than the poisoned chalice of liberalism. It has here, for millennia.
The 2022 State of the Environment report is an insult to thousands of years of human custodianship.
Why would any of us, save for the shareholders of BHP and oligarchs be scared to let the Land truly speak?
Can the capitulations! Get out there and fan continued structural reconciliations. And imagine the most radically transformative functions for The Voice — plan for that potential eventuality now.
The war for this place is yet to end. The war for its soul is just beginning.
About the author
A proud Wadi Wadi man, Matt is a Labor member, union organiser, writer, and is re-training to become a Geography Teacher. His first book, The Imperial Government, is launching on the 11th of October.