Get in the know
If I was unsure of the Use By date on my yoghurt Peter Duttons if you don't know, say no would be helpful.
But its not at all helpful in guiding my vote in our upcoming referendum.
In other parts of my life, if I don't know, I Google reputable experts, I read, I ask people I respect for advice.
I try to understand. If I always just said no, my life would be very limited indeed.
And its limits on lives that are at stake in the upcoming Voice referendum.
The stakes are high, a point not lost on Indigenous Australians.
That's why polling consistently indicates that 80 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians say 'yes' to The Voice.
It provides an opportunity for them to be heard on matters that impact them.
If your not sure that voting yes will improve the lives of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders neighbours, go to The Voice website - https://voice.gov.au/ and get in the know.
Karen Campbell, Geelong
The Voice, try to understand it
like most Australians I can't understand it because the PM desperately refuses to give us any details (until after the vote).
Without bipartisan support or the courtesy of a Convention to debate before hastily trying to trick us into including a race-based body in our founding Constitution.
I'm afraid that the worst thing that could happen to Australia is if 96 per cent of the population is irreversibly exposed to decades of litigation in the High Court against federal, state and local governments resulting in a dysfunctional federal Parliament.
With legislation subject to constant adjudication, taxpayers, ratepayers, mum and dad investors in public companies like BHP and AMP and superannuants forced to pay billions of dollars to the other four per cent as compensation for past events (for which present Australians cannot be held responsible) possibly making them, and dozens of barristers, the most powerful and wealthy classes in a resentful and permanently divided nation.
Peter Lawson, Cleveland, Queensland
A shameful cop out
The No campaign has come up with the shameful cop out, "If you don't know, vote 'no'".
It is a blatant attempt to encourage those who are unsure to take the easy option and vote No.
On the other hand, the Yes campaign's message, with Farnham's "you're the voice, try and understand it", is positive and encourages us to be responsible and find out.
The Electoral Commission's referendum booklet is in our mailboxes and online at aec.gov.au/referendums/files/pamphlet/referendum-booklet.pdf
It's all that is needed.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
An invitation for Anne Webster
MEMBER for Mallee Anne Webster, you have been a committed supporter of the campaign to vote "no" at the Voice referendum.
With Australians about to head to the polls, now seems a good time to explore some of the arguments you've tabled for voting "no".
"What I don't want to see is Australia divided," you said in June.
"(The Voice means) there will be two societies, two races, literally ... Indigenous and everybody else who is not," you said in May.
Here's what a divided, two-society nation looks like: An Indigenous child is twice as likely to die than a non-Indigenous child, according to the Closing The Gap Report 2020.
About one in four Indigenous Year 9 students are below national minimum reading standards compared to about one in 20 non-Indigenous students.
A third of Indigenous Australians aged 20 to 24 haven't completed Year 12, compared to one in 10 non-Indigenous Australians.
Half of Indigenous Australians are employed, compared to three-quarters of non-Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous men are dying 8.6 years younger and Indigenous women 7.8 years younger than their non-Indigenous counterparts.
"The people of Mallee care about Closing the Gap for Indigenous health, education and life outcomes, but they're simply not convinced that the Voice will fix any of those issues," you said in July.
Such concerns are reasonable. We don't have any evidence for what a Voice will or won't achieve because it doesn't exist yet.
What we do have evidence of, though, is what not having a Voice has achieved - see the above figures. You can agree, these are hardly "convincing".
"The Prime Minister tells us the referendum is just a modest proposal for recognition in the Constitution - no argument here," you told parliament last month.
Great - you support constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.
"It's essential that the politicians should leave Canberra and visit Indigenous communities, sit in town halls, missions and campfires," you said in May.
Great - you support listening to the voices of Indigenous Australians.
"The proposed Voice is by far the most radical change we've considered to the Constitution since World War II," you said in July.
OK - two hold-ups there. Let's start with it being "radical".
The Voice would not have a veto power. It would not make laws. It would be an advisory body.
The parliament would still be the parliament. It would remain responsible for legislation.
In fact, the parliament would make the laws on the Voice's composition, functions, powers and procedures, as detailed by the proposed constitutional amendment.
Voters are simply being asked whether to establish a body called the Voice, which may make representations to the parliament and government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Perhaps your concern is more about this being a "change ... to the Constitution". Let's look at that.
The Voice would be a fifth attempt in 50 years to establish a representative Aboriginal body to advise the government.
Here lies the importance of putting the Voice in the constitution: Its very existence won't be subject to the whims of the government of the day.
It can't be taken away.
Michael DiFabrizio, Mildura
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