- by Vinnie Molina – CPA National President
- The Guardian
- Issue #2072
On 14th October the Australian electorate will decide whether to amend the Constitution for recognition of Indigenous Australians and a Voice to Parliament for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Postal ballots are now open, and voting is compulsory. Many young people have registered to vote for the first time. That gives me hope that the vote of young people in this historical event could carry the day for the YES vote and Indigenous Australians.
It has been sad to see in the last few weeks the lies, misinformation, disinformation, and propagation of fear by some in the No campaign in order to gain support for their backward position in the upcoming referendum.
Many of the comments and actions show the type of society we live in. Some of those comments are full of hate, racism, and ignorance. In particular, attacks on social media have shown strong anti-communist feelings being used as propaganda to divide and attack the YES campaign.
How will history judge us? Those voting No in the referendum will be voting for the status quo. The day after the referendum, if the Voice is defeated, Indigenous people will remain in the current situation of dispossession, substandard and overcrowded housing, and lack of basic services that other Australians enjoy. It will be a setback in the long struggle for change, but that struggle will continue.
Those voting YES in the referendum will be voting for an opportunity to change the status quo, and on the day after the referendum, if successful, indigenous people will continue the struggle for a voice that will develop into a vehicle to improve their current situation.
The CPA made a historical decision to support and campaign for a YES vote back in January 2023. We knew the campaign would be hard and difficult. It was not helped by the announcement of the referendum coming before Invasion Day – a day of pain for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Many people, ourselves included, felt the pain of the failed past and the lack of trust that a voice might deliver. Analysing the situation, we looked at the day after a possible NO victory and decided the status quo was a no go that could not be allowed to continue. We know the voice will not deliver all the change needed but we see it as a space opening with potential for change in the future.
With this as our focus, we took up the task of convincing our ranks of the just decision made by the Central Committee. We believe that to a great extent Party members fully endorsed and actively campaigned for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s Voice to Parliament.
The Party prepared a number of materials that included thousands of leaflets, banners and badges in support of the YES campaign. Comrades across the country made a visible contribution for the YES vote.
It is not a surprise that leaders of the No campaign used the Communist Party of Australia on social media and their news channels to attack and try to divide the YES campaign.
The reality is that communists are people who live and share the same difficulties as other working-class people who stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Communists work, study, and live on stolen lands and therefore campaign for that recognition and want to see justice for Indigenous people and the closing of the gap.
This is a good opportunity to remind readers that there are only two camps or choices on 14th October: YES or NO. An informal vote is a vote for the status quo. Vote YES for a potentially better future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. If you are still in the camp of those who don’t know, to get informed visit: cpa.org.au/yes-to-the-voice-to-parliament or visit the YES Campaign website at www.yes23.com.au.
In conclusion I would like to ask readers to consider that injustice is felt and as Che Guevara once said “if you tremble with indignation at every injustice then, you are comrade of mine.”