One Nation has a responsibility to address misconceptions and provide accurate information on important issues. Recently, Dr Bede Harris, a constitutional law researcher at Charles Sturt University, made several claims about the Voice to Parliament that we believe warrant repudiation.
We declare the Doctor’s statements to be based on left-wing bias and should be rejected by academia and all Australians. Dr Harris' opinions appeared as an official post of the Charles Sturt University.
First and foremost, Dr Harris argued against the notion that the Voice to Parliament would create apartheid in Australia, a comparison that has been made by many leaders, including our party leader, Senator Pauline Hanson. While Dr Harris lived in South Africa during the apartheid era, we strongly disagree with his assessment.
Apartheid in South Africa was a system of enforced racial segregation and discrimination, which denied civil rights, including citizenship, to Black South Africans. Contrast South Africa’s apartheid to Australia, where race-based laws are already enacted. Our contention is that racial segregation in Australia will only intensify after a ‘Voice’ gives racists, particularly those that hate non-Aboriginal Australians, legitimacy.
Examples of race-based legislation are laws segregating white and black Australians from accessing public lands such as recreation areas across Australia, or public funds available to Aboriginal Australians that are not available to the other various races that call Australia home. This is the exact definition of apartheid. Australians should call out apartheid-deniers at every opportunity.
Dr Harris also dismissed the argument that the Voice would signal discrimination between Australians on the basis of race. He wrongly pointed out that race is a purely social concept with no basis in science. If he were right, then Labor’s race-based referendum legislation wouldn’t exist, and he would accept One Nation’s call to have all Australians unified as one group, one people, one country. But the Doctor doesn't accept we're one race. Instead, courts, the media and the elites have all used methodology (science) to classify white and black Australia into special groups, so that a small number of us enjoy privileges above and beyond all other Australians. That is the very definition of ‘scientifically’ segregating the nation based on race. It is an ideology we fully reject.
Furthermore, Dr Harris challenged the notion that the Voice would hinder government decision-making. He wrongly argued that the objections raised by constitutional conservatives are based on confusion between the communication of views to the government and the judicial review of government decisions under administrative law. His argument has been smacked down by the more intelligent and highly regarded constitutional law experts such as the distinguished former High Court Justice, Ian Callinan.
Mr Callinan recently wrote in The Australian that he foresees the Voice leading to “a decade or more” of legal disputes. This was particularly concerning because the Australian High Court has a history of expansive interpretations of constitutional matters. There is no confusion among genuine scholars of the law at all, the High Court will likely expand the ‘Voice’s’ power, which is a grave concern for us all.
Dr Harris also mentioned the poor standard of civics education as a factor that may contribute to the misunderstanding of the Voice by the public. One Nation is committed to fostering informed and respectful debates on important national issues, including the Voice to Parliament. The intent of the comments by the misinformed academic is misplaced. Any gaps in the public’s understanding is because the Labor government has hidden, shielded, obstructed, obfuscated and misrepresented every single piece of information about the Voice since the concept was dreamed up by the Labor chosen elites.
Finally, Dr Harris argued that the Voice is the most modest proposal among those that have been considered for First Nations constitutional recognition since 2010 when former Prime Minister Julia Gillard initiated the process. Dr Harris is entitled to be misinformed in his opinions, we believe that the modesty or otherwise of the proposal is a subjective matter open to debate. As a political party, we have concerns about the practical implications, potential risks, and unintended consequences of the Voice, which we believe need to be carefully considered and addressed.