Who Qualifies For The Voice?

The so-called ‘Voice to Parliament’ is a proposal for a race-based advisory body established via a referendum to amend Australia’s Constitution. We have only just commenced this corrosive process and already, we are seeing more questions than answers.

I oppose the Voice as a matter of principle. It is a cynical attempt to divide Australians by race and distract them from those contemporary issues which the government would otherwise be defending like the cost of living, inflation, and mortgage stress.

Definition Lacking

That said, one of the key issues being whispered around the dinner tables and front bars of our country, involves the question of who will qualify as a representative of the Voice and on what terms? To put it more bluntly, who will be deemed an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander? It appears to be a question that politics is too afraid to ask but is as critical an issue as any associated with this frolic.

During the last round of Senate estimates, I asked the Attorney General’s Department that very question, and the responses were underwhelming to say the least. After some bureaucratic fumbling, I was directed to the three-part test which has been used to determine Aboriginality since the Mabo High Court decision of 1992. I explained that I was familiar with the test, which has three criteria: descent or lineage, self-identification, and acceptance by the local Indigenous community. However, what I wanted the department to explain was how descent is established. In other words, how does one prove that they are Indigenous for the purposes of the ‘Voice,’ or any legal matter (for example, government grants)?

One would think this a simple question for a government seeking to establish a Constitutionally enshrined advisory board on Indigenous matters but, just as the Department of Health couldn’t tell me what a woman is, the Attorney General’s Department couldn’t seem to tell me how Indigenous people are identified, so I pressed the issue. Is one considered Indigenous if they have one grandparent, or one great, great, great grandparent, who was Indigenous?

Predictably, I was informed that this line of questioning was ‘not appropriate’, and the Labor minister at the table called my line of questioning ‘borderline racist’. I wonder if the minister views all Australians who are concerned about the lack of transparency regarding the Voice to Parliament in this way. It’s unfortunate that name-calling, guilt-tripping, and accusing opponents of various ‘isms’ and ‘phobias’ is all they have, given their lack of clear answers.

Furthermore, when I asked whether the department was concerned about people falsely identifying as indigenous, I was informed that this question was too ‘hypothetical’.

One would think that getting this simple matter bolted down would be a top priority for the Labor government, but this is not the case. The reason is simple: the ‘Voice’ is not about helping Indigenous Australians, but about further expanding the bureaucratic class, trashing our heritage, and exacerbating the victimhood mindset that the left uses to make people dependants.

Avoiding Real Issues

We can expect more name-calling as the debate goes on. Such accusations are a cudgel that the left have been able to wield for too long. We must stop being afraid of being called names. If an opponent resorts to such actions, you know you are winning.

Meanwhile, details about the ‘Voice,’ such as who will qualify, how candidates will be selected remain opaque. Surely the millions of dollars the ‘Voice’ referendum will cost taxpayers could be used in a more beneficial way.

Fundamentally, the details of the ‘Voice’ are not the issue. Australia is already too divided along the lines of race due to the woke takeover of our bureaucracies, especially our education system, and the media. White children are taught to be ashamed of their heritage, and Indigenous children are taught that they are being held back by ‘systemic racism’. The fundamental assumption behind the ‘Voice’ is that Indigenous people don’t have a say in our political system – a claim that is blatantly untrue.

Unity Needed

We do not need more racial division or welfare state solutions in Australia; we need unity, appreciation of our heritage, and practical solutions. As my colleague Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has said, ‘We don’t need a voice, we need ears.’ Never mind an Indigenous ‘Voice to Parliament’, Senator Nampijinpa Price is an Indigenous voice in Parliament. Of course, her approach to Indigenous issues is not well received by Labor and the Greens. If they and the bureaucrats in Canberra listened to her voice, they wouldn’t get to feel good about themselves for doing nothing except unnecessarily altering our Constitution to create more jobs for bureaucrats in Canberra.

Identity politics and victim culture, two tools in the so-called progressive playbook for gaining and maintaining control, are tearing this country apart. Australians should not be divided by their race. The politics of sentimentality must come to an end. If the government can’t even tell us how Aboriginality is defined for legal purposes, why are we even discussing the ‘Voice to Parliament’? Simply put, if Labor were interested in helping aboriginal people, they’d do that, rather than wasting our time and money over the ‘Voice.’

Saying no to the Voice doesn’t make you a racist. Australians will not be bullied.


Originally published at The Spectator Australia. Photo by Daniel Morton-Jones.

