Why I will be voting Yes


I will be voting Yes in the upcoming Referendum on The Voice to affirm that Australia is a better nation than it was eighty years ago.

When I was a boy growing up in a typical Queensland country town, the local Aboriginal people suffered separation, segregation and discrimination and the people — even those with the kindest dispositions— accepted the situation as ‘normal.’

The Aborigines lived outside the town on the other side of the river.

“The Yumba”, as it was called, was a straggling collection of humpies made of discarded, rusting roofing iron and box-tree boughs.

Despite the perplexing claims of one leading Aboriginal proponent of the no campaign, colonisation had not been “good for them”.

They had no sanitation, no running water and, of course, no power – electrical or political.

They had not yet been recognised as citizens.

I was not aware of any police raids to steal children from “The Yumba”.

But, even as a youngster, I was familiar with the ‘colour bar’ that excluded Aborigines from most hotels.

But all of that was close to eighty years ago.

Surely we are a better nation now.

As to the Referendum on The Voice, it is not a big ask to acknowledge in the constitution that the Aborigines were here before Captain Arthur Phillip and our forefathers— by some 60,000 years.

As for the terrible consequences often foreshadowed by the naysayers, if the referendum should be successful I have no fear.

The radical proponents of the no vote know full well that the vote is not a handover of legislative power, (and) that the Government may, or may not, act on the advice of the Advisory Body that will be set up if the Referendum is successful.

I hope with all my heart for confirmation that Australia has come at least this far in my relatively long lifetime.

– Merv Welch, The Palms.