An Australian professor who has been talking to people about the Indigenous Voice to parliament has revealed a common theme he has noticed in the arguments from some No voters – and claims it makes absolutely no sense.
West Australian man and vocal supporter of the Voice, Braden Hill, has been using his TikTok page to answer questions about the referendum and hit back at some of the misinformation and bizarre statements some No campaigners have been pushing.
Professor Hill is a Noongar (Wardandi) man and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Students, Equity and Indigenous) at Edith Cowan University.
In one of his recent videos, he called out an ignorant comment that had been left on his social media page.
“Gosh you look so hard done by I’m convinced,” one TikTok user wrote.
Professor Hill revealed this wasn’t the first time a comment of this nature had been left on one of his videos — before proceeding to break down why this type of “argument” was so ridiculous.
“It’s like white folk are saying ‘Blackfullas just need to pull their socks up. They just need to get their s**t together’. So we go off and get an education, get a degree, make a difference to our community, change our lives – not only for ourselves – but those around us,” he said.
“Then when we get a bit too far ahead they go ‘Oh well you’re not disadvantaged enough. You need to be more disadvantaged for me to want to do anything about the Voice’.
“I don’t get it. You can’t win.”
Speaking further to news.com.au, Professor Hill said there seemed to be an idea floating around that, in order to be seen as Indigenous by some Australians, you need to appear to be disadvantaged.
He claimed there were some who appeared to think the Voice to parliament is solely about addressing gaps.
“But there is more than that. It is about meaningfully recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution in a way that respects our unique position as the first peoples of this continent,” he said.
“A simple sentence in the constitution will change nothing, but a Voice from community to Canberra will.”
This is not the first time the professor has called out these kinds of claims. Last month he hit back at a comment that sarcastically claimed he looked “very disadvantaged” — with the poster adding that they “hope the Yes vote will take that disadvantage away for you”.
He wasted no time pointing out he had never once referred to himself as disadvantaged.
“The idea that Aboriginal people have to be disadvantaged because that’s the way you see us – that’s on you, that’s not on us,” he said.
While Professor Hill does get a lot of genuine questions around the Voice, there are, unfortunately, still those who come to his page purely to troll.
He told news.com.au that those people “really need to find a hobby” and he deals with it by ignoring them and focusing on the people who genuinely want to learn more ahead of the upcoming referendum.
A new argument he has seen popping up recently as a reason some people are voting No, is the fact that there are currently 10 Indigenous politicians serving in federal parliament and that, because of this, First Nations people already have enough of a voice in government.
He said that what many of these people refuse to recognise is that of all the parliamentarians Australia has had since 1901, only 15 have been Indigenous and 10 have entered parliament in the last round of elections.
“Also, they seem to believe that their job is to lead on Indigenous matters, generally it’s not. Their job is to represent their constituents or state,” Professor Hill said.
“The fact that we’ve only had two Indigenous people as Minister for Indigenous Affairs should say something about the lack of voice Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have had in parliament since 1901.”
As the October 14 referendum date draws closer, an increasing number of Australians are starting to tune into the debate, meaning more voices are being added to the discussion.
According to Professor Hill, now is the time to “tune out the trolls” and focus on the voices that matter.
“Tune out the ‘all fear and no facts’ campaign and listen to this idea that has come from the hearts of Indigenous folk throughout the continent,” he said.