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As you might know, I am a really strong supporter of the “Yes” campaign in the upcoming referendum. With less than three weeks to go, I would like to make a bold prediction: My prediction is that whatever the outcome, the real conversation about our relationship with Aboriginal Australians has begun.

This conversation will not end with the vote, but will continue unabated and, I’m sure, magnified. Indeed, the truth-telling has now also began and that will not go away either. Too many people have started listening to the stories of what has happened over the past 235 years. An ever increasing number of Australians feel they can no longer turn a blind eye to the past.

This truth-telling is painful, but not knowing is surely worse. Wallowing in ignorance only serves to undermine our future. I think truth-telling will undoubtedly shape our collective discussions and indeed the nation itself.

Interestingly, what this referendum is bringing out is that people on all sides of the debate do care about what is happening to our Indigenous brothers and sisters. This seems undeniable – both sides talk of the hardship and suffering which haunt Indigenous people. Both sides do want change.

So regardless of what happens in the referendum, be prepared for even more difficult and painful conversations to arise after the vote. My prayer is that eventually a more mature Australia will emerge. Right now that might seem some way over the horizon – a bit out of view – but make no mistake the change is coming.

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  1. Pam Tremlett 27 September 2023 at 13:50 - Reply

    I think if the no vote wins there will never be another referendum on recognition of the First Nations people. All those years and conversations of closing the gap and reconciliation will be lost. I worry what the future holds.

    • Don 2 October 2023 at 12:54 - Reply

      I don’t think it will be that bad.
      I agree there won’t be another referendum for a long time, however in terms of closing the gap or reconciliation – we have bodies like the Coalition of Peaks who have a 10 year agreement with the Federal Gov’t to review 3 times per year the Closing the Gap initiative and give ATSI people a say in how it improves.
      Coalition of Peaks, if you are not aware, is an ATSI led body which represents 800+ ATSI organisations across the country in discussions with gov’t at all levels on matters which impact ATSI people the most.
      I hope post this referendum, there will be a review of how the ATSI funding is spent and how it can be made more effective and accountable so ATSI ppl these funds are allocated to can actually see the benefit of it.

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:44 - Reply

      Thank you Pam, God bless Bill

  2. Michael Stevens 27 September 2023 at 14:19 - Reply

    I think that you are overtly saying that nothing will change after the vote. We must accept that what happened in the past is in the past. We must understand that adaptation between two cultures is difficult in remote areas but we must consider the needs of all people. What will be done for the plight of the disabled brought out in the Royal Commission? What will be done for the victims of NDIS neglect? What will be done for the people of Urandangi who have lost their local store and fuel supply and now have to travel 200 km for supplies or medical treatment? Nothing will change until more people think of others before themselves.

  3. Patricia Foy 27 September 2023 at 15:08 - Reply

    I feel in despair about the ignorance in the community. The referendum has been taken over by people who wish to frighten the country for political purposes. As a retired teacher, I feel education has failed to clarify just what the constitution is about and how the impact of colonialism has affected indigenous people who had developed a good way of life before this. To hear some First Nation People speakers now claiming this has not harmed their peop;le is shocking. What will happen to improve things when this referendum fails? Some of the media has a serious responsibility for an adverse result.

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:45 - Reply

      Thank you Patricia, God bless Bill

  4. Roger 27 September 2023 at 15:17 - Reply

    I admire your optimism Bill, but it looks ignorance and the lie-spouting will overwhelm the truth telling. Look at Kamahl who performed a double backflip with pike. No, then yes, then back to no. (See his connection to Rupert Murdoch, by the way.) A No vote is likely only to entrench and reinforce prejudice.

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:46 - Reply

      Thank you Roger, God bless Bill

  5. Joanna van Kool 27 September 2023 at 15:17 - Reply

    I think much the same. I have heard some really negative & shocking comments e.g. ‘
    We’ve given them enough already.’ so distressing for me

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:46 - Reply

      Thank you Joanna, God bless Bill

  6. Lloyd Dawe 27 September 2023 at 15:28 - Reply

    The history of referendum results in Australia shows how hard it is under the current rules to pass a vote for changing the constitution on an important national issue. It is even more difficult when, as in this case, there is no bipartisan support. However, I agree that most people, no matter how they vote, care about the plight of First Nations people. So Bill I think you are right to be optimistic about the future no matter the result. It will be just that much harder if a no vote wins.

