The formation of 35 local and regional voice groups as a foundation for a national voice that ultimately will provide non-binding advice to government and parliament offers important advantages. Unlike the locally based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission structure that was abolished in 2005 amid financial problems and mismanagement, the 35 local groups would not have a financial or service delivery role.
But being closer to local communities, especially in remote areas, than any national or government body could be, their input would be invaluable in designing policy and services to improve the serious health, education, welfare, justice and employment concerns afflicting too many Indigenous people, leading to unacceptable incarceration rates and causing too many children to be separated from their families. Such input should improve not only federal policy but also the policies and services provided by state, territory and local authorities.
It has been quite a year for spectrum-rigging at Rupert Murdoch’s national daily. The editorial goal is clearly to redefine leftism as the new ‘centre.’ Support for pandemic fascism, apologias for Scott Morrison’s bungled religious discrimination bill (turned into a homosexuality protection bill) and a widely ridiculed conversion to net zero extremism (sold, laughably, as a boon to regional miners). These retreats from reality have been marketed as shrewd tactical tweaks: let’s embrace left-wing ideas to stop Anthony Albanese from implementing left-wing ideas. Everyone wants Aborigines to succeed but ghettoising their presence in the Australian polity is an admission that somehow they cannot cope and don’t really belong. That isn’t progress.