The NO Campaign, as coordinated by Jacinta Price and Fair Australia, has most definitely proven to be a grassroots effort. By the time you read this, the whole thing will be in the past tense and we’ll know the outcome. At least, we’ll be counting down to the conclusion. But in the meantime, I’ll share my observations, which are not without validity.
I’m an Australian Nationalist who’s worked tirelessly for the Australia First Party coming up to ten years now. The only thing that I share in common with Jacinta Price and the conservatives backing her is that we both oppose an Aboriginal Voice in Parliament. We have different reasons for countering it. Our reasons diverge to a degree that we’d otherwise be throwing stones at one another if we got down to brass tacks. But the No Campaign—theoretically at least—is up against Titans.
Their campaign has enjoyed funding to the tune of (I don’t know) ten trillion dollars or something. A firm budgetary figure was hard to find except for Sky News, which reported earlier in the year a total sum of around $360 million of taxpayer funding. $10 million of that was just on printed garbage. Meanwhile, the ABC and SBS have tirelessly proselytised for the YES side. That’s not such a big deal, given their collective audience is probably just enough to occupy an Indonesian fishing boat, but I digress. Entire corporations are backing them, and the United Nations is eagerly watching to gauge our compliance. To satisfy the Davos mob, we must change our constitution and negate our White European heritage. We need to join Canada and New Zealand in screwing up our country for the sake of some half-wit myth about noble savagery. The Unions and maybe even John Farnham are supporting the rich Aboriginal elites who are seeking more elitism through a YES vote. Given such, the NO campaign has made for strange bedfellows.
In my case, I needed to be active. The only way I could feel as if I’d truly done something, instead of simply writing about it online, was to volunteer for a booth. I feel that strongly about the Voice. Alas, many volunteered, but few showed up.
The YES Campaign was bursting with shiny workers all united in smugness and self-righteousness. The booth pullulated with Woke Warriors ready to signal their virtues to the stars. It was like Mardis Gras came early.
Upon turning up for my first shift, I learned that many YES campaigners were granted leave by their employers so that they could work the booths. No such privilege existed for the NO vote: they’d likely sack any worker asking for time off to campaign against the Voice. Then again, the YES Campaign is a Juggernaut. It is a golden-armoured train loaded with vast riches hurtling towards a disaster of such proportions they’ll be looking to hang the driver. The crash won’t be pretty. But we’ll get to that. At the moment, we are facing a challenge against the powerful support for the Voice, despite polling saying otherwise.
The NO campaign was running on the fumes of an oily rag. We were told to return shirts and caps for sharing among other volunteers as there wasn’t enough money to buy more. However, the expected support didn’t materialise, at least not at Rockdale, the booth where I volunteered. From the get-go, it was fraught. Our coordinator never coordinated a thing. A woman who found my name among the volunteers contacted me; I’m not sure how. She was calling down the list to find others since the booth had nobody from the NO side. The coordinator failed to collect the How to Vote cards, T-shirts, or signs. The concerned woman (let’s call her Sue) went and did that in her spare time. Thereafter, the woman supposed to be coordinating the booth vanished.
They greeted me like the cavalry on my first shift. An elderly Australian couple in straw hats were outnumbered as the sole advocates for the Nays. My arrival meant they could finally leave, as they’d been handling the booth single-handedly for the past few days. However, I believe another gentleman, and of course, Sue pulled up their sleeves. Sue turned up shortly after my arrival.
These old folks deserve a round of applause. No young people appeared to have volunteered, although I could only speak for one booth. I suspect it was the case, though, that only those over 50 were braving the inevitable blowback. I had no idea the obnoxious tactics the YES side resorted to, even presented with such a feeble opposition. The bullies—especially those connected to the unions—felt nothing of trying to intimidate them. Yet, the cheerful couple downplayed the unpleasantness by saying simply, “There’s been a few incidents.” Let them try it with me here, I thought. I was aching to deal with some uppity liberal. But then, there are guidelines. I made a point of observing them. I may despise the YES side, but I wasn’t about to act like them. If they stayed out of my way, I stayed out of theirs.
One needs a sense of humour to hand out How to Vote cards, especially when the only thing anyone needs to know is that they must write “yes” or “no.”
They did not hold the polling for the local area at the Town Hall, as is typically the case, but at a curious little Asian church across the road. The church is so unassuming I’ve never even noticed it before. It stands beside the busy Princes Highway. I doubt even God knows it’s there. My shift began at half past two. I was working through till the close of play at 5:30 p.m. Many of those arriving to vote early did so after picking up their kids from school. Now, let’s get this out of the way: Rockdale is about 5% White and 95% other. It’s a mix of Lebanese, Nepalese, Indians and Asians of assorted variety. The question everyone was wondering was ‘How will the interlopers vote?’ I can’t say, since I wasn’t privy to their vote, but it was a topic much in the mind of a curious little Indian chap who buttonholed both me and the YES team for about an hour.