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:46 - Reply

      Thank you Lloyd, God bless Bill

  7. Paul 27 September 2023 at 16:12 - Reply

    I wish I was as optimistic as you Bill.

    I despair for our country if something as simple and logical as this fails to be passed, as I fear it almost certainly will.

    The vote will largely be determined on generational lines I believe. The only positive out of any No vote result may well be if young Australians say enough is enough and vote with a strong Yes.

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:47 - Reply

      Thank you Paul, God Bless Bill

  8. Phil 27 September 2023 at 16:37 - Reply

    Good on ya Bill.You cut to the chase and deal with the facts.This all in the best interests of the Common Good.I’ve witnessed appalling racism and vilification against our First Australians.Something that is indelible in memory for me.
    I’m a committed YES Voter, in regard to the Voice.They certainly have ancient knowledge in regards to respecting the environment,AND, work collaboratively together in tribal dignified and honourable ways.They did this for thousand of years ,sixty plus in fact, long before Captain Cook stepped foot on Australian Shores.
    I believe int he Aussie “Fair Go Mate” attitude.This particularly applicable to our First Australians .I could continue on.However I will vote a DEFINITE YES ,for recognition in our constitution. For me it is a must and something imperative.”Bill,Good on ya mate for your great integrity and honourability.

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:47 - Reply

      Thank you Phil, God bless Bill

  9. Bernadette Holland 27 September 2023 at 16:43 - Reply

    I agree with you, Bill. Our awareness of the ongoing impact of our colonial settlement history on our Aboriginal community has grown & deepened over the past 30-40 years. There’s an increased sensitivity & desire in the community to create change to help heal the gaps & differences. There’s no easy way to do this but the referendum & current discussions are a sign of our desire to repair some of the damage. I pray that there will be enough Yes votes to reassure our Aboriginal friends that they have plenty of support to keep pushing for what they want.

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:47 - Reply

      Thank you Bernadette, God bless Bill

  10. Olivia Kesby 27 September 2023 at 22:00 - Reply

    Dear Bill
    Thank you for your comments. I am totally in agreement that “Yes” should prevail and hope for a little miracle – you never know – the public can be fickle and the tide can always change! Olivia

  11. Deirdre 28 September 2023 at 05:44 - Reply

    I think you are right Bill. Truth telling must open up whatever the result. And in NSW at least, where the most indigenous people are, we will have a Voice to parliament while we have a Labor Government. As a teacher I found that the loudest voices arguing against doing anything about Aboriginal disadvantage were often the ones who changed their views.

    I do have a concern that our democracy will suffer when lies and division take over though.

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:47 - Reply

      Thank you for your words Deirdre, God bless Bill

  12. Kay 28 September 2023 at 18:41 - Reply

    To be equal, we need to start off as equal. That was never the case. A yes gives a platform to work from.

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:48 - Reply

      Good point, thank you Kay, God bless Bill

  13. John and Sandra Vicars 1 October 2023 at 13:30 - Reply

    Thanks Bill.
    We agree with you ….whatever the result … the discussion has started and we believe surprised many of us as we learn more of our true history and our current problems.
    In recent days we have also been happily surprised to find many YES voters who have been hiding their views from others because of all the nasty divisiveness.
    We remain hopeful.

    • Bill Crews 16 October 2023 at 11:48 - Reply

      Thank you John and Sandra, God bless Bill

  14. John 20 October 2023 at 15:15 - Reply

    Dear Bill
    At least two thirds of Australians who voted recently were smart enough to realise that it was a dud proposal put forward by the PM.
    The PM was elected to run the country, not devide the country.
    We are all Australians. Some are not more Australian than others.
    It would be great if you could use your influence to see that some of the billions of dollars given to the Aboriginal Industry each year goes to the people that need it.
    Keep serving those loaves and fishes to the needy.

  15. Megan 28 November 2023 at 18:12 - Reply

    I don’t like the term “truth-telling”- for me I think it only brings up hatred and bitterness. What is wrong with “history”-the facts told with contrition and new understandings for a way forward from both sides. Taught in our primary schools like it used to be. Plus a new and fresh understanding of Aboriginal culture and beliefs.

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