On June 18, IPA Research Fellow and National Manager for Gen Lib Brianna McKee joined Outsiders on Sky News Australia to discuss how New Zealand informs us.
All media appearances posted onto the IPA website are directly related to the promotion and dissemination of IPA research.
Below is a transcript of the interview.
New Zealand has the Waitangi Tribunal, which is equivalent to the Voice. It’s a smorgasbord of social justice activism, which is consequently dividing New Zealand is by race, which is exactly what our fear is here. The IPA, brilliant organisation, the Institute of Public Affairs, has covered the research that proves that if Australia’s Voice follows the precedent established through decades of Waitangi Tribunal cases, we will suffer for it. Joining us now to discuss specifically what New Zealand looks like is the research fellow for the IPA, Brianna McKee. Brianna, great to see you. Good to see you there down in Melbourne. You’ve studied closely the Waitangi Tribunal. What is in store for Australians if we go down the route? What can we learn from New Zealand?
Yes, that’s right. So what we’ve seen, the IPA has done analysis on this issue, and we’ve looked at the history of judicial activism in Australia, and we’ve also looked at the Waitangi Tribunal, which is the equivalent to Australia’s proposed Voice in parliament. And we’ve identified three key issues. The first is that the Voice could become involved in every aspect of life, so including education, defense, interest rates, even the selection of high court justices. The second issue is that the Voice could gain veto power over important government decisions.
So the Waitangi Tribunal has veto power over legislation in New Zealand, and the Maori, there are some reforms to laws that only they can suggest. And the third issue is that if the Voice is implemented, it would be impossible to repeal, defund or reform. And that’s because once it’s implemented, it’s in our constitution. So they’re going to change the constitution. They’re going to insert a provision that permanently divides Australians on the basis of race. And these are the issues we’ve seen in New Zealand, and they could be brought to Australia.
Brianna, give us a bit more background on this, because New Zealand has had the Waitangi Treaty for decades, if not more than a century, and yet it’s only in recent years that this has become a problem. Now all the things you talk about are things they say couldn’t happen with the Voice. It’s not a veto. But wasn’t there a court decision in New Zealand that wound up giving it all of these powers? And is this the danger that even if it doesn’t have these powers now, some future high court could give it to them down the track?
Yeah. So with the Waitangi Tribunal, it started out as an advisory body, but through a series of court interpretations, it reached the point where it now infiltrates every aspect of life. I mean, even during the COVID pandemic, you had this situation where critical health resources were allocated on the basis of race, and not need. And you also have a situation now with race-based policing, and it’s resulted in a situation where New Zealanders are soft on crime. So the Waitangi Tribunal, it has divided New Zealanders. They’re more divided, not more united.
Now I want to ask about this Three Waters program that they’ve also introduced and granting rights to rivers. Take us through those two things, and what that actually means in reality.
What’s in New Zealand is coming to Australia through the university sector. So the University of Melbourne has a research series and it’s all about water justice, but there is nothing just about what they’re trying to do here. So the first thing they’re talking about is when British settlers came to Australia, they stole the land, and they stole the water, so we need new pathways to water justice.
But this is really just doublespeak for handing over the governance of our nation’s assets to indigenous tribes. So giving one group privileges that another does not have. And the other issue is they want to give rivers the same rights as people, and this is part of the green sustainability agenda where it’s been accompanied by a shift towards giving nature equal rights to people or even greater rights. So it’s essentially what we’re seeing here is a form of rebranded paganism.
And Brianna, you write in the Spectator Australia this week, terrific article, about once it’s … it’s the vibe of the whole thing. And you mentioned the kind of religious overtones that as … you just mentioned paganism. Talk us through how water becomes a religious tokenism that then works its way into the law, and we lose our access to water. We have to pay extra, because of this quasi-religious pagan belief that has come through in New Zealand, and could easily come here.
So in the research series, they’re talking about the water of life, and handing over our assets to indigenous groups. And yes, what we are seeing is rebranded paganism. There are religious overtones through all of this. And Dr. Erin O’Donnell, she’s leading the charge at Melbourne University, but it’s in the humanities. Subjects like literature, philosophy, English, they’ve been taken over by this post-modern thinking. They’re looking at it through the lens of race, class, and gender. But this has really trickled down from the universities into government, into business, through programs like diversity, equity and inclusion, and so activism has become very institutionalised.
And so look out for your water rights. Thank you so much, Brianna McKee. Great work you do there at the IPA, and in the Spectator Australia. Thanks so much.
This transcript with Brianna McKee talking on Outsiders on Sky News Australia from 18 June 2023 has been edited for clarity.