‘I confirm that if the VOICE referendum is successful, a resolution will be passed in Parliament requiring every Member of the House of Representatives to hold at least one public meeting in their Electorate to review and comment on the proposed legislation to establish VOICE and convey the views of those meetings to Parliament before it votes on the matter.’
I am voting YES to VOICE.
More importantly, after the Referendum is successful, I intend to campaign aggressively and persistently to ensure that Voice does not ever have power to do anything other than advise our Parliament and is denied access to the Courts of Australia for any endeavour it may subsequently make to achieve an upgrade to its advisory role.
If Albo makes this commitment to Parliament, I am of the view that he will turn the tide of voters who are currently moving into the NO camp with steadily increasing numbers..
To be certain it does win, the YES campaign must stop declaring publicly that their opponents are racist, stupid and irresponsible. Right now, they alienate undecided voters every day.
The blunt truth is that YES is running the most amateur campaign of insults I have ever witnessed in my life of 9 decades, thereby lowering themselves to the same dark depths of fear and lies to which the NO campaign has woefully descended.
May I beg the current leaders of both the YES and NO campaigns to please resign, shut up and allow sensible people to debate the crucial issues of this vital Referendum which simply corrects an omission that occurred in 1901 when Australia became a nation and failed to acknowledge our indigenous heritage in our Constitution.
With a commitment to correcting a mistake of history.
If current circumstances prevail, NO will win the Voice Referendum decisively, and this will be a tragedy for Australia.
As a YES voter & YES advocate who campaigns every day for YES to VOICE, I can assure you with certainty that a NO victory will occur for one reason only.
VOTERS DO NOT TRUST POLITICIANS.
Let me give you a factual example of what will happen if the debate on the Voice Referendum continues its current course, especially given the fact that only 18% of Australian referendums have ever produced a YES vote and none have won with the Opposition arguing the NO case.
Back in 1967, I went to my local polling station to vote in 2 referendums on the same day. One enabled indigenous people to have basic democratic rights that were long overdue. The other tried to alter the Constitution to have more electorates created in the House of Representatives without increasing the size of the Senate.
I voted YES to both. 90% of Australians voted YES to indigenous rights but 60% voted NO to having more MP’s in Parliament.
The ‘More MP’s’ referendum was strongly backed by ALP Liberals Nationals in a rare act of unity. The sole opponent was the small Democratic Labor Party led by Senator Vince Gair who had previously been sacked as Premier of Queensland during the great Labor Split and was yearning to take his revenge on everyone for that humiliation.
Gair lacked substantial funding so he campaigned aggressively on one simple slogan –
NO MORE POLITICIANS
and said it over and over again in every speech he made & every media release he issued.
He crushed the well financed campaigns of the three major parties who wanted to create more MP’s.
Right now in 2023, most Australian voters distrust and disrespect politicians far more than was the case in 1967 and they see Voice as creating another lot of politicians who will generate more distrust.
Much more significantly they reckon that, after the Referendum, politicians will fail to deliver on their promise that Voice will have no power to legislate, given that Clause 3 of the Referendum wording clearly gives Parliament the right to determine the powers of Voice. So it is that a majority will vote NO in huge distrust of politicians unless Parliament takes urgent action to fix this significant roadblock.
A ‘YES’ LOSS CAN BE CHANGED TO A LANDSLIDE VICTORY IF THE YES CAMPAIGN TOTALLY REFORMS ITS FAILED STRATEGY OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS AND REQUESTS PARLIAMENT TO IMPLEMENT VITALLLY ESSENTIAL LEGLISLATIVE COMMONSENSE RIGHT NOW.
The very simple formula for a YES victory is this.
Introduce to Parliament and pass without delay, immediately it returns from the winter break at the end of July, a concise Bill that will, automatically and indisputably, become law when VOICE wins the Referendum in October.
The Voice Governance Bill must cover, in the clearest and briefest terms, the basics of these crucial issues,
*Who is eligible to vote in Voice Election.
*How many members will be elected to Voice, how long will their terms be and what will be their annual salaries and expenses .
*How many staff will each Voice member have.
*What Voice will cost to operate in Year One, including the cost of the building from which it will operate.
*By what means will Voice convey its proposed policies to Parliament, Government and the people of Australia and what is the time limit that Parliament will have to respond to each policy proposal.
This quite concise and practical legislation will enable voters to choose YES with confidence.
It will also open the door for Parliament to establish the administrative details of how all of the above basic elements will work in practice after the referendum is passed.