He was a very polite fellow who admitted that he originally intended to vote YES, but after thinking about it, changed his mind. He found me particularly persuasive. Getting in between me and the punters, he said things like, “You are a very impressive man. The way you talk to people is very intelligent and I can see that you’re passionate about the cause. You are outnumbered too.”
Quietly, he expressed his fear that “All the foreigners will do exactly as Labor tells them to and vote YES.” Naturally, he didn’t count himself among that class of citizens.
“This is how the Muslims are. It is how all the migrants are. I mean, I’m a migrant too, but I am not so easily convinced.” So, he did consider himself among them, but only after self-awareness got the better of him.
“People think with emotions,” he said, “but this is better decided by intellect.” I couldn’t agree with him more.
An Indian couple was at a loss. They wanted someone to tell them something other than what the YES side was saying because they had grave doubts. I told them to think of it like this: If the government is failing Aborigines, it’s failing all of us. How can they expressly fail Aborigines, given the billions thrown at them each year? I said, “There is a powerful Aboriginal elite in parliament. Even when there wasn’t, it’s hardly a cause that was without sensitivity. It’s just that the bleeding hearts keep pointing at the failure of Aboriginal communities as if it’s something that we’re responsible for. Where’s all that money going, anyway? It seems to be the case that the gap doesn’t close because it’s more lucrative for certain parties to keep it open. But then, could all the money in the world close it, anyway?”
I told them, “Think about it like this—the Voice is the first step before the Treaty. If the Treaty gets up, you might find your home sitting on land claimed by Aborigines. Before you know it, owing to some bullshit “song” they’ll claim ‘proves’ their title, you’ll be paying them just to live in your house.”
I sealed the deal when I said: “And with such recognition at a constitutional level, what would stop the Aboriginal elite from selling half of the country to China? They’d tell China they feel they’re being occupied by an unfriendly regime when we objected. They would point to their status in the constitution. They would ask for Chinese military assistance as the ‘true owners’ of this country.” Weirdly, it made the “first people” squatters. They never bothered building a house, so when we built one, they asserted owners’ rights and moved in, leaving us to sleep in the park.
They looked worried when I said that. Sometimes I just made this stuff up, but then, did I? It was a hypothetical that Geoffrey Robinson would be proud of … if he wasn’t such a liberal twat.
They voted NO in the end and made a point of thanking me, which did not go unnoticed by the YES camp. I had become the major focus of the appointed bully, whom I jousted with many times after he tried it on with my weaker colleagues.
The foreigners were inscrutable. More people than not took HTV cards from both camps. Some behaved in such a way that you figured that nobody in the world had acknowledged their existence until you. Entering the polling booth thus made them feel important, if only for a fleeting moment. Others pushed past brusquely, avoiding eye contact, giving the impression they weren’t out to vote but merely passing by. Then they quickly turned into the booth. Those who were proudly YES voters gave attitude, but not much. It was more of a humorous matter for them.
Many “Lebs” did vote NO and made it known. But they were the type who’d just come from the building site or a manual occupation. Others kept it to themselves until on the way past they whispered, ‘thanks’, indicating that they were sensitive about being identified as a NO voter.
The Europeans split between YES and NO. Frankly; it wasn’t easy to determine how big a part race played in it. I’d say it was down the middle. Many of the more obscure wogs had no clue what any of it meant but didn’t want to risk deportation by being caught saying NO. As for the Asians, they were the hardest to read. The women, especially, giggled when handed a card. I reckon 30% of the Asians tittered like characters in a Gilbert & Sullivan opera. This tells me they didn’t give a fig either way. They weren’t used to being part of a democratic process, and couldn’t care less about Aborigines or non-Asians.
Anyone with a Pommy accent not only voted NO but made a point of letting me know. One ‘geezer’ was vociferous with his opinions. Sue, the woman who saved the booth, was a Pom. Ray, another volunteer, was originally from Massachusetts. You could tell right away which Whites were voting YES. More or less, anyway. They had that “look.” A tall Catholic priest came in to vote dressed in the full robe and I leapt on him with my best pitch “Vote NO or you’ll never change it,” but he had God telling him what to vote for and demurred with a broad smile.
Members of the public regarded us in the NO camp as heroes. I couldn’t keep up with thanking those who whizzed out of the polling booth and then stopped to thank me on their way. Even if they hadn’t taken a HTV card, they made a point of letting me know with a wink or a thumbs-up. The YES team was monitoring everything and was most upset with how successful my approach was proving.
