A Conservative Voice against Today’s Aboriginal ‘Voice’ ”

 Dr David Barton, in THE QUADRANT,  December 2022, with this title “Australia’s Aboriginal Industry: Always Was, Always Will Be About Power”


In 1983, as a naïve youth worker and concerned by what I had been reading since the early 1970s about what was happening with Aborigines in Alice Springs, I moved there to see what I could do to help. All told, I spent six years in Central Australia, leaving both depressed and convinced that the situation could never be fixed.

Unfortunately, much of what passes for Aboriginal ‘culture’ today is an invention of the last 50 years.

Fortunately, much authentic Aboriginal culture of the past has vanished. The gruesome initiations, genital mutilation, inflicted cicatrices, burns, ritual spearings, sorcery and payback murders have by and large disappeared.

Nevertheless, inter-tribe clan grievances often remain, as can be seen at some football indigenous matches, both on the field and amongst the spectators.
Even though these encounters can still become violent, at least those conflicts are mostly played out with a football, not spears and clubs.

Meanwhile, the Aboriginal Industry is chock full of ill-informed, urban myth-makers and illusionists, this caste of urgers and deluded pretenders giving rise to the  patronising insistence on the uniqueness of ‘Aboriginal knowledge’ about everything from agriculture and fish farms (a lá Bruce Pascoe), water and fire management (a lá ‘cultural burning’) to Aboriginal ‘art’, ‘fashion’ and even ‘astronomy’, and not to mention Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley’s thoroughly overdone ‘Welcome to Country”.

This is mostly snake oil fakery, an effort to convince contemporary Australians that the Aborigines of old were something they clearly never were not.

Worse, histories and observational accounts of early Aboriginal life and culture are vanishing from library shelves, replaced by the anti-white post-modern dogma of ‘invasion, colonisation and inter-generational trauma’. It is unusual today to find any history book about Aborigines in a secondary or tertiary institution that is more than fifteen years old. This is cultural censure and erasure happening right under our noses. We are all the poorer for it, black and white alike.

Meanwhile, the recent invention, exaggeration, distortion and misrepresentation of the alleged ‘frontier wars’ serves as a made-to-order replacement ‘history’ intended to raise the status of Aboriginal people and degrade that of settlers. It is yet another bill of goods, a distorting sham, being hawked by a power-grabbing activist elite in whose interest it is to falsify and distort our history. The goal, need it be said, is an attempt to paint a genocidal racism as Australia’s original sin. …

Equality of opportunity is not enough for the power hungry, to whom any perceived inequality in outcome is an opportunity: Unfortunately, self-determination for many people who today identify as Aboriginal is taken to mean the normal rules — keeping children in school, eschewing clan and domestic violence — aren’t thought to fully apply. This is nowhere more apparent than on the troubled streets of Alice Springs.

‘Self-determination’ means ‘we’ll do what we like and you can pay for it’.

Self-determination’ is about colonising and taking control, accepting all that whitefellas have to offer while offering nothing in return.

Self-determination is about undermining whitefella institutions, judiciaries, organisations and bureaucracies.

Self-determination is about enculturated white people who, on the strength of what may be a mere speck of indigenous DNA, now identify exclusively as Aboriginal, thereby giving themselves an economic and social leg-up.

For the activist cadre it always was and always will be about money, power and control, all underscored by the notion that members of one race enjoy a preeminent ascendency over all other Australians.

More examples of ‘self-determination’ can be found in the ban on climbing Ayers Rock (Uluru), Mt Warning (Wollumbin), Mt Gillen, and many Grampians climbs,
all for ill-defined or unexplained ‘cultural’ reasons’. After much outcry, consideration is now being given to re-opening the Mt Warning climb, but only for those who pay a fee and are escorted by indigenous guides. More rent-seeking, what a surprise!

Australian place names are also rapidly being overwritten with (most likely made-up) Aboriginal names (eg: K’gari, once known as Fraser Island).

All of this is about claims to ownership, to ‘sovereignty’. These changes should not be mistaken for deference to Aboriginal culture; it’s no more nor less than an insidious takeover. What we are experiencing here is cultural guerrilla warfare, the picking off one target after the other.