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The Dark Side of the Rainbow (Part 1)

How I accidentally fell into a fight to stop the sexualisation of my kids.

On 25th November 2022, our morning routine had gone well. It was time to take the kids to school and I was on a bit of a run with hitting my daily step goal, so I thought I’d walk my daughter to her primary school.

This led me to walk past the school office (not my normal path when driving to school) and to my surprise see a sign on the office door from the organisation Minus18 that read, “All Sexualities, Genders, Identities and Cultures Welcome Here.”

rainbow squad

How strange, I thought. For a start, kids don’t have sexualities, and there are only two genders at the school and in real life (boys and girls), and the school seemed like a welcoming place, so why did we need an inappropriate sign?

My daughter is quite a good reader and she could easily read this and ask me about it. I don’t want her to think about this, she’s six. She should be learning the fundamentals at school and having fun with her friends.

Speaking Up

What to do with this sign? Let it go, it’s just a sign? Or raise my concerns because if they’ve put up a sign like this, what else is going on that I’m not aware of?

After a week or so, I finally plucked up the courage to meet with the Principal. After an email with the school administration staff, we arranged for her to meet me on 6th December.

On the 6th, I headed into the school, extremely nervous. Hoping for a good outcome. Hoping to raise the issue of sexualising our kids and to get a fair hearing. But before I was even able to meet with the Principal as I arrived for our meeting, it became apparent that though I thought I’d come to speak about one poster, I was dealing with something much more significant.

When I walked into the office, I was met with multiple signs from the LGBTI+ movement. There was a giant rainbow flag hanging on the wall and multiple posters encouraging me to watch GAYBY BABY, telling me to be an ally, amongst other things. Now I’ve got no problem with people promoting their vision of the good life, but the sexualised nature of this seemed out of place in the office of a primary school.

So I was quite put off by what I saw in the office, but I tried not to let it worry me. Yes, we were no longer going to be talking about just one poster, but still, I was hoping we’d have a good meeting together.

Eventually, the Principal came out to meet me and we went to her office. This was probably the worst moment of my visit. As we walked in, I realised I wasn’t going to be having a chat with someone open to hearing me, but with what appeared to be a rainbow warrior.


The Principal’s office was quite stunning really. Her desk was draped in a rainbow flag. Her noticeboard was covered in LGBTI+ pamphlets and posters, and in the middle of them all was the Tasmanian State Premier, proudly telling me to become an ally.

Not only was the Principal drinking the Kool-Aid of sexualising our kids, but it seemed her office was designed to show me she did so with the backing of the government, all the way up to the Premier.

At this point, I should probably point out that if this was a secular club full of adults making up their own minds about how to live their lives, then in 21st-century Australia I’d expect a lot of rainbow information and LGBTI+ information. I’d also expect that as a Christian with traditional views to be in the minority.

But this is not an adult social club or secular workplace, it’s a school, and a primary school at that. And values and morals are the job of parents to impart to their children. Not only that, but there is something significantly different between homosexual identities and the gender fluidity/trans ideology flooding in under the rainbow flag. The two need to be separated.

But all that aside, as I sat there in the Principal’s office, to say I was put off by the sheer quantity of what I had seen in both offices is an understatement, and I don’t think our meeting went that well. I wasn’t as prepared as I should’ve been and she outgunned me. She didn’t agree that the poster was inappropriate, nor did she think it sexualised our kids.


I did however leave with one small win. The poster I argued was from an organisation that primary school kids had no business being made aware of (Minus18 — more on them another day) and in seeking to be inclusive, the sign actually excluded people of faith/religion (she tried to argue “cultures” included faith, but I explained quite clearly this is not the case).

I left the meeting overwhelmed, but with a verbal agreement from the Principal that she would take the sign down and put up a new sign that read “All Sexualities, Genders, Identities, Cultures, and FAITHS Welcome Here.” This would be more inclusive — and remove the Minus18 references from the school. Not ideal, but a small win I was happy to live with.

Two weeks passed. And the sign remained, though the Minus18 logo was taped over (and it was taped over on only one of the three copies of that sign I saw in the school). Where was the new sign?

Having had more time to reflect and having seen the Principal make no moves to do what she had said she would do, I sent her an email on 20th December saying I understood it was the end of the year and things were busy, so I’d made a better sign that was more inclusive. The sign was designed in the school colours and read, “Everyone Welcome Here.” I suggested she put this sign up as a good compromise that achieved maximum inclusion. How would she respond?


