One of the criticisms levelled at The Voice proposal is that it is merely a “symbolic” gesture that will not, and cannot, make any real difference to the lives of Australia’s Indigenous population.
Those who expound this view ask how The Voice, even if enshrined in the Constitution, will stop the violence in Alice Springs, improve health and education opportunities, reduce alcohol addiction, increase life expectancy, and provide entrepreneurial opportunities for Indigenous Australians.
The “Yes” campaign assumes that the creation of this constitutional behemoth will be a game changer.
Are There Benefits For Indigenous Communities?Australia will hold the referendum in less than three weeks.
Citizens will have their say on if want The Voice advisory body, which would be entrenched into the Constitution as a dedicated body to the federal government comprising 24 individuals to be elected by Indigenous Australians.
It is thus opportune to ruminate about the likelihood of The Voice improving the lives of Aboriginal people.
The proponents of The Voice say the current existing institutions that already provide assistance to Aboriginal communities are not enough.
It is not immediately clear how The Voice, even if successfully enshrined, would deliver improvements with extra "consultation" with the government.
“There can be no self-determination or autonomy for any community if there is total dependence on governments and bureaucracies or if there is no real economy. No country or community can survive without an economy to support it," he said.
"The greatest threat to Indigenous Australians living on country remote and regional Australia is chronic dependence on government without needing meaningfully to contribute in return.”Mr. Mundine’s statement implies that the social welfare state is ruining Indigenous economic advancement and may well be responsible for maintaining, if not increasing the “gap.”
A segment of Indigenous (and non-Indigenous) Australians depend on the government’s largesse to solve all their financial and economic problems.
If this trend continues unchecked, welfare recipients will become entirely dependent upon the state, thereby removing the need for them to explore solutions to their problems.
Personal responsibility is central to the development of a prosperous and economically successful society.
Getting Rid of DependencyFurther, Indigenous Australians would be better off if welfare was not so pervasive.
Without addressing underlying behavioural problems, the government, in essence, is “rewarding” antisocial and dysfunctional behaviour.
The point is that programs to help welfare recipients inevitably tend to exacerbate the problem by creating a state of permanent dependency.
In a state of permanent “dependency,” people are no longer able (or willing) to distinguish between a “privilege” and a “right.” If a privilege is suspended, people start complaining as if a “privilege” is the functional equivalent of a “right.”
Conceptually, these ideas are clearly different, but people, in general, are no longer able to distinguish between the two. Consequently, a culture of government dependency has been cultivated, promoted, and ingrained into the psyche of Australians.
Nevertheless, The Voice campaign has offered the “No” proponents an ideal opportunity to break the cycle of dependency by promoting the principle of equality.
People must be treated equally, without regard to their race—a characteristic over which people have no control—and the removal of impediments, which block the advancement of Indigenous Australians.
Hence, the “No” campaign should continue its focus on this principle in its campaign, and emphasise its centrality to the relationship between the government and its citizens.
But, in failing to decisively attack Aboriginal dependency on the welfare state, it misses an opportunity to distance itself from the “Yes” campaign, thereby indicating a lack of political nous and insight.
It is unfortunate that, in the lead-up to the referendum, the current debate on The Voice fails to consider the assumed, alleged, or perceived economic, health, and educational benefits of entrenching this new bureaucracy in the Constitution.
There is still time to consider the consequences of entrenching this “welfare-inducing mechanism” in the Constitution!