Has MP Linda Burney (finally) gave a valid argument for the Voice?

Image: slovegrove, iStock

Later this year, Australians will vote in a referendum. It’ll ask whether Indigenous Australians should have recognition and a representative body, known as ‘the Voice’, enshrined in Australia’s Constitution.

Throughout the debate, I’ve been on the fence. In my opinion, so far, the arguments for the ‘Yes’ case have been weak. The aims of the body have been too vague; just worn out platitudes and phrases.

The ‘No’ case hasn’t been compelling, either. There’s been a lot of fear mongering. A lot like there was during the same – sex marriage debate. On Chris Kenny Tonight, journalist/ commentator, Chris Kenny, frequently criticises opponents to ‘The Voice’ of fear – mongering.

Has MP Linda Burneyprovided a solid argument for the Voice?

Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney took to a press conference, arguing for an Aboriginal Voice to Parliament.

Labor MP, Linda Burney addressed the National Press Club during NAIDOC Week. She argued that steps to the Closing the Gap are still needed. Australian governments — both State and Federal — weren’t doing enough. And too often, policies were imposed without consultation.

The first question I want to address today is ‘why is ‘The Voice’ needed? And the simple answer is, because the gap isn’t closing fast enough. For far too long, governments have made policies for Indigenous Australians, not with Indigenous Australians. We need a Voice to change that.

Burney pointed out numerous areas where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over – represented, including:

  • That ATSI people are fifty – five times more likely to die prematurely of rheumatic heart disease
  • ATSI young people are twenty – four times more likely to be incarcerated
  • Homelessness
  • ATSI peopke are twice as likely to die by suicide
  • Only four out of nineteen of Close the Gap’s targets are making progress.

So, what will the Voice do?

This is why I’ve been on the fence. Until now, the ‘Voice’ debatehas bedn clouded with fluff and cliches, at least in the media. To Burney’s credit, she was (seemingly) more informative.

She said the Voice — which should be in the Constitution, not just legislated — was about “advice”.

The body will consist of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across generations, geography and genders. Burney suggested that they focus on four key areas: housing, education, jobs and health.

She said that the body would be tasked in taking “the/long view”, and not be affected by election cycles.

After that, Burney’s speech fell flat. She accused the proponents of the ‘No’ case of “Trump – style politics” and spreading false information. She only called out One Nation’s Pauline Hanson by name.

She didn’t address Indigenous people, such as Senator Jacinta Nampijimpa Price and Warren Mundine who are also against the Voice.

Has Burney’s speech affected my view?

So, has Linda Burney’s speech affected my view? Well…. I was already sympathetic to the ‘Yes’ case. And as I’ve said, kudos to Linda Burney for actually explaining what ‘The Voice’ will (supposedly) do.

Will ‘The Voice’ end up being a bureaucratic mess? That’s a concern still in the back of my mind.

However, if the Indigenous Voice to Parliament does what Burney argues it will, I can see its benefit. If it helps to close the gap, then go for it. If it helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people flesh out what they need from governments and, ultimately improve their lives, then great.

But is it guaranteed?

What are your views? Are you for or against the Voice? Why or why not? Are you on the fence? Let me know your thoughts below.

Channel Nine slammed over Shane Warne drama

Win Network was slammed for two – part Shane Warne drama, which first aired on Sunday 25 June

Last Sunday, (25 June AEST), a first of the two – part telemovie, Warne premiered. As the name suggest, the mini – series was about the late Australian cricket great, Shane Warne.

This is just over a year after Warne died suddenly, aged fifty – two in Thailand.

His ex – wife, Simone Callahan has been a vocal critic of the show. She told the Herald Sun:

I haven’t wanted to read too much about it, but I think it’s a bit unkind and mean-spirited to be honest.

Simone Callahan slams Warnie telemovie as ‘unkind’ and mean- spirited’, 20 June 2023

Callahan isn”t the only one to criticise the show.

Warne’s daughter, Brooke slammed the telemovie when it was announced. She expressed concerns with Nine’s Jo Hall and radio personality, Dee Dee Dunleavy.

She shared similar criticisms to Callahan:

With the extra media scrutiny created by dad’s passing I need to stay mindful to deal with the attention.

Especially with the negative aspect, such as the total disrespect shown by Channel 9 in creating a biopic about dad so soon after he passed.

On her Instagram story, Ms Warne condemned Nine again, bringing up his time working with the network:

Do any of you have any respect for dad? Or his family? Who did so much for Channel 9 and now you want to dramatise his life and our family’s life six months after he passed away? You are beyond disrespectful.

Alex Williams’ response

Alex Williams, who played Warne tried to ignore the controversy and focused on emulating Warne.

He insisted that the mini – series was made with love. It was made to celebrate his life and career.

While he sympathised with those still mourning Warne, Williams put the onus back on the critics:

For those people who don’t feel like it’s time for them for them to watch it, then don’t watch it.

Alex Williams’ response to ‘Warne’ telemovie controversy “Alex Williams on portraying Shane Warne and dealing with the backlash”, James McKern,, 25 June 2023

Williams claimed that Warne’s fanily members who saw the telemovie gave positive feedback.

My take: Was ‘Warne’ a good tribute? Or exploitation?

I have to say, I only saw the first five minutes or so of the first episode. The trailer that was used to promote the show left a bad taste in my mouth. Frankly, I thought it was tacky.

Why was Warne’s death mentioned so early on in the first episode? Why not solely focus on his career before and after cricket?

Also, let’s talk about timing. How dare Channel Nine plan to capitalise on Shane Warne only months after his death?

I’m not blaming Alex Williams. He’s heart is probably in the right place. He wanted to celebrate Shane Warne’s life. But Channel Nine should have had a bit more sensitivity and common sense. Especially since he worked for them, both as a cricketer and commentator.

Did you see Warne? Do you think it was too soon? Or was it a good tribute?