Given I stationed us beside a highway, inevitably, we’d cop hecklers. But we only had one shout of “REDNECKS.” The rest were cries of “VOTE NO!” screamed by those stopped at the lights. The wind was falling out of the YES camp’s sails. They couldn’t understand it because they were virtuous people, and we were mass-murdering racists who were each guilty of several Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Now, before I offer my conclusion or rather my prediction of how it will end, I will get to the fun part: my skirmishes with the YES camp. My first shift was notable for three people from the YES camp. One was a pot-bellied liberal bloke in his late 40s with a once groovy hairdo. His hair was grey. To stop himself from becoming socially “invisible” because of his age, he wore garish white plastic-framed spectacles. Even if you never noticed him, you couldn’t miss the glasses. They screamed ‘Restaurant radical.’ He wore shorts with trainers and a “happy” YES shirt. A small tattoo was visible on the side of his leg. He was the loudest and the one most obviously linked to the unions. From a guess, I’d say the Nurses Union. However, I could be wrong.
The next most bothersome was an old, part-Aboriginal hag whose personality the great robber of spirits had stolen. This tiresome old biddy made a point of walking past me while muttering under her breath. I caught her murmuring, “Some people are just ignorant.” To which I responded, “Self-awareness is a good start.” Her next pearler was, “A few sandwiches short of a picnic.” I wasn’t sure where to go with that because she was describing herself. Her crowning moment came when leant against the church fence. She looked ahead of herself and loudly proclaimed, “Always was, always will be…”
I asked, “Retarded?”
The third nuisance wasn’t even part of the YES team. He just turned up to troll us. He said he was “Yugoslav.” Given his general ‘nowhere man’ vibe, I reckon he lost his way after flunking clown school.
Skinny, as if he was a 40-year-old schoolboy, his face conjured up the image of a cheap Kmart frying pan. Dark hair curled like apostrophes from his head at three irregular intervals. Santa’s little helpers must’ve been high on PCP when they belted him out on the curvy workbench. God knows how he escaped Kringle’s gift sack. I cannot honestly say what the hell he was on about because the language barrier—coupled with his brain’s dodgy wiring—made his every utterance gibberish. But he arrived with the singular intent to harass us. Right up in our faces, he skipped about in his baggy shorts and oversized YES T-shirt, singing random words like “happy” and “love” and “Vote yes to be happy and share love” in a warbling dialect. I’m not kidding. After about five minutes of this idiocy, I slipped into authoritarian mode:
“Piss off,” I warned him. “You’re interfering with my ability to interact with the public. You violate the booth code. Plus, you’re raving like a mad goose.” He danced and pirouetted like a ballerina until he feared I might hit him. I’m not sure what gave him this impression; unless it was my fist balled up right in front of his imbecilic face.
He returned on the second day while I was talking to the Indian chap I mentioned earlier. As much as I was charming this curious Swami, I had to stop suddenly to deal with his cretinous cavorting. He had an Android phone in his pocket with MP3 capabilities. He was playing ‘The Voice’ by John Farnham at a volume louder than the traffic. I lashed out with my foot mid-way through a sentence.
“Off with you!” I scowled.
“No, I am standing here.”
“Nope, you’re being obnoxious. Plus, you’re out of your tree. There’s a mental hospital just up the road.”
“No, no… You are crazy because you vote NO.”
“OK, I’ll give you three seconds before I push you in front of an oncoming Tesla.”
Sensing I was serious, he went and hassled the YES team until, after one replaying of Johnny Farham too many, the Union Man shouted at him and he left. Addressing the sudden change in his perception of my agreeable nature, the Indian confided to me in his idiosyncratic bout-bout voice: “He is very strange. I feel sorry for him because he doesn’t seem quite normal in the head.”
“Don’t!” I warned. “Never proffer sympathy to the mentally ill because it’s a bottomless pit. They’ll end up making you as crazy as they are.”
The YES team was itching for a showdown and none more so than Union Man. He couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that anyone could hold a position contrary to the hive mind. Perhaps he occasionally ranted about ‘democracy’ over an ackee seltzer in the Trades Hall. But when it came to the crunch, it threatened his Woke karma.
Union Man went out of his way to provoke. At first, it was subtle, but he cranked things up a notch until he was sure to get a response. As Asians entered the booth he’d call out, “Pauline Hanson is voting No.” He did it once too often until I broke the radio silence and shouted, “Nice bit of racial stereotyping there. You know that Hanson has Asians in her party.”
“I don’t care what Pauline Hanson does,” he snapped.
“Then you don’t mind how she votes in the referendum.”
What a garbage line of reasoning that is—a person can’t vote the same way as someone who disagrees with them because it would be a betrayal on another level. That’s how their lefty brains operate. Moreover, I dislike Hanson because she’s soft on Asians and non-Whites. Go figure.
