The Voice Referendum result has generated multiple opinions, both nationally and internationally. If the methodology of the referendum is closely analysed, it might shed some light as to why Australia voted NO.
As an immigrant, a naturalised Australian and a medical practitioner with a large cohort of First Nations People (FNP) patients, it was enlightening for me to hear that most of my patient cohort were voting NO. The reason given was the lack of detail.
I am certain that if the referendum was only to formally recognise FNP in the Australian constitution, it would have passed. However, the addition of the Voice to Parliament (VTP) in my opinion changed the result. I felt that this exercise was not timed or done well, that there was hope that it would pass purely on trust.
Both political parties “politicised” the entire issue and Albanese it appears, envisaged a legacy outcome for himself had this passed. Perhaps, legislating the VTP as a 3-year trial in my view, made more sense. This would allow the kinks to be ironed out, provide a blueprint as to what works, what does not and provide an opportunity to re-visit and improve.
The FNP community have again lost as nothing has changed. Whilst many could argue that something had to be done and that is why a YES result was important, the finer aspects of hard endpoints and outcomes are not addressed.
The apology from PM Kevin Rudd to the FNP and the stolen generation was totally appropriate, and I wished that it had happened sooner. It was wonderful to watch and emotional to me as a post-colonisation child of India. However, since the apology, nothing has really changed for the FNP community with respect to the hard endpoints.
Neither political party have done anything useful in terms of addressing the hard end points plaguing the FNP community. They blame each other for this unacceptable result which as we all know, is political fodder for their own survival.
The post-mortem on the VTP election result has begun and the first reason touted is racism. Whilst this might be the easiest solution to proffer, it might not be the most accurate. I believe the methodology is to be blamed and it would be prudent if all political parties put aside their own interests and focus as a team to address the hard endpoints with the goal to help the FNP communities.
In the words of the Joker, we deserve a better class of criminal!
Seshasayee (Sesh) Narasimhan, MBBS, MRCP (UK), FRACP, FACC
General & Interventional Cardiologist, Manning Base Hospital
Conjoint Senior Lecturer, University of Newcastle,
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University of New England,
Principal, The Heart Centre, Taree.