Don’t believe it? Look no further than what has happened in New Zealand.

The Voice:

Self-determination is not about ‘closing the gap’, nor Aborigines ‘having a voice’ — all of that can be achieved without a change to the Constitution. Indeed, the $35+ billion currently spent on Aboriginal affairs and the 11-plus current Aboriginal members of parliament are more than enough to fulfil both aims.

The Voice referendum is purely and simply about the drive towards Aboriginal sovereignty, which can only be achieved by changing the nation’s foundational document and charter.

Under the Albanese government, self-determination means the coming referendum, whose barely concealed intention is to divide Australia along lines of race.

What is hiding in plain sight is the Albanese government’s intention to de-facto fund and promote the ‘Yes’ campaign whilst hamstringing ‘No’ advocates.

Anything the No campaign says can and will be construed as “misinformation”. We have seen this already with the appalling attacks by Noel Pearson and Marcia Langton’s on Jacinta Price. Brace for much more of that — and wonder, too, if the bile and attempts at character assassination are a foretaste of an empowered Voice?

Meanwhile, Australians are subjected to a daily and massive pro-Yes propaganda barrage by the taxpayer-funded ABC and SBS.

Remote Aboriginal Australians are unfortunate mascots in a power struggle among the white majority.

The Voice is just the latest attempt by the left-bureaucratic class to get more control and further exploit the rest of us.


1 Comment

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One response to “A Conservative Voice against Today’s Aboriginal ‘Voice’ ”

  1. Fair Dinkum

    I wasn’t sure of Dr Barton’s background, so I googled him and I find he is an occupational health specialist. Clearly, in reading the content of his essay, he has no expertise in the areas of humanities that have engaged with the notion of cultures and cultural reinvention, which has been around since the 1970s.

    All cultures are constantly reinventing themselves. Cultures are never static. Is Aboriginal culture an invention? That assumes Aboriginal culture never existed before 50 years ago. Obviously, this is not so.

    What is authentic culture? This is another complex and difficult question. Dr Barton’s understanding of the concept shows a lack of reading knowledge on the concept. The problem with the word “authentic” is that it implies cultures are static and unchanging. We have known for over 50 years that is not true. Cultures are always in a flux, changing, and reinventing.

    The Voice is not so much about “power”, but about “power sharing”. Colonial intervention in Australia was all about power, and the Anglophile-centric elites that still control Australia continue to be about asserting that power.
    Words like “exaggeration” “distortion” and “misrepresentation” as being “a sham, being hawked by power-grabbing activist elite” who “destroy and falsify our history” is a string of loaded emotive terms without substance. In other words, it is a load of baloney.

    This article is about preserving and reasserting White-Anglophile power.
    Where is the evidence that Aboriginal voices (which he calls ‘activists”) are all about “money”, “power” and “control”. The Voice is not about any of these, but rather allowing appropriate representatives a voice in matters relating to First Nations peoples. Nothing more, nothing less.

    The claim “we are experiencing…cultural guerrilla warfare” is absurd. In what way is The Voice “guerrilla warfare?”
    The attempt to associate The voice with Leftist politics is a weak argument. These days, there is little to distinugish the Left from the Right in Australian politics. Both engage in idealogical cross-dressing. It is one reason why Teals have gain greater support, and may continue to do so. It is the Liberals and people like Dutton who by their actions have attempted to frame the narrative as so in an attempt to consolidate their own power for elitest White Australians that still control this country.

    Australia is not part of Europe, never was, never has been. We still have a British King as head. As long as Australia has a British head of state, this country can never grow. Cook’s intervention into Australia was not through democratic means and freedom. It was about conquest and control. Having got a foothold in this country and established a federal government, no one asks on what basis can we claim this government was legitmate?

    Successive White Australian governments have allowed migrants to come here from Europe, which is fine, but that doesn’t change the reality that our destiny remains in the geographic environment we live, which has little to do with Europe. The rhythms of life in this part of the world are different. The Voice is not perfect, but it is a positive move in this direction. What is this author’s alternative? It is a continuation of the status quo with white elitists remaining firmly in control, and he has the gall to accuse First Nations people of seeking power and control.

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