Tuesday, 17 October 2023
Statements by Senators
Whatever may be said about the Voice to Parliament referendum, one thing is clear: the 'no' campaign may have won, but the real winners were equality and Australian democracy. This referendum showed the world that it's not governments, corporations or activists who hold power in this nation. It's the Australian people.
On the weekend, we voted overwhelmingly in favour of equal citizenship and against racial inequality. It was most definitely not a rejection of Indigenous Australians. It was a rejection of racial separatism, racial exceptionalism, constitutional activism and grievance and identity politics. Australians have decided these have no place in our Constitution.
One Nation led the way on this most important national decision. We were the first party to declare for the 'no' vote on principle. We were advocating against the Voice from the beginning and we made telling contributions to the debate. However, the best promoters of the 'no' vote ended up being the leaders of the 'yes' campaign: Marcia Langton, Noel Pearson, Megan Davis, Thomas Mayo, Linda Burney and our Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. Their statements—
Their statements over the years probably did more than anything else to kill support for the Voice, and they called it misinformation. So what next?
This referendum has been a wake-up call for many Australians. They want answers about why the gaps haven't closed despite the tens of billions of dollars spent on this every year. For many years I've been calling for a comprehensive audit of the Aboriginal industry that has failed Indigenous people. This is absolutely essential so that Australians get the answers they deserve. Nothing will ever change unless we treat everyone on an individual needs basis and not on the basis of guilt or race. We are all Australians. Treat people equally on a needs basis.