News Leaflets
A leading news portal.

Peter Dutton isn’t looking for details, he’s looking for a fight

0 41

If opponents of the Voice have an advantage, it lies in this fact: that we have become accustomed to politicians offering us clean solutions, as though the world could be reduced to sharp slogans, clear targets, concrete results and simplistic guarantees.

This was the world summoned by Peter Dutton in his recent letter to Albanese asking for details in 15 areas. The principle at work is exactly what has failed for so long: the idea that if we could just get this detail right, or that one, then everything would fall into place. The idea is consoling – to the non-Indigenous, anyway – because it makes it seem as though the answer is just around the corner. But it has failed, because our long systemic failure over decades has never been a problem of details, but of the whole attitude being wrong. The principle behind the Voice is that our fundamental approach must change: that parliament must ask, and listen, where it has never properly asked and listened before.


Of course, asking for more details always sounds reasonable. But it is always important to ask whether, for someone who has doubts about the Voice, any particular detail would make a difference. What fact might convince Dutton, say, that the Voice would work – if it had 20 members, or 200? These requests, in other words, point to the likely fact that Dutton – who has not publicly declared his party’s position – is uncomfortable with the principle itself. They are as telling and insincere as the claims of Voice critics that they would be happy, now, to recognise Indigenous people in the Constitution in some other way, or simply legislate the Voice – having failed, during the past decade of conservative rule, to pursue such proposals. The answer is always, it seems, whatever is not currently on the table.

And this is the final sad truth hiding in the letter – it had little to do with the specific proposal of the Voice at all. What seemed obvious from Dutton’s language was that his main aim was to get a fight. He asked Albanese, ridiculously, to explain whether the Voice would “interfere with the system of Government which has kept our country a stable and peaceful democracy for over a century”. He attacked Albanese and his government for playing “tricky political games” and treating people “like mugs”. For Dutton – as for Turnbull and Morrison before him – it seems Indigenous affairs remains, above all else, an opportunity to gain political advantage.

If one man is determined to fight, and another is equally determined not to, does the fight happen or not? We are about to find out.

The Opinion newsletter is a weekly wrap of views that will challenge, champion and inform your own. Sign up here.

More from our award-winning columnists

The Voice needs more detail: Australians will vote this year on whether to support an Indigenous Voice to parliament – but there are three questions that need to be answered. Fast – Parnell Palme McGuinness

The Voice is not about the detail: Australians are not “voting blind” in the Voice referendum. They will be voting on the basic principle – giving Indigenous Australians a collective Voice to seek to influence and inform the parliament and government by making representations to them – Anne Twomey


Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! News Leaflets is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment