The Guardian • Issue #2048


Voice to Parliament: the progressive YES

Voice to Parliament: the progressive YES

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2048

You’re going to hear a lot of negative things about the Voice to Parliament in the months between now, and when the referendum is held sometime after September this year. The Liberal/National party Coalition has trotted out a mixture of blatant and inaccurate scaremongering (the Voice will usurp Parliament! The Voice will paralyse Australia with High Court challenges!). The Liberals have also mounted a very transparent pretence that they want something better than the Voice, something really good for Aboriginal people, but which the Liberals somehow didn’t get around to doing during almost a decade in power.

There are others who are sceptical of the Voice because they genuinely want real progress for Aboriginal people, but have seen many government policies come and go, initiatives which have been paternalistic and opportunistic. The scepticism is understandable after this lived experience. Others want other things first, such as Makaratta, or Truth Telling, as recommended by the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and a Treaty. Later this year, our choice will be between the Voice to Parliament and how things are now.

The Communist Party of Australia strongly supports voting Yes to the Voice. Here are some positive reasons why you should vote Yes and encourage your friends and fellow workers to vote Yes too.

The first and principal reason is momentum for change. When the Voice to Parliament is established, we will still need to fight for justice for Aboriginal people. We will be fighting knowing that big changes are possible. Australia does not change its constitution lightly. With this change behind us, we will know that “better things are possible” is more than just a slogan. Of course, there will be a struggle. It will be a struggle with the wind behind it, and with a higher public profile in an Indigenous Voice.

The second reason is that when the Voice is established in the Australian Constitution, the government will have to adhere to it. When the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people are something the government would rather overlook, a way of expressing those needs will be in the constitution. The Voice will be something government cannot legislate out of existence. This almost certainly explains why the Liberal and National Party Coalition hates the idea of the Voice so much.

Does this mean that it will all be smooth sailing once the Yes vote gets up? Of course it doesn’t. The CPA is not starry-eyed about Australian governments. Our bourgeois parliament has a history of passing laws in the interests of big donors, and an interest in putting big capital ahead of the real owners of this country. As the CPA’s statement in support of the Yes vote says, we know that: “ … Land Rights, real recognition, prosperity, and control over the affairs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will not be gifted or bestowed on them by Australia’s dominant capitalist class. Change only happens by consistent and ongoing campaigning, struggle, and the solidarity with the people.”

The CPA’s Central Committee goes on to say that the Voice will be “a platform to speak out, challenge, rally campaigns and build solidarity in the community.”

The CPA calls for a Yes vote on the Voice to Parliament, and urges members and supporters to encourage others to vote Yes. The Voice getting up will give momentum to struggles that will advance the interests of Indigenous Australians. The Voice will be a platform for campaigns.

Show solidarity with first Australians and support the Voice to the utmost!

(The CPA Central Committee statement on the Voice.)

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