Former ABC anchor Kerry O’Brien has slammed Australia as a ‘racist country’ and lashed out at the media and politicians, as she campaigned for a Yes vote for Indigenous Voices in Parliament.
Kerry O’Brien, best known for the 15 years she hosted the ABC’s 7.30 Report and anchored its election coverage, joined ABC journalist Stan Grant on stage on Wednesday evening at an event in Sydney, billed as the ‘official launch of our campaign’. described. To support voice’.
The six-time Walkley winner – who published the Voice to Parliament handbook with Voice architect Thomas Mayo – told a crowd of around 1,000 people that Australia was a ‘racist country’ with ‘racism within us’.
“Applied not just to Aboriginal Australians, but to Indian Australians, Chinese Australians, Middle Eastern Australians,” he said.
‘The [Voice] The referendum becomes a powerful, symbolic statement of what we want to be as a nation, going to the core of our values.’
Kerry O’Brien (left, with Voice architect Thomas Mayo) on Wednesday denounced Australia as a ‘racist country’ and slammed the media and politicians as he campaigned for a Yes vote.
Mr O’Brien (pictured interviewing Barack Obama in 2010) is a six-time Walkley Award-winning journalist who fronted the ABC’s 7.30 Report and Four Corners during a 50-year career.
Mr O’Brien said a successful referendum later this year would prevent our country’s leaders – particularly the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary (offices currently held by Anthony Albanese and Penny Wong) – looking like ‘hypocrites’ abroad.
‘When our prime ministers and foreign ministers go to other countries and give speeches about their human rights abuses, maybe they won’t feel like hypocrites doing it,’ he said to rapturous cheers.
The event marks the first time Stan Grant has attended a public event since the Sydney Writers’ Festival in May.
Thereafter, he retreated from the public eye on the back of a disgust with the persistent ‘racism’ and media landscape.
Mr Grant told the crowd that he had personally noticed a significant increase in ‘polarisation and division’, lamenting living in an ‘age of lies, where even the truth is disputed’.
Addressing Mr. Mayo directly, he said there was no doubt that ‘First Nations people have reported an increase in racism’ amid the ongoing Voices debate.
‘I have a personal view on this and a personal experience with it,’ he said.
Mr O’Brien said a successful referendum later this year would prevent our country’s leaders – particularly the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary (currently the offices of Anthony Albanese and Penny Wong) – looking like ‘hypocrites’.
Kerry O’Brien is a six-time Walkley Award-winning journalist who fronted the ABC’s 7.30 Report and Four Corners.
Mr Grant revealed as he resigned indefinitely as host of the ABC’s Q+A that racist attacks on him after coverage of the King’s coronation reached such a fever pitch that he received death threats.
Mr Mayo said he too had been a victim of racist trolling which had taken its toll on him.
‘It has been a significant increase in racism. It was really hard,’ he said.
‘This is an attack on the indigenous people of this country, we cannot stop them. That is what they are trying to do.
‘Like myself, like Stan, don’t let that stop us.’
Advocating for the Voice, Mr O’Brien said Australia was a ‘racist country’ with ‘racism within us’
Mr Mayo revealed that he was also a victim of racist trolling which took its toll on him
Mr O’Brien similarly stepped in to criticize the media’s involvement in the Voice debate, describing his ‘deep disappointment’ at the way the conversation had unfolded.
He said, ‘The media is in a weak state. ‘This is part of the onslaught of the digital age. Newsrooms are stretched, younger, less experienced, they know less about history and perhaps don’t have the time or inclination to find out.
‘Media ownership is unhealthy, there is one owner who owns most of the news… so I am deeply disappointed by how this issue is being covered.’
Mr O’Brien took particular aim for an ad in the Australian Financial Review that ran and later apologized for it earlier this month.
‘It was despicable and despicable,’ Mr O’Brien said. ‘A newspaper front page ad that likes to think itself respectable.’
Mr Grant, at one point during the evening’s question and answer session, cited concerns about whether Voice would be entitled to representation at the Reserve Bank of Australia.
In March, Mr Mayo stood shoulder to shoulder with a tearful Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as the official wording of the referendum question was announced.
Stan Grant (left) addresses the leveled racism against him that prompted his decision to retreat from the public eye – architect of Parliament Thomas Mayer (right) sympathizes with Indigenous Voices
‘If they could lower the rates, that would be great,’ he quipped. The crowd cheered as well.
He said: ‘This is an important moment for our country. You don’t want to leave here uninformed, or misinformed.’
One of the most profound revelations of the night came from Professor Ann Twomey, who offered a thorough, in-depth analysis of what might happen if the referendum succeeds, but the advisory body it emerges from does not live up to expectations.
He reiterated what Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and the wider No campaign highlighted as the primary concern: once it’s written into the constitution, it’s here to stay.
‘The referendum guarantees the voice exists, you can’t take it away,’ he said.
But, there will be a ‘fire escape aspect’ that could provide future governments with a ‘get out’ clause to restructure the Voice ‘if it is not performing well, losing authority or not really focusing on important issues’.
Mayo has become one of Voice’s most prominent campaigners after contributing to the creation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017.
Australian Aboriginal Minister Linda Burney delivers a speech during a Voices to Parliament panel in Sydney
This loophole is because the Constitution will only state that there must be a voice and the right to be represented in Parliament.
But Professor Twomey said today’s government could legislate ‘to change how the voice is structured, the relationship with parliament and if they realize it’s not working properly, to reconfigure things to get a better voice’.
‘Parliament can regulate to make it more efficient to decide when and if Parliament will take representation into account.’
These amendments can be made as long as the primary function of the Voice – which is for it to exist and for it to speak to the government – is not abolished.
But Professor Toome also noted that he does not expect there to be any problems with voice access. Given committee members will be elected within their communities, he said it’s in their best interest to ensure they directly reflect the wishes of everyday First Nations people.
‘If the Voice focuses on parking tickets and subs, the community will not be very happy. They will be turfed very quickly,’ he said.
‘Voice won’t even have the resources to submit to irrelevant topics. They have to be focused.’
Here’s what we know about Voice to Parliament so far
Here, Daily Mail Australia looks at some of the key questions about Voice so far and how the government has dealt with them:
What kind of advice can the voice give to parliament and government?
VOICE will advise on issues that are directly related to indigenous peoples.
It will respond to requests made by the government, as well as have the ability to actively engage in issues it believes affect them.
The group will have its own resources to research issues and engage with communities at the grassroots level to ensure it best reflects their needs.
How will the members of the Voice be selected?
VOICE members will be appointed by Aboriginal communities and serve on the committee for a period of time, yet to be determined.
Local communities will agree with the government as part of a ‘post-referendum process’ to ensure cultural legitimacy in the way communities elect their representatives.
Who can be committee members?
Members of the Voice must be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
They will be chosen from each state and territory and have balanced gender representation nationally.
The government has also guaranteed that youth will be included in the committee to ensure representation across a wide spectrum of communities.
Will the voice be transparent?
The government said it would be subject to scrutiny and reporting requirements to ensure Voice remains accountable and transparent.
VOICE members will be held to the standards of the National Anti-Corruption Commission and will be sanctioned or removed from the committee if any misconduct is found.
Will the voice have veto power?
Will the Voice work independently of other government agencies?
The committee must respect the work and role of existing bodies, says the government.
Will Voice manage any funds?
Voice will not directly manage any funds or provide any services to the community.
Its sole role will be to make presentations on improvements to existing government programs and services and advise on new ideas coming through the parties.
Read Full News Here