The debate in Parliament in passing this urgent Bill, in both the House and Senate, will be to provide a high profile platform for educating millions of voters on the absolute commonsense of Voice before they have to vote.
Once this Bill is passed, no voter will be able to say that he or she is unaware of how Voice will work. It will be enshrined in law before they vote, ready to be implemented without change after they vote.
Dutton Littleproud Hansen will oppose the Bill in panic as they are very aware that it will completely invalidate their campaigns of false information and fear.
Let me again restate an undeniable fact,
THE VOICE REFERENDUM WILL BE DEFEATED UNLESS THE ABOVEMENTIONED BILL IS PASSED BEFORE WE VOTE.
It will be clearly irresponsible not to pass it,
Also, it will be totally false and insulting for advocates of Voice to say, after the defeat that will occur if they continue their current strategy, that it was caused because most Australian voters are racist.
It would also be true at that time to say once more as we pondered the ashes of defeat that we ignored the underlying view of voters that
to buy a signed copy of my book DINNER WITH THE FOUNDING FATHERS.
Read my account of how New Zealand walked out of the Federation Conference of 1892 when it had been hoped that it would become the 7th State of the new nation, They rightly refused to have the citizenship status of Maoris reduced to the non status of Aborigines. You will cheer New Zealand.)
He lived a long and influential life that made an impact for 96 impressive years and involved him in a high profile career as a singer, actor and civil rights campaigner. The world has been enhanced by his presence.
I first encountered him at the cinema 50 years ago when I went one evening to watch him act and sing in a top quality movie called ISLAND IN THE SUN which was based in the Caribbean. This was when I first heard him sing the Banana Boat Song and caused me to take a huge liking to his Calypso music. It has stayed in my memory all those years. I remember it fondly whenever I painfully listen to ear deafening modern music which is absolutely appalling and without any soul or tone. Even worse is its capacity to make it impossible to have a conversation with anyone.
Belafonte went on to become a household name on screen and stage.
As the years advanced and, as he had always displayed in the passion of his singing and acting, he readily moved into the world of the civil rights movement as he had a profound sense of justice. He was living from experience, having as a black man suffered racial discrimination in hotels, restaurants, transport and public places, often denied admission because he was not white.
Regularly, he marched for justice with Martin Luther King and was often hit with police batons and arrested for disturbing the peace.
He went to South Africa to campaign for the release of Nelson Mandela causing the apartheid government much embarrassment as anti Mandela whites turned up in their thousands to hear him sing. Those people then hastily told all around them that they really were unhappy with his support of Mandela, but simply couldn’t miss his concert.
Poverty was on his agenda too, no matter whether the poor were black or white, and as the years advanced he became more politically radical and generated a huge number of outspoken critics.
But that was Harry Belafonte. He could never betray his conscience.
Some years back, I read a significant biography of his journey. It spelled out his life in fascinating detail. He lived his justice commitment in public and his songs always gripped people as an expression of personal compassion.
One racist incident I remember vividly.
When ‘Island in the Sun’ was first released, many bigots descended on cinemas in several Southern States of America and set fire to them in protest. The lead female actor in the film was Joan Fontaine who was white and she and Harry acted a couple who developed an intimate relationship. White bigots were affronted by this, claiming it would encourage black white marriages that would destroy American society. This was one of the fundamental reasons why he joined forces with Martin Luther King.
Belafonte was a MAN. He was not a BLACK MAN.
In writing this article, I recall two other African Americans whose lives were lived on a similar path to him.
One in recent times was Sidney Poitier who died last year. I immensely enjoyed his films TO SIR WITH LOVE and GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER.
Another was a century ago. Paul Robeson, one of the greatest singers of all time. He was declared to be a communist because he fought for his right to live in equality with whites. His singing of OLD MAN RIVER was just magic. A wonderful way to die would be to quietly go to sleep listening to him singing and telling me that old man river will just keep rolling along.
In my book, A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET, the prime character of the story, who has a terminal illness, listens to Paul Robeson as he departs by Voluntary Assisted Dying.
But let us all also remember a great Australian, David Gulpilil. Like Belafonte, Poitier and Robeson, he too suffered unwarranted humiliation as an indigenous person, but highlighted his proud heritage in several wonderful films which greatly helped me to understand the racial issues Australia must overcome on its path to reconciliation. I will always remember his roles in THE RABBIT PROOF FENCE and THE TRACKER.
So, let me come back to Harry Belafonte. He showed us that famous actors and singers can use their fame to achieve great things for society. May there be many more like him.
The final words come from his great friend Martin Luther King,
‘I dream of the day when my children will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the quality of their souls’.