Her answer:

Thanks for your email. After our conversation, I spoke with staff and they were of the opinion that the word ‘identities’ encompasses ‘faith’.

Thank you for the poster you have developed, we’ll be happy to place those around the school too.

If I don’t see you again have a happy and safe holiday period and I look forward to seeing you again next year.


Rather shockingly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, she had completely dismissed me and failed to inform me of her intention to do nothing. One assumes that given our meeting was on 6 December that the conversation she referenced in her email to me on the 20th didn’t happen on the 19th and was most likely to have happened sometime in the week of the 12th-16th. We had a couple of back-and-forths where she continued to completely dismiss my concerns.

Later that day, I sent a long email to her outlining my concerns once again and my displeasure at her actions to marginalise me as a person of faith and sexualise our kids. I also noted that despite these disagreements, my desire was to work with her to see our school be a place where learners (students) thrive. I received no response, and have not to this day.

So what happened next? School holidays started the next day, and so we’ll pick the story up in Term 1 2023 (mid-March). I’d love to connect with you if you’ve had to face a battle like this in your school, especially if you’re in Tasmania, but anywhere really. Iron sharpens iron and the only way we can protect our kids is if we work together to defeat the sexualisation of children in secular education.  Subscribe to find out what happens next in my unfolding story.


Originally published at Chris’ Substack. Photo by Yan Krukau.

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Setting Voice Referendum Up to Fail

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Moira Deeming: Former ‘Labor Party Princess’

Just when you think all hope is lost for the Victorian Liberal Party to ever regain its conservative political roots, along comes a candidate like Moira Deeming. Deeming is the type of grassroots politician the luvvies love to hate; young, articulate, passionate, and an ex-progressive.

Which is precisely the reason they’ve given her the moniker ‘Labor Party Princess’. Quoting the great Robert Menzies in her maiden speech to parliament, Deeming captured something of your widespread appeal:

‘The real life of this nation is to be found in the home of the people who are nameless and unadvertised. And who, whatever their individual religion or dogma, see in their children their greatest contributions.’

In her own words, Deeming says, ‘She was born and bred on the political left coming from a long line of union leaders, card-carrying Labor Party members, and Labor MPs.’ Indeed, her great-grandfather was John Joseph Holland, a western suburbs Labor MP for over thirty-five years as well as a councillor for the city of Melbourne. All of which is to say, Deeming comes from ‘good Catholic Labor stock’.

Seeking Liberty

What would motivate her then to change to the Liberal side of politics? According to Deeming:

‘There is a long tradition in Australian politics of those raised on the gospel of unity who come to learn firsthand the value of liberty and who then switch to the liberal side of politics. Sadly, they’re often referred to as “Labor rats” but in reality, they were just ordinary people who foresaw the problems which are plaguing all political parties that refuse to tolerate independent thinking and the tragic consequences of idolising economies which are controlled by the State.’

After quoting the famous examples of three former Labor politicians who switched sides throughout their careers — such as former Prime Ministers Joseph Cook and Joseph Lyons as well as Warren Mundine — a former president of the Labor Party to chairman of CPAC — Deeming commented:

‘I grew up idolising the Left, unions, and the Labor Party. But when taken to an extreme, these ideals have a “dark side”. As a teenager, I witnessed first-hand the corruption and the coordinated bullying of anyone who doesn’t think and act in “unity” with the Left.’

Pernicious Pedagogy

For Deeming, her political paradigm shifted due to issues she observed firsthand as a teacher in state schools. Deeming said:

‘Lessons on tolerance were being replaced with lessons on inclusion. It wasn’t enough to just accept each other’s differences with respect. Now students were required to affirm and celebrate beliefs which they just did not share. Perfectly reasonable religious and moral differences were being framed as discriminatory, intolerant, and a new vocabulary was introduced categorising people as “allies” or “enemies”.

‘Instead of being inspired by history’s heroes, students were being chastised and even told to stand up in class and apologise for historical crimes they had neither committed nor condoned.

‘They were told that the physical world is on the brink of doom. But rather than assigning research projects to find practical solutions, they were being assigned activism as work. Including, social media awareness campaigns, ideological fundraisers, and even attendance at protests during school hours.

‘Instead of being taught the life-changing value of grit and character, my most vulnerable and disadvantaged students were being weighed down and discouraged with spectres of insurmountable social forces all arrayed against them; capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy.’

These are serious issues. And every Australian citizen should be alarmed at what is occurring in Victorian schools, because that particular state seems hell-bent on leading the way socially for the rest of the country.

