Labor Party's Voice

Labor Party’s Hypocrisy Promoting the Voice is Appalling – Why I Am Voting NO!

4 October 2023

9.6 MINS

When you skim-read the initial Voice proposal, it seems eminently sensible. I mean, why would anyone vote NO to such a positive proposal to help our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ?

The scriptures exhort us to look after the poor and needy. Proverbs 19:17 says, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”

If anyone is poor and needy, in the broad sense, it is the Indigenous people of Australia.

Sadly, to this day, we still have a large gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

  • Indigenous Australians have significantly higher bad health issues than non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Indigenous men die 6 years earlier than non-Indigenous males. The rates are very similar for women.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for Indigenous people. In 2021, suicide accounted for 5.3% of all deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, while the comparable proportion for non-Indigenous Australians was 1.8% (SBS 2022a).
  • In 2018, the employment rate for Indigenous Australians was around 49%, compared to 75% for non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Indigenous employment varied by remoteness. Major cities had the lowest unemployment rate at around 59%, compared to 35% in very remote areas.
  • Indigenous adults had a lower median gross household weekly income than non-Indigenous adults ($825 compared with $1,141).
  • The education gap is also significant. By school leaving age, the average Indigenous Australian student is around two and a half years behind the average non-Indigenous student.
  • Indigenous people are nine times more likely to be in jail than non-Indigenous people. Currently, Indigenous people are one of the most incarcerated people groups on the face of this earth.
  • Family breakdown and fatherlessness are endemic in Indigenous communities. This is the case more so in remote communities where alcohol and drug abuse are often massive issues. Porn and gambling addictions also fuel the crisis.

The above figures show we should be doing all we can for our Indigenous brothers and sisters. Having said that, the challenges that Indigenous Communities face, particularly remote communities, are extremely complex, as Indigenous academic and no voter Dr Anthony Dillon points out. The video interview Dillion did with former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, called “The True Cause of Indigenous Disadvantage,” is really worth the watch.

 

My wife and I have long had a burden to help the Indigenous people of Australia. I believe this burden is in my DNA from my father’s side. My Dad, Harry H. Marsh, was a strong Bible-believing Christian with a deep love for two particular people groups, the Jewish people and Indigenous people. Interestingly, both these people groups have suffered terrible dispossession.

We often had Indigenous people as guests in our home from the early 1960s. This was a time when it was highly unfashionable to have Indigenous people in one’s home. For me, growing up, it was normal.

Gesture of Repentance

I remember, as an 11-year-old boy, that my dad hired a semi-trailer and draped himself in Union Jack flag, while publicly washing an Aboriginal man’s feet. He then poured ashes on his head with the Union Jack flag draped over him and held up a Bible. This all took place in Martin Place, Sydney and was on national TV.

Frankly, at the time, I was a bit embarrassed because my dad never really explained what he was doing. From that time on, my schoolmates called my dad ‘Ashes’. I was accused of being a ‘Boong’ lover (a derogatory term at the time for Indigenous people).

Whilst I did not fully understand what my dad had done at the time, I took that epitaph ‘Boong lover’ as a badge of honour. I knew my dad’s deep, practical love for our Indigenous brothers and sisters was not a token gesture, but profoundly real and practical.

Looking back now, I realise that my dad’s actions in April/May 1967 were a prophetic and historic act of repentance for colonial dispossession and oppression. You see, this act of repentance took place in the lead-up to the momentous 1967 referendum. The purpose of the 1967 referendum was to include Aboriginal people in the census and allow state and federal governments to make laws for the benefit of Aboriginal people.

The vote was carried with a 91% majority vote. It was largely symbolic but profoundly important, and signalled a period of positive improvement and recognition for Indigenous people.

Personal Impact

Interestingly, the apple has not fallen far from the tree. My wife and I have been deeply involved in working with Indigenous people now for almost 40 years.

I have four men who I would regard as fathers in the faith. Two are Indigenous men of God, and two are non-Indigenous. The non-Indigenous are my father Harry Horatio Marsh (1910-1984) and Ps Bill Beard (1933-2000), who also had a deep love for Australia’s Indigenous people.

The two Indigenous fathers in the faith for me are evangelist Ps Peter Morgan (1930-2004), a mighty man of God from Darwin who raised six people from the dead, and Ps Ron Williams (1940-2003) from Kalgoorlie, WA, who arguably was the firestick (initiator) for the ministry of Dads4Kids.

If I have any credit, it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants in the faith. As the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:15, ‘For though you might have ten thousand teachers in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers’

We launched out in music and evangelism as full-time ministers of the Gospel, with our family, in 1990. We set out on a year’s trip around Australia with a coaster bus and caravan in tow. Our goal was the far-flung places that never receive much ministry – the country towns, schools, jails and occasionally big cities.

