Voice box tickers – I’m over it!

by JOHN MIKKELSEN – THE Voice debate! Like many Australians I’m over it, and I decided a long time before pre-poll voting, it’s a big No from me. 

I’m reminded of a question posed decades ago by American physicist and television personality, Professor Julius Sumner Miller, “Why is it so?” 

If the Yes vote succeeds, you can bet the house a surge of “box tickers” will overload the largesse of government unless we put a stop to a blank cheque approach for those on the receiving end.
John Mikkelsen
Freelance writer & author

There’s an easy answer. The Voice is a move to enshrine an unelected advisory body in the Australian Constitution which will further divide our great nation on racial grounds.

QED, Julius, to sum up: It’s racist.


I can hear the howls of protests from the “Yes” camp, from PM Anthony Albanese and Minister for Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney down through Voice advocates and architects such as Noel Pearson, Thomas Mayo and Teela Reid.

But hang on, there’s a clear message in our National Anthem, “Australians let us all rejoice for we are one and free…”

It does not continue, “One rule for you and another rule for me …”

That will be the case if the Yes vote, backed by millions of corporate virtue-seeking dollars, finally wins.

But despite that, The Voice has hit a flat note and support continues to lapse in recent polls.

Why is it so? Well it seems there are a lot of other Australians who are fed up with endless “Welcome to Country” and smoking ceremonies at every major sporting venue or new road opening, the tiresome lectures on TV whenever the PM spots a microphone, the empty promises that this will be a purely advisory body with no power to compel Parliament to act…

Does this make us racist? Not in my book.

Most of us are more concerned with the escalating cost of living, power bills going through the roof despite Labor’s repeated promise to reduce them by $275 annually.

Fuel, food and other essentials such as rents and mortgages are also escalating, all in step with platitudes from Treasurer Jim Chalmers about his great “Wellbeing Budget”.

I’m not sure what parallel universe or time zone Dr Jim’s been visiting in his own model of the Tardis, but it seems far removed from real life here in real Australia.

Many of us are also aware of the duplicity in promises by Albo and Miss Burney that the Voice will be purely advisory, after he gave an assurance following his election victory he would adopt the Uluru Statement from the Heart “in full”.

That encapsulates Voice, Treaty and Truth, as displayed on a T-shirt he was shown wearing after a clash with Radio 2GB commentator Ben Fordham.

After wrongly accusing Fordham of reading from a “No” campaign leaflet, he vehemently denied that a Treaty and reparations would form any part of the Voice.

“Compensation has nothing to do with what people will vote for in the last quarter of this year,” he claimed.

But that’s not what the Voice architects mentioned earlier have said. Thomas Mayo has stated the Voice is a campaign tool to “punish politicians, abolish colonialist institutions” and “pay the rent, pay reparations and compensation”.

“There is nothing that we can do that is more powerful than building a first nations’ Voice, a black institution, a black political force to be reckoned with.”


“Yes” colleague Teela Reid also believes the Voice is about forcing “reparations” upon white people and “redistributing power”.

“First Nations want the power in their hands, that’s what the Voice is about … a journey with all Australians to begin to demolish the systems that continue to oppress us.”

Linda Burney says the Voice won’t attempt to change Australia Day. Ms Reid says it will abolish it if it wants to.

I guess we can’t have Australians celebrating “Invasion Day” even though the British “invaders” have a much better record at advancing their colony here and in other places around the globe than some of their European counterparts.

Undoubtedly some bad things happened in the past, there were frontier conflicts, but there was never an official mainland “war” against so-called “first nations” people.

That label borrowed from Canada/ US is a misnomer as there is evidence of an earlier race or races displaced by aborigines.

According to some experts, they share DNA with tribes in India, who migrated much more recently than the accepted ancient timeline.

It’s also sad that the Voice debate has heaped vitriol on two leading “No” campaigners, prominent indigenous figures Warren Mundine and Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister Jacinta Price.

Mundine in particular has revealed in interviews on Sky News that he twice seriously considered suicide because of unrelenting abuse from some of his own people and vocal “Yes” advocates.

He is now reportedly seeking professional help, but says he is also worried about Senator Price over similar treatment she and members of her close family have been subjected to.

That’s terrible and I’m sure I stand with many fair-minded Aussies on both sides of the debate in wishing them both well.


But in recent days, faced with the declining polls, the tone of the Yes campaign has mellowed somewhat and it seems to be now more focused on trusting “the vibe” than labelling anyone who disagrees as racist.

The last Parliamentary sittings did nothing to enhance the Yes case, with the PM, Ms Burney and other Labor luminaries dodging direct questions on the Voice, including the Makaratta Commission’s direct link with Treaty and Truth.

The usual obfuscation, sniggers, sneers and personal smears offer no transparency to the debate.

Rather than claiming all problems facing indigenous communities can somehow be solved with an enshrined (but so far undefined) Voice in the Constitution, they should explain why this can’t be achieved by the numerous State and federal indigenous agencies who have received copious funding over many years.

This is shown in a direct quote from a Productivity Commission report: “Total direct expenditure on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2012-13 was estimated to be $30.3b, accounting for 6.1 per cent of total direct general government expenditure.”

Where has all the money gone, Albo? Obviously not to the outback communities in most need.


Meanwhile, there were 812,728 people who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin in the 2021 Census – up from 649,171 in 2016. This represents an increase of 25.2 per cent – or 163,557 – and was higher than the increase between 2006 and 2011 (20.5 per cent) and between 2011 and 2016 (18.4 per cent).

You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to see the trend here. If the Yes vote succeeds, you can bet the house, if you’re fortunate enough to own it, the surge of “box tickers” will overload the largesse of any government unless some meaningful checks put a stop to a blank cheque approach for those on the receiving end.

But wait, my grandfather, old Hans, arrived unaccompanied as a penniless teenage Danish immigrant back in the 1880s and worked alongside the Kanakas in the Bundaberg cane fields before he eventually bought his own farms.

Maybe he had a romp in the hay with a young Islander girl…  Maybe there’s a box I can tick as a new-found member of the expanding Gimmemunni Tribe.PC

– John Mikkelsen

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: Linda Burney. (courtesy 2GB)

3 thoughts on “Voice box tickers – I’m over it!

  1. Australians didn’t invade Australia – the British did. Go chase them for reparations and leave us alone! I’m a second-generation Australian and therefore as indigenous as any living descendant of Aboriginal people!

  2. ‘First nations’ indeed – there was never a ‘first nation’ or even ‘first nations’ …… ‘first migrants’ would be more fitting terminology for the nomadic people who lived in what is now called Australia having travelled south from Melanesia. And they never purported to own the land – within their belief system the land owned them.


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