A One Nation senator has come under fire for comparing the indigenous vote in parliament to apartheid in South Africa.
Queensland Senator Malcolm Roberts made the bizarre comment in a post on Twitter on Saturday.
He had responded to a tweet from ‘Australiana’ podcast host Will Kingston who had slammed The Voice at parliament.
“Australia, a modern Western democracy, is considering a proposal that would require racial testing to determine eligibility for a representative body,” he wrote.
Senator Roberts supported it, comparing it to the racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 to the early 1990s.
‘Success. The Voice is apartheid,” he wrote.
His comment comes as debate around the referendum continues to rage, with groups opposed to The Voice revealing how their ‘No’ campaign will differ greatly from the ‘Yes’ campaign.
One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts (pictured right with party leader Pauline Hanson) has sparked outrage by comparing The Voice to South Africa’s Apartheid racial segregation
Senator Roberts’ tweet drew many furious rebuttals online, including from people who claimed to have lived under Apartheid
Senator Roberts received a lot of criticism and outrage from social media users after his tweet.
“I lived under apartheid,” one person replied.
“You have no idea of the legal definition of apartheid.
“A system of domination, where one group is supreme over another, often transferring or removing them from their lands.
‘Yes, 3.2% of the population does that to us.’
Added a second: “Nothing nailed.” Apartheid is all about discrimination and oppression, while the voice is about giving ATSI people the opportunity to elevate their communities to standards the rest of us take for granted.”
Another wrote, “A comment like this suggests you’re not fit for public office, Malcolm.”
Apartheid was the white-dictated system of legal segregation of the races that prevailed in South Africa for nearly 50 years after World War II.
His comment comes less than a year after One Nation leader Pauline Hanson claimed in an extraordinary speech to the Senate in August 2022 that The Voice would be “Australia’s version of apartheid.”
“The risk is very real that the sovereignty that all Australians have over their land and land will be transferred to a racial minority,” she said.
Why does this have to be in the constitution? What is the real ulterior motive? This can only be about power – creating a nation within a nation.
“This can only be about taking power from the whites and giving it to the blacks. This is the Australian version of apartheid.’
Meanwhile, anti-Voice groups say they are countering the star and corporate power of the ‘yes’ campaign by mobilizing ‘ordinary Australians’.
Last week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he would ask indigenous sports stars to support the Voice, with the country’s main sporting bodies, such as the NRL and AFL, already on board.
Country Liberal Party Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, one of the most outspoken critics of the proposed Voice, says unlike the ‘yes’ campaign, the case against will be ‘driven by everyday Australians’
Country Liberal Party Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, one of the most outspoken critics of the proposed Voice, says that unlike the ‘yes’ campaign, the case against will be ‘driven by ordinary Australians’.
“We represent the silent Aboriginal Australians who don’t feel they are being heard in this debate,” she said.
Warren Mundine, a former Australian Labor Party president turned Liberal candidate, told Sky News that Indigenous communities had not been consulted about the Voice and had little understanding of it.
“Everywhere we go the vast majority of people have never heard of this voice and don’t know what it is, while some people have heard of it but say no one has come to talk to them about it ‘ said Mr Mundine.
“With the people who don’t know what it is, they’re not determined to say yes or no.”
Slogans driven out by Mr Mundine’s side of the argument include ‘Your boss can’t follow you into the voting booth’ and ‘It’s okay to vote no’.
Mr Mundine has previously accused the Voice of being invented by the ‘elites in academia’.
He said last December that indigenous peoples are being robbed to fund the activists’ dream.
The tactic of appealing to ordinary Australians to thwart the elite’s plans was used successfully in Australia’s last referendum, which was to decide whether the nation should drop the British monarch as head of state and become a republic in 1999.
In that case, the ‘no’ case mobilized public opinion against the model whereby parliamentarians would elect the head of state.
Sometime between October and December this year, Australians will be asked by referendum to approve the creation of the Voice as a constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples.
The Voice will set up a body to “submit matters to the Parliament and Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters pertaining to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
A referendum can only be held if it is approved by a vast majority of Australians and also voted for by a majority of states.
What is the vote to parliament?
An elected body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals who would provide advice to the federal government.
Only Australians of Indigenous descent would be able to determine the representatives.
To come about, a referendum would be held and would require a majority vote in a majority of states.
Unlike the old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission – formally abolished in 2005 with bipartisan support – the Voice would be enshrined in the Constitution.
While parliament would determine the composition of the vote, it would not have the power to abolish it without taking the matter to another referendum.
The Voice would advise the cabinet and executive government on legislation, particularly proposed laws affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
The Uluru Declaration from the Heart – based on input from 250 Aboriginal leaders – called in 2017 for the “establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.”
The final report of the Indigenous Voice Co-design Process was presented to the government of former Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2021.
It was co-authored by Tom Calma, a human rights activist, and Marcia Langton, an academic.