Sex and Lies

According to Deeming though, the proverbial ‘final straw’ in her deciding to challenge the government was as follows:

‘I discovered that school policies and curriculums had been radically altered to remove almost every child safeguarding standard that we had.

‘Primary school children were being subjected to erotic sexual content.

‘Female students no longer had the right to single-sex sports teams, toilets or change rooms.

‘And teachers — like me — were being forced to secretly lie to parents about their children who were secretly living one gender at school and another gender at home.

‘I realised then that my teaching career was over because I simply would not ever do the things I was being asked to do.

‘I would never ask the class which sexual experiences they’d had and which they were willing to do. I would never tell girls to bind their breasts. I would never accuse gay students of being transphobic. I would never tell my female students they had to tolerate a male teacher supervising their change room. And I was never evergoing to lie to parents about what was going on with their own children at school.

‘But I also knew that if I spoke out that I was going to be vilified and that I would never work in a public school again. And that is exactly what happened.’

Somewhat surprisingly, even the Sun Herald joined in accusing Deeming of promoting ‘extremist views’, while Daniel Andrews resorted to his usual tactic of dismissing Ms Deeming’s concerns as ‘shameful’. But listening to Deeming’s maiden speech, there is nothing extreme, let alone shameful, about it.

Deeming explicitly called on the Victorian government to amend the law in three ways. First, to protect sex-based rights to protect female-only sports, changerooms, and other activities while ‘maintaining the safety and dignity of transgender people’. Second, to make it illegal for children to be present in brothels. And third, to make it legal for parents and clinicians to seek treatment that alleviates gender dysmorphic feelings in children.

Deeming is a politician with the courage which we need right now. Sadly, though, the Liberal Party leadership have basically thrown her under the proverbial bus, distancing themselves from her convictions.

How tragic. When a former ‘Labor Party Princess’ cannot find a home in a party supposed to represent Liberal democratic values. No wonder the Liberal party lost the last election with little prospect of winning the next.


Originally published at The Spectator Australia. Photo by Ennie Horvath.

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NSW’s Incredible Folding Premier

Team Rainbow’s inexorable march through the institutions has been marked by clear strategic phases. There was the legalisation phase, cheered on by most small-l liberals and just about everyone else. Not many people thought locking up homosexuals was a good idea. Then we had the same-sex marriage debate. Then came the adoption-of-children push and the normalisation-of-lifestyle phase.

After that, the anti-discrimination-in-employment campaign, with Christian and other religious schools professing hetero-normativity (aka homophobia, as the activists paint it) in the cross-hairs. This was and remains part of the broader affirmation phase. We all have to approve and to love, not just tolerate.

Now we arrive at the mopping-up operations. Resistors must be chased from the public square. Those who do not affirm “the other” are the enemy. This now includes those who seek to stand up for the rights of those experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction and who desire professional help. In some cases, members of this cohort of undetermined size want to diminish same-sex attraction, others to reverse it.  Still others just wish to make sense of it. Some even want to learn how to be chaste, once considered by many to be a virtue.

And so we arrive at the issue of so-called “gay conversion therapy”.

No Changing Sexual Attraction

In this context, the Sydney Morning Herald, now firmly part of the PGGW (progressive, green, globalist, woke) Channel Nine-ABC industrial complex, has sensed the whiff of an opportunity to again hoist the NSW Premier on a Catholic petard. The issue of church versus state has entered the NSW state election campaign, focusing attention on the Perrottet government and so-called gay conversion therapy. This amounts to a follow-up blow after the recent Four Corners hit job on Pared schools.

Australian states and territories, including Victoria, Queensland and the ACT, have moved to ban practices aimed at changing or suppressing the sexuality or gender identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual or gender and sexually diverse (LGBTQ) people. Legislation is also under preparation in Western Australia. However, the practice remains legal in NSW.

It is surprising that the Herald is “surprised”. After all, it has been leading the charge in politicising so-called conversion therapy. And it has worked in record time. The NSW Premier has caved, very quickly even for him, as he has on just about every cultural issue with which he has been confronted. His retreat was, sigh, entirely predictable.

Should Perrottet have surrendered on this issue? Is conversion therapy “atrocious”? Is it even conversion therapy?

