They want a Voice… but only a well-behaved one
Is this Voice to Parliament just a Sisphyean, useless gesture meant to appease our community for the next couple of decades? We are not little black puppets for Albanese to control.
While a Voice to Parliament may be a step in the right direction, it is imperative to realise that we need to focus on a true grassroots land back movement. A simple legislative “Voice” is not enough. There is a colonial mildew that has afflicted Indigenous people since the existence of over 750 000 rightful custodians of these lands was nullified in 1770. I entreat you to consider why there is a referendum – which will cost an estimated 75 million dollars to kickstart – on what should be an inalienable right for the original custodians of these lands. Why is the Voice vs Treaty debate being treated as mutually-exclusive? Why are constitutional enshrinement and a Treaty unable to coexist? Is this Voice to Parliament just a Sisphyean, useless gesture meant to appease our community for the next couple of decades? We need all Blacktivism to be represented for a Voice to Parliament to be beneficial to First Nations communities.
We are not little black puppets for Albanese to control. We begrudgingly exist under the colonial notion of parliamentary sovereignty – under a rose-tinted and idealised system of “democracy” – that has barred Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from voting, and, until 1967, did not consider them part of the population. The Australian government holds a monopoly over our land, providing a supposed compromise and treating our right to exist as if it were up for debate.
There will never be tangible change and decolonisation in a Parliament that profits from and refuses to stop corporate fracking and industrial annihilation in remote Indigenous communities; a Parliament that spends $368 billion dollars on submarines; a Parliament of big-wigs that does not nurture our diverse ecosystem or ethno-cultural backgrounds. Change will come from communities, from listening to Elders, recognising black sovereignty and appreciating Indigenous ways of life. There are no brownie points or wokeness you can collect from voting ‘Yes’. We had a voice for over 100,000 years, just not one that is represented under a colonial institution. This “Voice” is dangled above us by the government, framed as a simple democratic vote, rather than an intrinsic right.Black excellence and decolonisation demands that there be more than a Voice. That First Nations people have freedom of access to our lands and waters, that we nationalise all of our profitable, extractive industries. This referendum forces Indigenous people and communities to assimilate under a settler-colonial system to which we never consented; to subscribe to imperialist politics, and vote alongside parties that consider us subhuman. As long as black people are being killed in custody, neglected and consistently berated by a police force that carries out colonial terrorism on behalf of the state, we will never have a voice. You cannot consider yourself an ally of First Nations people without being aware of the many multifaceted ways in which we are oppressed by our system, its people and laws. Audre Lorde succinctly summarised such in her titled essay “The Master’s Tools will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”. If you consider yourself a progressive ally of First Nations people, then that begins with being aware of the systemic oppression of our people, which will continue regardless of the results of this referendum.