You could be forgiven for missing it, but something quite important happened in politics last week.
Under all the relentless antagonism, the cacophony of Bill Shorten’s thunderous denunciations of Scott Morrison’s muppet government and our marketeer prime minister shouting about how well he was doing in the job before fleeing to South America, there was the glimmer of bipartisanship over an issue that actually matters.
The joint parliamentary committee on an indigenous voice in parliament – the key recommendation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart rejected summarily by Malcolm Turnbull and then by Morrison – reported that the idea should be progressed and refined with a view to running a referendum aimed at enshrining it in the constitution in the next parliament.
True, there was not total consensus; the Greens Rachel Siewert wants to move to the referendum as soon as possible and sort out the mechanics later, and the LNP’s Amanda Stoker thinks there should be regional voices, rather than a national one. But the point is that the proposal is alive and well – there have been no walkouts and dummy-spits of the kind our last two prime ministers so disgracefully inflicted on indigenous Australians.
And the second best option – a voice based on legislation, but not protected by the constitution – has been effectively dismissed as patronage and window dressing. Furthermore, the idea of a truth commission, leading eventually to a treaty, is still very much on the table.
The report is a tribute to its chairman, the indefatigable and irreplaceable Pat Dodson, but also to all the other members, especially the Liberals Julian Leeser, who effectively defied the contemptuous vetos promulgated by Turnbull and Morrison when they deliberately misrepresented the Voice as a third chamber of parliament – it is, as has pointed out by anyone who can read, nothing of the kind.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN John Menadue's Pearls and Irritations Daily HERE