Changing the law is not easy.

by Eric Abetz – Former Federal Senator

Changing the law is not easy. Nor should it be. Serious consequences flow.

But surely changing our Constitution should be more difficult as even more serious consequences might flow.

In 2016 Australians faced a double dissolution election on three pieces of legislation all of which I happened to have drafted.

Before a double dissolution election could be held every single word, letter, comma and full stop had been tabled and analysed for the world to see, discuss and debate.


The Bills were open to full scrutiny. That is at it should be. Our fellow Australians are entitled to know the detail of the matter on which MPs are casting a vote.

However, the proposed change to our Constitution to insert the so-called Voice lacks detail. At best it is a napkin sketch devoid of any genuine substance.

Without the fundamentally essential detail, debate is limited to virtue signalling, slogans and superficiality.

As such a huge disservice is being done to the Australian people on an issue the proponents tell us is of real importance to our unity as a nation.

Yet without the detail there can be no assessment of its worthiness, workability or unintended consequences.

And without that importantly vital input the Australian people would be giving the proponents a blank cheque. Never a good idea. Especially not to Canberra.

And it is not as though the proponents have not had enough time to flesh out their proposal. It’s been around as a concept for five years.

With the amount of taxpayer largesse laid on to assist, Australians are entitled to have expected more. A lot more.

Australians are rightly cynical of political platitudes and have a good instinct when it comes to detecting superficiality.


The proponents need to level with the Australian people.

First, we are entitled to know the detail, the whole detail. Nothing less.

Second, the proponents need to explain why a change to our Constitution is even needed to implement their plan and how that change will actually deliver better outcomes to reduce indigenous disadvantage.

Floating noble goals does not deliver results. Practical Australians suspect actions rather than grandiose referenda will do the delivering so needed in our indigenous communities.

Thirdly, a full and free campaign giving both sides the opportunity to be heard is essential for a fair outcome which can be accepted by the people irrespective of the outcome.

As such equal support and funding to both the YES and NO cases is obligatory. To do otherwise will be ham-fisted and divisive.


The above three essential requirements are needed for fairness and acceptance of the result as being a fair expression of the Australian people’s view.

Failure to deliver in all three areas will rightly confirm to the astute Australian that The Voice is, at best, vacuous virtue-signalling by elitists.

It will be a violation of voters’ rights to a fair presentation of the YES and NO cases and, therefore, deserves to be vetoed.


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  • Kevin o'Brien January 31, 2023   Reply →

    Abetz is a right wing ex-politican practised in disinfomation and avoiding facts. Interestingly, one of the main arguments against Federation in 1901 was you should vote No because you dont have all the facts!

  • ian gillon February 1, 2023   Reply →

    I gather from Kevin O’Briens comments that he is in favour of voting yes for the voice based on having no information on how it would work.

    I would ask Kevin to read Duttons letter to Albo requesting answers to all of the questions many Australians are asking

    For instance it appears the voice will also have aboriginal committees sitting on State Government cabinet discussions, and sitting on local council admin meetings as well.

    Local councils are concerned as to how they will operate effectively, with a aboriginal group assessing each and every decision, and it appears that ( rate payers ) will be paying for this aboriginal committee + administrative staff.

    and finally I would ask how will the voice improve aboriginal health, reduce the domestic violence, kiddy rape, et al, and reduce the (annual) expenditure of $38 Billion (yes Billion) ( see Productivity Commission report 2017) spent each year on aboriginal programmes for 3.8% of the Australian population (census figure)

    I believe that we are only spending $90 billion on obtaining submarines.
    I would also point out that the Voice is dividing us by race, when we have had a working multicultural society for many years where we have all believed that we are equal. I wonder how the recent arrivals from all over the world feel about having a small section of society singled out for special treatment over the rest of us.

    kevin is entitled to vote for constitutional change without any information, however I want to know all the details before I would cast my vote, either for, or against

  • Tony Seears February 1, 2023   Reply →

    All people who are entitled to vote in Australia are Australians, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender etc. They are also entitled to total transparency on proposed legislation by our politicians. Lets deal with some facts about our Federal Govt parliamentarians and their representation of their constituents. There are 151 Lower House seats and 76 Upper House seats in Federal parliament. Of those members of parliament there are 11 who claim aboriginality [8 Upper House and 3 Lower House]. They represent 3.8% of Australians who claim aboriginality, but yet make up 4.85% of Federal parliamentarians.
    Do you think that people of Aboriginal descent are already fairly represented in parliament, compared to the rest of the population, bearing in mind this represents a 27.6% greater ratio of representation than the general population.
    What about Australians of Asian, Muslim, Irish, Greek descent not afforded the same “Voice” in parliament.
    When prominent Aboriginal’s, [Jacinta Price and Warren Mundine to name two], speak about what is needed in their communities to better the lives of people in those communities, they do not talk of extra “voices” in parliament, they talk about welfare of the children, health etc.
    If the system for Aboriginal welfare is not working now with the current level of representation and funding in parliament, I don’t see how another overlay of talkfest will help.
    The current availability of information on the proposed “Voice” is scant at best, and judging by the above comments by Kevin and Ian, the proposal is already divisive, not inclusive.

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