If you seek to ensure not all Australians get an equal say in the debate about an enshrined voice, then don’t be surprised when millions of them cry foul about the integrity of the result.
“All Australians should have an equal say in its future and in our country’s future,” is how then Leader of the Opposition John Howard described his view on the debate surrounding the republic referendum in 1995.
“This debate [about the republic] is not about who is the better Australian,” Howard continued, “there are decent, passionate, loyal Australians on both sides of this argument.”
It is a hallmark of how far debate in Australia has fallen since the vote on the republic in 1999, that we now have a government in Canberra that, far from believing in fair debate and free speech, is now seemingly stacking the deck in relation to the forthcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament.
As the dust settles on this week’s mini-Budget, one thing the Albanese Government conveniently failed to highlight was the announcement buried on page 17 of Budget Paper 2.
Here it was announced that “Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition”, a body campaigning for a “yes” vote at the forthcoming referendum, would be granted Deductible Gift Recipient status.
This means the “yes” campaign can receive tax deductible donations.
Yet, the Albanese Government has refused to provide comparable concessions or assurances for the “no” case.
In fact, the Federal Government’s own figures show this will give the “yes” campaign an immediate financial advantage, of up to $800,000, which will only grow as the promised referendum nears.
It would seem the Federal Government is happy to apply one rule for some and not for everybody else.
No matter your view on the referendum, both the “yes” and “no” campaigns must receive the same financial support and concessions from government, otherwise we could potentially end up with a rigged outcome.
However, this week’s announcement can hardly come as a surprise.
It is yet further evidence that Australia’s governing class and the elites are stacking the deck in favour of the “yes” case and denying a free and fair debate.
Th surprise announcement in the mini-Budget follows on from Big Tech’s recent banning of the IPA from promoting its research video discussing the importance of why all Australians are equal and that Race Has No Place in our constitution.
The IPA’s video featured Senator Jacinta Price, Senator James McGrath, and leading academic and public intellectual Anthony Dillon, who shared their views on why the Voice to Parliament will permanently divide Australians by race.
Facebook said they banned the promotion of the research video because it breached their policy about “ads about social issues, elections, or politics.” How, precisely, the principle of racial equality breached their policies Facebook never cared to explain, even though they tried to spin their side of the story through friendly sources at The Guardian.
This highlights a much larger and sinister point.
Almost every major institution in our society supports The Voice: woke big business, Big Tech, the mainstream media, civic organisations, sporting codes, places of worship, as well as schools and universities.
The deck is being stacked against Australians who believe in racial equality and do not think that extra political and legal rights should be accorded based on race or ancestry.
The stacking of the deck by the governing class and elites violates a foundational principle of the Australian way of life, that being, everybody gets to have their say, no matter what their view is.
This is the principle which then Prime Minister John Howard employed when setting up the administration, parameters of the debate, and vote on whether Australia should be a republic in 1999.
Howard, himself a staunch Monarchist, could easily have stacked the deck using the leverage of government, to pour financial and campaign resources into the “no” campaign.
Yet Howard understood that many Australians had come to favour the idea of a republic over monarchy, and that in a democracy the best way to settle differences of opinion is through a free and fair debate.
This meant both sides had equal funding.
The fair debate which accompanied the republic vote was critical to Australians on both sides of the debate accepting the outcome, because no-one could genuinely complain that they had been silenced or treated unfairly.
This is a key reason why, 23 years on, there has not been another referendum on the matter, and, if there is to be another one in the future, it is likely still many years away.
Instead of embracing the approach of Howard, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his government are actively undermining our democracy by using the levers of government power they now control to put their fingers on the scale of the debate.
Couple this with the cooperation of Big Tech, woke big business, and the mainstream media, including the taxpayer funded ABC, and Australians who are in favour of racial equality, and who oppose the Voice on principle, would rightly feel like they are being actively excluded from debate.
Those seeking to prevent Australians having an equal say in the debate should be prepared that, should their side win, millions of Australians may very well not be willing to accept the result as the fight, at least so far, has not been fair.