“Counselling” is a more accurate and less loaded term than “therapy”. Banning it would be “a totalitarian act”, as the Queensland medico and bete noir of the rainbow coalition, David van Gend, has called what the Herald champions and the NSW Opposition proposes. He has told the story well, over and over.  Initially in response to the inevitable leader of the pack, Daniel Andrews. The compelling case van Gend has made is that this is an innocent and, in many cases, worthwhile practice. Very rarely is it “harmful”. As David says, ban therapy and you ban liberty.

There is something sick in the body politic when rigidly ideological politicians strive to prevent individuals from seeking their own well-being. This is a plea to keep political agendas out of the path of such individuals, to not ban their liberty by banning safe, effective, professional therapy all for the sake of enforcing this intolerant gay orthodoxy.

It seems that it is now intolerable for anyone to be homosexual (or even think they might be) and to not want to be — to want to bat for the other side, as we used to say. What about their rights? I am not seeing why those seeking help for a problem they identify in themself should be either branded “atrocious” or made illegal.

Van Gend talks about the ignorance and contempt for suffering displayed by those who seek to ban conversion therapy. What the rainbow activist position on this issue amounts to is either (a) an assertion that unwanted same-sex attraction does not exist, or (b) that it is utterly unimportant.  Either conclusion is quite damning for its position. In reality, unwanted same-sex attraction is an inconvenient truth always to be denied. Look, over there, at those homophobic religious bigots!

This is cruelty dressed up as a concern for the rights of homosexuals to be protected from what is seen by rainbow activists as oppression by the heterosexual state. Drawing on multiple peer-reviewed studies, van Gend calls the outcomes of counselling “overwhelmingly beneficial”, not ineffective and not harmful. Contrary to the conclusions of the anecdotal, statistically invalid, rent-a-victim approach of the inevitable and much-quoted La Trobe University hit job, the go-to text for activists.

Freedom vs Compulsion

Resources for the same-sex attracted are available internationally, and I assume that any forthcoming NSW legislation would make the provision of such resources illegal in the state.  The Catholic one is called Courage, which isn’t even about “conversion”, as the summary makes clear:

A Roman Catholic ministry that helps same-sex attracted men and women live chaste, holy and fulfilled lives, in accordance with the official teaching of the Catholic Church. They do not focus on recovering one’s heterosexual potential, but rather on learning to overcome the temptation to sin by giving over one’s life to Jesus Christ and by building healthy fellowship with others who share in similar struggles (emphasis added).  

Here is a question:  In the end, just who is converting whom here?  Who is doing the grooming?  The heterosexuals or the homosexuals?

On the one hand, we have a non-stop barrage of force-fed rainbow culture insinuating every sphere of life across the public square. We have all the funding grants, the community programs (like drag queens in libraries), the inculturation in schools and universities, the attempts by education departments to dress up grooming as “consent education”, the legislative strategies, the endless nudging by the legacy media and the rest.

No wonder there has been a substantial increase in people identifying as homosexual. (Just as there has been with people suddenly identifying in big numbers as Aboriginal). It is trendy and rewarding. One in six Gen Z Americans are homosexual, according to the Washington Post, part of the gay cheer squad. In the old days, it was thought to be about two per cent.

If the LGBT push has been part-recruitment drive, it has been extremely successful. Society has been groomed. The aforementioned La Trobe University has been at the forefront of the battle, a non-stop advocate for the march of gaydom that drove the notorious Safe Schools program, a front for the grooming of young people for the actively homosexual life.

On the other hand, we have religious and non-religious people who experience unwelcome and distressing same-sex attraction — and, as adolescents, many of us have been there — seeking help to overcome what they themselves see as an affliction. No victim status or sympathy for the gay refuseniks. We will make their suffering compulsory!


By the way, the targeting of Dominic Perrottet over the issue of conversion therapy and implied homophobia is a bit ironic, really.

The Perrottet Government is the gayest government since, well, Bob Carr’s. Think Gareth Ward — currently fighting sex abuse charges, alas — and the mercifully retired Don Harwin. Think Gladys rocking the Mardi Gras in her rainbow Liberals T-shirt. Think the Rainbow Coalitionists, aka the brokeback Nats. Most of all, think Sydney WorldPride month (or year, or decade, or whatever it is).  Here is the NSW Minister for the Arts and Tourism, one Ben Franklin:

“The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is a proud delivery partner of Sydney WorldPride and we welcome everyone to the Pride Villages to take the rainbow-coloured party to the streets for WorldPride,” Mr Franklin said.

“Pride Villages will create a vibrant festival atmosphere, giving an expected 78,000 visitors to Sydney free and open spaces to gather, celebrate and enjoy the festival.