Over the next decade or so, we played music in over one hundred Indigenous communities all over Australia, mainly in WA, SA, NT, QLD and NSW. We developed deep friendships with tribal Indigenous people and also those Indigenous people who live on the East coast.

From 1996-1998, I worked closely with Ps Peter Walker to coordinate the Praise Corroboree at Parliament House, Canberra. The Praise Corroboree was based on 2 Chronicles 7:14 and was essentially a cross-cultural 24/7 prayer and worship gathering to glorify God. It was also set up to give a voice to the ministries of Indigenous people. Watch the video below to get the big picture –

 

In 2015, we again sprang into action to help Ps Peter Walker and the Indigenous people have a voice about the proposed redefinition of marriage. Together, we formulated the Uluru Bark Petition, a biblical statement in both Pitjantjatjara and English about the revered nature of marriage as ONLY being between one man and one woman. For our Indigenous people of this nation, this was something very sacred. Marriage, for them, is beyond definition. It cannot be other than what it is!

 

Interestingly, Indigenous tribal law is very similar to Mosaic law. Ps Ron Williams used to say to me often, “Warwick, the Bible is tribal.” Truth be told, the Bible makes more sense to Indigenous people than it does to white people. Indigenous people understand the blood covenant, initiation, clans and many concepts in the Bible better than white people do. They have so much to teach us and share with us — the question is, are we prepared to listen?

Tone-Deaf

When it comes to listening, white Australia, and particularly our government, from both sides of the political divide, have not been good listeners. Sadly, the Labor Party is by far the worse. Yes, they listen to Indigenous radical activists who represent 10% of indigenous people, but ignore the other 90% of indigenous people who just want to get on with life and see genuine improvement for their people.

The question to be decided at the referendum to be held on 14 October 2023 asks:

“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”

The real question is: “Should we create another layer of bureaucracy called The Voice controlled by radical indigenous activists who are picked by radical indigenous activists to help us listen better but only to them?”

My simple answer is NO. As Senator Jacinta Price said, “Indigenous people don’t need a voice; they need ears in Canberra”. Jacinta’s mother Bess Nungarrayi Price expressed her deep opposition to the voice in an article called, “The Voice: Making Life Even Worse for Us.”

Both the current Labor Federal Government and NT Labor Government have dismantled important provisions which were set up at the request of Aboriginal women in the outback communities to protect Indigenous women and children.

Alice Springs became a war zone as a result, as did many communities in the Northern Territory. My wife and I saw it with our own eyes in November last year. Senator Jacinta Price’s heartbreaking video gives the story.

 

This inability to listen goes back a long way. The Australian Prime Minister of 1937-38 also did not listen to Indigenous Christian leader Ps William Cooper, secretary of the Australian Aboriginal League, when he campaigned for a fair go for Indigenous people. NAIDOC Week survives to this day because of him.

Nor did the government of the day listen to William Cooper when he marched in the hot sun on 6 December 1938 to the German Consulate to protest the ‘cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government of Germany’.

Speaking personally, I have seen the truth of Jacinta’s words that the Indigenous people don’t need a voice, so much as they need others to have hearing ears. As the coordinator of the Praise Corroboree 1996-1998, I was constantly disappointed by the lack of engagement from both Liberal and Labor parliamentarians.

Thankfully, then-Prime Minister John Howard met with the Praise Corroboree indigenous leaders twice, and many Christian Liberal parliamentarians did the same. However, the Labor Party gave Indigenous leaders the cold shoulder and refused to meet with the Indigenous people who had travelled thousands of kilometres to meet with them. Yet, this same party is promoting The Voice.

Exactly the same sort of thing happened in 2015 when Ps Peter Walker and I gathered Indigenous Elders from all over Australia to go to Canberra to present the Uluru Bark Petition to Parliament. Thankfully, some Liberal leaders graciously met with Indigenous representatives and even gave supportive speeches. But sadly, the Labor Party would neither meet nor listen to these Indigenous Elders.

The Albanese Labor Government’s hypocrisy about promoting ‘a voice’ is utterly disgraceful. They have shown themselves to be totally incapable of hearing what the Indigenous people are saying or speaking about. Young indigenous activist against the voice, Myles Jerrard, claims, “It’s not my voice,” and makes the point well.

Real Voices

Interestingly, 90% of my Indigenous friends from all over Australia are against The Voice, including my dear friend, Ps Peter Walker. Many non-Christian Indigenous people say that the majority of Indigenous people are also against the Voice and will vote NO in the referendum. Many say it will divide us rather than bring us together.  I believe them.