The YES camp bent over backwards to contrive a semblance of great importance. Every so often, someone appeared who wasn’t stationed at the booth but wore an appurtenance that symbolised a higher status in their structure. Perhaps they had supervisors travelling around. By the looks of things, they had more than one. Union Man was the first to greet them. These personages carried clipboards and wore fluorescent lanyards. As they left, they strutted past us with an attitude. The last to do so was a short Asian gnome in a grey suit. He pretended to spit at my feet. Given our difference in size, that meant he was aiming at his eye level.
Union Man spent most of his time with an attractive dark-haired girl who wore big round sunglasses. The Indian told me she was “Aboriginal.” I looked at her and back at him. Then I said, “If she’s Aboriginal I’m more Indian than you.”
At the end of that first shift, Union Man called out, “Selfie time.” Then he arranged a group hug for the troops and took the shot with his phone. I nearly puked. Sue and I looked at each other and laughed. We’d be lucky if anyone from Fair Australia even knew we were there. The difference was that we weren’t there for Fair Australia: we were there opposing the Voice. It’s the same difference that gave the Confederates the edge over the Union for most of the American Civil War.
Union Man eavesdropped on how I spoke to voters. At one point I joked, “Fight apartheid, vote no!” This got right up his snout and he scoffed loudly, causing me to riposte, “Oh, but the Voice is apartheid—it’s an apartheid for elites against the rest of us deplorables.”
At a certain point, I became aware that a member of the public was giving Sue grief. I looked over to where she was on the other side of the front gate. A bald bloke in his 30s was sitting with a dog on the hedge shouting his opinions down at her. I raced over and warned him not to intimidate my colleagues. He shouted defensively about his right to an opinion. I pointed at the polling booth and reminded him the only place to express his “opinion” was on the ballot. He then challenged me to explain Terra Nullius to him. He said, “I know what Terra Nullius means, do you?” I said, “It means shout at my colleague one more time and I’ll call the cops.”
I then told him, “You’re on something. Come back when the meth’s worn off.” The Union Man was shaping up to defend his speed junky mate, but I’d messed up the boohoo’s chakras and he left.
To illustrate Union Man accurately, he was like a walking, talking left-wing Twitter account. Every assumption he made about us, every response was a typical culture war meme of the left. I didn’t hold such opinions about YES voters. I just think they’re wrong. They’ve been hoodwinked by a relentless propaganda machine that is seldom questioned because of the place that Aborigines occupy on the victim tier.
Union Man’s trolling was becoming unbearable. Keep in mind, he’d achieved all this in six hours over two days. But when he started looking into the “funding” of the NO Campaign and reading out a list of donors loud enough for my benefit, I baulked, “Are you kidding me? With your millions of corporate dollars, with the entire machinery of government backing you, with every celebrity on your side, you dare to dig into the paltry finances of the underdog NO Campaign?”
I never registered his response because he wasn’t the most gifted debater but I pointed out, “You union bastards (I was thinking CFMMEU) are among the highest-paid workers there are. Then you descend on us ordinary folks bullying us to appease the will of the elites. How does that figure?”
“That’s it,” he foamed. “I’m a PROUD union man.”
“William G. Spence would spit in your face. You don’t even know who that is. Yet here you are, claiming union credibility, as though that means what it once did while hawking for corporations. I bet Pfizer donated to the YES campaign.”
“Oh, here we go—I was waiting for the COVID denial. You know what you are, you’re a COOKER?”
“You don’t even know your union history. It was once inextricable from White Australia.”
Sue rushed in. It was obvious the next stage was our trading blows. I couldn’t afford to, given I still had three weeks of my sentence to go. Detective Sargeant Green would’ve loved that. Union Man would’ve walked while I went straight to Silverwater on a bus filled with Hamas supporters. As I walked away, he yelled out, “YOU’RE A BOVVER BOY!”
This stuck with me because the last time I heard that term was back in 1980. That’s aside from the fact it was as random as accusing me of being a homicidal Bedouin Sheikh.
The true value of what I gleaned from my brief stint at the Rockdale booth was that it afforded a demographic sample that may be key to the outcome for the Voice. Rockdale is massively multicultural and therefore a Labor stronghold. But digesting the statistical probabilities of my time there I’d reckon that the YES and NO voters to be split 50-50. That’s not an equal result because it means there is a disproportionate dissenting element. For instance, if this was a typical election and Labor were pitted against Liberal for the safe seat, the swing would lead to a Liberal victory. In terms of the referendum, it indicates that uncertainty over what greasy Albanese is selling is stronger than the typical Pavlovian obeyance of Labor policy. ■