“Sydney WorldPride 2023 will showcase NSW to the world and we’re anticipating more than 500,000 people will attend this global event which will inject $112 million into the NSW economy.

“Sydney will be buzzing with excitement and activity which will turbocharge our 24-hour economy, create jobs and support local businesses across our State.” 

Buzzing with excitement at the rainbow invasion! Even the Roads Minister is excited:

“Incredible pictures of 50,000 people marching across our iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge will be beamed across the world on 5 March, thanks to extensive planning…

That would be the same bridge that now has an Aboriginal flag and no New South Wales ensign atop it.  Perhaps by March 5, there will be a rainbow flag aloft. And here is the Sydney WorldPride website:

The NSW Government is proud to support Sydney WorldPride in 2023.

The NSW public service strives to be a reflection of the community it serves. We actively promote employee networks and campaigns that encourage understanding of inclusion and diversity, and are committed to creating an inclusive and supportive workplace for all.

Across the sector, we lead or participate in a wide range of LGBTQIA+ initiatives, including the Diversity Inclusion Network, and Diversity and Inclusion Council, established by the Department of Premier and Cabinet and NSW Treasury; the Transgender, Gender Diverse and Intersex Working Group established by NSW Police; and membership of the national, not-for-profit Pride in Diversity employer support program.

There you go! A homophobic government if ever there was one.

Team Rainbow has little need for dishonest, sneering leftist media editorials to champion their progress.  They have already captured the commanding heights of the debate. They have won. Meantime, the rights of the unwilling same-sex attracted even to pray with a sympathetic pastor are shredded. This is the age in which we live. Gay nirvana. And no sexual liberation for those would actually like to be “converted” the other way.

We have been groomed, and conned. Scammed. Colonised by rainbow grifters. It seems clear who is winning the conversion wars. And no one in New South Wales minded to resist the rainbow tsunami can look to this conservative Catholic Premier for assistance, or so it seems.

All of which raises a broader question: what is the point of even being in politics if you believe in things but simply set them aside as if they do not matter? Paraphrasing St Thomas More’s words to Richard Rich (as attributed to him by Robert Bolt in A Man For All Seasons), one might inquire of Premier Perrottet, “Dominic, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. But for New South Wales!”


By Paul Collits
Originally published at Quadrant Online. Photo by Anete Lusina.

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Treaty Now

The Cambridge Dictionary states that “treaty” is “a written agreement between two or more countries, formally approved and signed by their leaders”.

The Collins English Dictionary says, “A treaty is a written agreement between countries in which they agree to do a particular thing or to help each other.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “treaty” as “an agreement or arrangement made by negotiation.”  Specifically, the word refers to “a contract in writing between two or more political authorities (such as states or sovereigns) formally signed by representatives duly authorised and usually ratified by the lawmaking authority of the state”.  A secondary meaning is “a document in which such a contract is set down”.

Regardless of which dictionary you consult, the primary usage of the word “treaty” is in the context of international agreements.

“Treaty” in the Bible

The Israelites were forbidden to make treaties, or more accurately, to “make covenant”, with the Canaanites (Exodus 34:12).  This was because of the risk of religious apostasy and moral contamination that would thereby be involved.

However, Israel was situated in the midst of other nations.  Treaty arrangements of some sort with their neighbours were from time to time inevitable.

After the rise of the Israelite monarchy, treaties were common. David and Solomon had friendly relations with Hiram, king of Tyre. King Asa of Judah, to rid himself of the hostile approaches of King Baasha of Israel, entered into a league with Ben-hadad of Syria, which the prophet Hanani denounced (2 Chronicles 16:1-3). Ahab entered into a similar compact with Ben-hadad’s son and successor, and set him at liberty when he was his prisoner of war (1 Kings 20:34).

At a later time, Jehoshaphat joined Ahab in an expedition against Ben-hadad II to Ramoth-gilead in which Ahab lost his life (1 Kings 22). Then, with the rise of the ‘mega-empires’, the kings of Israel and Judah entered into treaties to resist their advances and to preserve their own independence. Sometimes with Syria and neighbouring states against the terrible Assyrian power, and sometimes with Egypt against Assyria or Babylon, Israel and Judah made treaties. The prophets spoke against such alliances (Isaiah 31:1; Jeremiah 27:3).

But take note! These arrangements, whether called “covenants” or “treaties”, were with other nations.  The Kingdom of Israel, and then the later divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, created international alliances formalised as “covenants” or “treaties”.