I have not publicly shared my opinion about The Voice previously, mainly because I did not want to offend my Indigenous friends. But I, too, had believed the untruth spruiked by the Labor Party that the majority of Indigenous people supported the Voice. That, my friends, is simply a lie!

My Indigenous mate Ps James Dargin has co-authored an article called, “10 Reasons Why a Christian Should Vote Against the Voice“. James has done a brilliant video with ten reasons why Christians should vote NO to the voice.

I agree with every one of them.

Watch it below.

Well, I have one more thing to say, but I will let Dilipuma from Elcho Island say it. I stole her quote from an article by Paul Santamaria titled, “The Voice is a Serious Risk to Our Social Fabric.” I played music with my family in Elcho Island 22 years ago. I have never met Dilipuma, but she sure has a way with words. What more can I say?

“English is not our first language, and we live very traditional lives in a modern world. We have already Aboriginal people elected into Parliament to represent us, but they don’t. Federal funding allocated to people like me doesn’t reach us. We never see a politician until election time; they come with promises and lies, get our vote then disappear.

“The Voice is being pushed by black elites for their agenda, these black elites don’t live like I do and my people. In overcrowded homes, minimum 10, maximum 30 people to a three-bedroom house. Chronic illnesses, poverty, unemployment, low education rates, suicide, mental health, child removals, youth crime, general crime and deaths on a daily basis.

“I lost 13 members of my family in one year; that’s an average of one death a month.

“I know these black elites are selling the Voice as something good for us remote and isolated Aboriginal people who live the life they don’t. But it will do nothing for us, it will just give the black elites more power to abuse. We are out of mind and out of sight.

“We are ignored on a daily basis, we need action on the ground given to grassroots people like myself and we need money to run programs that we know will work for our people in our regions.

“It is not one size fits all when it comes to Aboriginal issues. Aboriginal dysfunction is a billion-dollar industry created by successive governments, policy failures over the generations.

“We are all Australians and protected by the same Constitution; these black elites are using remote Aboriginal people as bait for their own personal and political gain. I have been an advocate for Aboriginal people since I was a child, marching with my mother, working in services that are supposed to help my people, so why would I not support a Voice to Parliament if I believed it would benefit my people? It’s a hidden agenda under the disguise of Aboriginal empowerment.

“They can do what they are saying they will do without a Voice to Parliament and changing the Constitution. This is dangerous move, we must protect the Australian Constitution with all our might; we cannot allow these people to use emotional blackmail and guilt to secure their abuse of power forever. Remember, once they are in, that is it.

“We already have a National Indigenous Australians Agency, aka NIAA. They have an office next to the Marthakal Motel [on Elcho Island] which is abandoned and has no representation or people working there. The Morrison government created it and the 2022-23 budget is $4.4 billion. I have not seen one NIAA employee in Galiwinku which has an office for them during the whole of 2022 and this year. Imagine if a Voice is created with constitutional rights?”

___

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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8 Comments

  1. Jim Twelves 3 October 2023 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Warwick wow, from the heart! Thank you so much. This is an important read, I hope it gets read by many.

    • Samuel Hartwich 12 October 2023 at 9:41 am - Reply

      100%!

  2. Bill Kezelos 4 October 2023 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Thank you Warwick for stating your view! Don’t be worried about offending people next time. Always make a stand for the truth. There are many voices out there but you have a responsibility before God to give a clear message to all readers of The daily declaration.

  3. Esther Wischer 9 October 2023 at 11:55 am - Reply

    God bless you, Warwick, for speaking the truth! If only Christian leaders would listen! Why are they being blinded by Satan’s agenda?

  4. John Langlois 9 October 2023 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    The substance of this is an excellent reason why a voice to parliament (not Just the current party in power) is so necessary. It’s a good reason to enshrine it in the constitution so it can’t be dismissed, and it would be an excellent place for Price and Mundine to continue their advocacy after they finish with party politics.

    • Warwick Marsh 11 October 2023 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      John. the treachery of the political class is a good reason to reject the voice and vote NO!!!!!!!

  5. Warwick Marsh 10 October 2023 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Dear Esther, Bill & Jim
    Thank you for your encouraging words. Yes i pray more people read this article before they vote.
    Much love
    Warwick Marsh

  6. Katie 14 October 2023 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    God bless you richly Warwick. We love your heart for Christ and for our First Nation peoples. There has been much confusion around The Voice and we know confusion comes from the enemy. Thank you for taking the time to share this important clear perspective at this critical time for our beloved nation.

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