Editorial July 21st 2023
Welcome to this week’s editorial, Unsurprisingly I have been asked my thoughts on the Voice Referendum and several readers have submitted letters to the editor stating their “informed” opinion. I won’t be publishing them and have decided instead to guide readers to what lies ahead. The referendum, prepared by the National Indigenous Australians Agency and conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission, will be held sometime between October and December 2023. Exact timing is a matter for Government. While many might think that the Voice referendum has already been well discussed to date, by every pronoun and their dog, it appears that that what we have heard to date is only the preliminary banter in the lead up to a further three months so that everyone can claim they have had their say in the public arena, from pubs to social media. Referendums: Nothing better than a good old back and forth between factions allowing them every opportunity and tool at their disposal to ensure that their “informed” way is the best way. But where is that “informed” perspective coming from. To date we have only had unsubstantiated hearsay and speculation. Fortunately we are all going to be letter boxed with an explanatory pamphlet from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). One would hope that this pamphlet has all the facts we need to cast an informed vote. But alas it won’t. The AEC is required to distribute a pamphlet to Australian voters, containing the Yes and No cases prepared by parliamentarians who voted for and against the proposed law. The AEC state: The arguments for each case have been provided by the majority of federal Members of Parliament and Senators who voted for or against the proposed law to alter the Constitution, and who desired to forward such an argument. Those who voted for the proposed law, and who desired to forward such an argument, have created the Yes case, while those who voted against the proposed law, and who desired to forward such an argument, have created the No case. The word count is restricted to 2,000 words for each case You can read the AEC pamphlet here: https://www.aec.gov.au/referendums/files/pamphlet/your-official-yes-no-referendum-pamphlet.pdf The YES and NO cases on that pamphlet were not independently factchecked before publication, so Guardian Australia has added notes to the full essays to help you make better sense of them: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/ng-interactive/2023/jul/20/the-vote-yes-pamphlet-referendum-voice-to-parliament-voting-essay-aec-published-read-in-full-annotated-fact-checked AEC state: To become law, the proposed alteration to the Constitution must be approved by a ‘double majority’ of electors voting for the changes. That is, for the referendum to pass, more than half of the national total must vote yes and more than half of electors in at least four states must also vote yes. The referendum will not pass if more than half of the national total vote no or more than half of electors in at least three states vote no.
source: AEC Maybe after you read all of the above you might have enough knowledge to participate in the inevitable discussions that lay ahead, around the BBQ, at the Pub, in the workplace, with a random taxi driver. And based on what you learn and your understanding you will have ONE VOTE. You may already have made up your mind how you will vote. Which ever way you decide be prepared, for the next three months at least, to have your choice slammed by the Other side every time you look around. What ever way you vote, please own it as your own informed, decision. After all, it is the only Vote you have. Until next—lei