There is never any use of the word “treaty” to refer to a formal agreement between people groups within the nation.

Modern Distortion

Canada has adopted a distortion of the word “treaty”.

Because Canada recognises its indigenous peoples as “First Nations”, the Canadian Government has made treaties with the descendants of those ‘nations’.

So, in Canada, “treaty” also refers to “any of the formal agreements between Indian bands and the federal government by which the Indians surrender their land rights in return for various forms of aid”.

Of course, this is an example of ‘wanting your cake and eating it too’. If those so-called “First Nations” have not been, and are not, Canadians, then Canada could make treaties with them. But if they have enjoyed the rights and privileges of being Canadian citizens — voted in Canadian elections, served in the Canadian institutions of authority, accessed Canadian welfare benefits, and such like — then they are Canadians.

And no treaties were necessary!

And the treaties did not, of themselves, improve the lives of the descendants of those so-called “First Nations” peoples. Only God-answers can do that!

Blunt Honesty

The same call for “Treaty” is being made in our country. From Yothu Yindi’s 1991 Tribal Voice album to a screaming Senator Lidia Thorpe, the demand is for “Treaty Now”.

And the 2017 “Uluru Statement from the Heart” says, in part:

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle.  It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

The Voice to Parliament is not the end-game. It’s one step. Then there’s “a process of agreement-making” — in other words, a treaty — and “truth-telling”.

And notice the implicit assumption … the “First Nations” peoples and “the people of Australia” are two separate groups.

If the Aboriginal people are not Australians, why are Australian taxpayers putting billions of dollars each year into welfare and development projects in Aboriginal communities? Why are we allowing Aboriginal people to vote in Australian elections (and thereby giving them a voice to our parliaments)?

On the other hand, if the Aboriginal people are Australians, why is there an illogical demand for “Treaty Now”?  We should simply acknowledge that we are already ONE nation!

And we should be putting the God-answers in place to solve our problems!


Photo by Tara Winstead.

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Channel Ten’s The Project’s Crude Jesus Joke Controversy – A Christian Response

Earlier this week on the Channel Ten show The Project, comedian Reuben Kaye made a crude joke about Jesus on air and the hosts laughed along.

In response, many Christians and Muslims took offence and demanded an apology. Waleed Aly and Sarah Harris have issued a formal apology following backlash from the incident.

As Christians, there is a temptation to retaliate. To let those involved know how much offence and hurt they have caused. They were, after all insulting the One Who is most precious to us. As I watched the video, I wrestled with this temptation.

Some have raised their concerns about the fact that The Project is on at a time when families are gathered in front of the TV and little ears shouldn’t be exposed to crude jokes such as the one that was made, which I wholeheartedly agree with.

Christ’s Example

Now, returning to the response that we should take. As I reflect on the journey of Jesus to the cross, I see a man who did not retaliate.

I see a man who took no offence. A man who prayed for the ones spitting on Him and hurling insults. A man who knew His own innocence and yet did not defend Himself. In the face of false accusation, He remained silent.

Jesus, in a moment of excruciating pain, gazing over at the Roman soldiers, the Jewish leaders and perhaps even His disciples in the distance, utters the words, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

What amazing self-restraint and grace lies behind these words.

In a world that is becoming increasingly hostile towards Christians, we must reflect carefully on Jesus’s response to those from whom He faced hostility.

We have the opportunity to show the grace and love of Jesus to the very people who mock us; and we should, in fact, expect this hostility. In Jesus’ words, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.”

Divine Love

The human heart longs to experience true, unconditional love.

This love is exemplified in Jesus hanging on the cross, in our place, for the wrongs we have committed. The joke that was made referenced this very moment.

In an interesting twist, the very joke that was meant to mock the God I love, only brings more glory to Him. Because you see, the God Who has been mocked from the time He walked on this earth to this present moment knew that all humans would fail.

Fail to see Him as he is. Fail to worship Him as He deserves. And He still chose to be nailed to the cross.

Let us strive to exemplify this same level of love and grace to others, in the face of being misunderstood, falsely accused and ridiculed. Let us reflect our Saviour to a world that needs to experience a love that reaches beyond human understanding.

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Why Howard Government Refused to Say Sorry to Indigenous Australians

The Howard Government refused to issue an apology to Indigenous Australians in 2002 despite recommendations in a milestone report, primarily because it would have implied present-day generations were responsible for atrocities to generations of the past.

In cabinet minutes from 2002 released by the National Archives, the then-Coalition government agreed it would not issue any kind of apology or pursue a treaty between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

However, Cabinet did cautiously endorse an “acknowledgment of the special place of Indigenous people in the life and history of Australia” on certain occasions such as citizenship ceremonies, marking the first step towards the Acknowledgment and Welcome to Country that would become commonplace within coming decades.

Unwarranted Division

Fears that present-day Australians would be held responsible for atrocities of the past were behind the Howard government’s refusal to apologise to Indigenous Australians in 2002. Mr Ruddock told Cabinet that it should reject all recommendations dealing with a treaty and an apology.

“The government’s position on calls for an apology for the past treatment of Indigenous people is that it would be inappropriate to do so as it could imply that present generations are in some way responsible and accountable for the actions of earlier generations,” he said in his submission to Cabinet.

“The government’s position on calls for a treaty between Indigenous and other Australians is that to pursue such negotiations would be divisive, contrary to the concept of Australia as a single nation, could create legal uncertainty and that a treaty will not solve the critical issues facing Indigenous Australians.”

Mr Ruddock admitted the rejection of the recommendations would draw criticism, but that this would be nothing new to the Howard government. “The response is likely to be criticised as not committing to a national apology or negotiation of a treaty, but this criticism will not be new as the government’s position on these issues is already well known,” he said.


An apology to Indigenous Australians would be made by the Rudd government in 2008, despite members of the Coalition, including its current leader, Peter Dutton, voting against such a move. Since becoming opposition leader following the May election, Mr Dutton conceded he was wrong not to support the apology.

While refusing to support many of the recommendations in the report, Mr Ruddock backed the incorporation of “reconciliation values” in Commonwealth ceremonies. However, he noted such a move would need to be done gradually.

“The implementation of any such initiative could be gradual as changes to some ceremonies and protocols would require only administrative action, while others may involve changes to regulation,” he said. “I propose that the implications and feasibility of implementing changes to ceremonies identified be addressed by a limited life interdepartmental committee.”

Cabinet endorsed Mr Ruddock’s submission, which included the rejection of a preamble in the constitution that would recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as “the first peoples of Australia” and the refusal to enshrine Indigenous rights in a formal bill of rights. Instead, Cabinet noted that “the best guarantee of fundamental human rights is Australia’s vigorous and open political system, an incorruptible judicial system and a free press”.


In separate cabinet documents, the Howard government canvassed efforts to water down a draft declaration on the rights of Indigenous people being proposed by the United Nations, and to strip the phrase “self-determination” from such a document.

Self-determination was controversial at the time because “it has no settled meaning and can imply the establishment of separate nations or separate laws”, with Australia working bilaterally with Canada in particular to seek an alternative to such language in the UN declaration.

The move foreshadowed Australia’s refusal to sign the final declaration, along with Canada, New Zealand and the US, despite more than 140 countries doing so. It came just months before Kevin Rudd was elected in December 2007, with Australia eventually signing the declaration in 2009.


Cabinet documents also revealed the agreement to Mr Ruddock’s recommendation for a review into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, established by the Hawke government in 1990. Intended to be a body to give Indigenous people a say in policies affecting their lives, it came under criticism in following years, particularly for promoting the concept of self-determination.

Cabinet agreed a “small team” would investigate the role and “underlying issues” of ATSIC, which had not undergone a comprehensive review in its 12 years of operation. “ATSIC has evolved from an organisation focusing on delivering Commonwealth programs to Indigenous people and providing Indigenous policy advice to government, to a body more concerned with advocating Indigenous views on a range of issues and promoting a ‘rights’ agenda,” Mr Ruddock said in a submission to cabinet.

The proportion of Indigenous people who voted at ATSIC elections never exceeded a third of eligible voters and had been “falling marginally” since 1993, Mr Ruddock noted. “If ATSIC were seen as more relevant among Indigenous people in general, increases in the voter participation rate could be reasonably expected,” he said.

Rather than a “full-scale public assessment” by a high-ranking individual or group that would entail submissions and hearings, Mr Ruddock recommended a “lower profile process” with a small team agreed to by the prime minister that would talk to the ATSIC board and relevant parties before drafting a discussion paper for stakeholders.

ATSIC would be dissolved within three years of the review being triggered, with no replacement body announced until two decades later, when the Albanese government declared it would enshrine a voice to parliament by the end of 2023.


Originally published at Australian Prayer Network. Image: Batchelor Press/Wikimedia Commons

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