Colonialism and ‘The Voice’

What Jacinta Price said about colonialism in Australia deserves to be heard:

Aboriginal Senator Jacinta Price caused quite a stir recently by stating that colonialism has actually been good for Australia’s Indigenous population. The lefties went apoplectic about this of course – but that is to be expected. What she said was true and accurate, and her message needs to be heard.

In her 35-minute speech, and the question time that followed, she passionately and rationally made her case against ‘The Voice.’ As to her reply to a journalist from the Guardian who asked the question on colonialism, she said it actually had “a positive impact – absolutely”. She went on to say this:

I mean, now we’ve got running water, we’ve got readily available food. Everything that my grandfather had when he was growing up because he first saw white fellows in his early adolescence, we now have. Otherwise he would have had to live off the land, provide for his family, and all those measures, which Aboriginal Australians, many of us, have the same opportunities as all other Australians in this country. And we certainly have probably one of the greatest systems around the world in terms of a democratic structure in comparison to other countries.


It is why migrants flock to Australia to call Australia home, because the opportunity that exists for all Australians. But if we keep telling Aboriginal people that they are victims, we are effectively removing their agency and giving them the expectation that someone else is responsible for their lives. That is the worst possible thing you can do to any human being, to tell them that they are a victim without agency. And that is what I refuse to do.

You can hear her entire speech and the Q&A session here:

With this in mind, let me alert you to an important new book on the subject of colonialism. Oxford University ethicist and theologian Nigel Biggar recently released a book called Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning (William Collins, 2023).

In it he seeks to make a balanced case for empire and colonialism. Unlike so many of the historical revisionists of recent times, he argues that at best there was a mixed track record here. Colonialism was carried out with both good motives and bad motives, and the results were not all bad, as so many claim today.

Image of Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning
Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning by Biggar, Nigel (Author) Amazon logo

Biggar’s volume primarily focuses on the record of the British Empire, so as can be expected, there is a fair amount of material here on Australia. As to why he penned a volume sure to bring down the wrath of the woke elites, he early on offers his rationale for it:

There is, therefore, a more historically accurate, fairer, more positive story to be told about the British Empire than the anti-colonialists want us to hear. And the importance of that story is not just past but present, not just historical but political. What is at stake is not merely the pedantic truth about yesterday, but the self-perception and self-confidence of the British today, and the way they conduct themselves in the world tomorrow. What is also at stake, therefore, is the very integrity of the United Kingdom and the security of the West. That is why I have written this book. (p. 7)

He also puts his cards on the table as to where he is coming from:

I am a Christian by conviction and a theologian by profession, so my ethics are shaped, first and foremost, by Christian principles and tradition. That does not mean that readers who are not Christian need find my moral views entirely alien. I am also a human being and I share a more or less common world with other humans. What is more, as a Christian I am inclined to believe that that common world is structured by universal moral principles, and my study of ethics, both in the West and outside it, has confirmed that that is indeed so. For example, when, in 2013, I attended a conference on the ethics of war in Hong Kong, I discovered that ancient and medieval Confucian tradition had developed a concept of ‘just war’ that was very similar to the one developed in the Christian West – in spite of the fact that Chinese civilisation and Christendom had developed almost entirely independently of each other until the early modern period. What they had in common, they had not borrowed from each other.


My Christian ethical viewpoint can be characterised in two general senses as ‘realistic’. First, it involves the belief that there is an objective moral reality that precedes, frames and dignifies with significance all human choices: there are universal moral principles.


Second, in my ethical thinking I aspire to be honest about human limitations, about the enveloping fog that not infrequently blurs the sharpest eyes, about the inevitability of risk and about the relative intractability of historic legacy. (pp. 9-10)

In some 480 pages of carefully argued and well-documented analysis, he makes it clear the anti-colonialist case is quite overstated and overly simplistic. The documentation is top notch, with over 130 pages of end-notes backing up the case he seeks to make. Consider briefly his discussion of the situation in Australia.

He spends a fair amount of time for example discussing the so-called Tasmanian genocide of the 1830-40s. He interacts with various scholars on this issue, and contends that the common definition of “genocide” – the deliberate and systematic attempt by the state to eliminate a people – does not apply here. He does not whitewash what happened, and admits that the British were responsible for the inadvertent demise of the Aboriginals there. But he says that the British as a whole cannot be fairly blamed for what happened to them. He goes on to say this:

In North America, Australasia and Africa the policies of the imperial government in London, and consequently those of the colonial governments beneath it, were based on the Christian and Enlightenment conviction of the basic human equality of members of all races, and driven by the humanitarian desire to enable less advantaged – less privileged – peoples to survive, develop and flourish. (p. 146)

Biggar throughout seeks to offer us a balanced and fair assessment of British colonialism. In his concluding chapter he offers a list of “evils” – both intentional and unintentional. And there were indeed some of these evils or injustices, be they slavery, economic disruptions, the spread of disease, and so on. He writes:

All these evils are lamentable, and where culpable, they merit moral condemnation. None of them, however, amounts to genocide in the proper sense of the concerted, intentional killing of all members of a people, the paradigm of which was the Nazi policy of implementing a ‘Final Solution’ to the ‘problem’ of the Jews. In the history of the British Empire, there was nothing morally equivalent to Nazi concentration or death camps, or the Soviet Gulag. (p. 276)

He also briefly discusses the issue of reparations, and the many problems associated with such a move. And given that a win on the referendum here in Australian would inevitably entail reparations, we need to be aware of the many drawbacks to it. However, he does go on to say that a case can be made for SOME modest reparations in some limited and particular cases.

Biggar finishes by offering a list of the benefits of colonialism, and his ‘credit’ column is lengthier that his ‘debit’ column. He reminds us that the British Empire – like all empires and all forms of human rule – did good as well as evil. While difficult to measure and calculate, a case can be made that British colonialism, overall, was not as bad as is so commonly asserted.

So much more can be said on the case he seeks to make. For those who want more on the book and its author, John Anderson recently held an hour-long video interview with him which you can see here:

Two closing quotes are worth offering here. In her National Press Club speech Jacinta Price said this:

What has become abundantly clear is that when racial separatism that designates a class of Australians as an other is prioritised over serving Australians on the basis of need we experienced failure. An industry has been established that provides opportunity for the already privileged to occupy positions that are supposed to deliver outcomes for our marginalized, based purely on the fact they share a racial heritage. My hope is that after October 14, after defeating this voice of division, we can bring accountability to existing structures, and we can get away from assuming in the city activists speak for all Aboriginals and back to focusing on the real issues – education, employment, economic participation and safety from violence and sexual assault.

And a very famous line uttered during another major debate about race relations fits in nicely here. Almost exactly sixty years ago Martin Luther King Jr. said this in his “I Have A Dream” speech which he delivered in Washington on August 28, 1963: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

And that is exactly why people like Jacinta Price, Warren Mundine, and so many others are fighting tooth and nail against the racist and divisive ‘Voice’.


I have recently seen two bullet-point lists on the social media. Because I am not fully certain who originally authored each one, I present them here at the end of this piece. And even if both lists are only just mostly correct, they offer a real powerful antidote to the usual woke rhetoric on these matters. The first one said this:

Here’s a few facts:
1. There are more indigenous Australians alive today than at any point in history.
2. The life expectancy of indigenous Australians is longer today than at any point in history.
3. More indigenous Australians are attaining tertiary qualifications today than at any point in history.
4. The living conditions of indigenous Australians is greater today than at any point in history.
5. Indigenous Australians have more access to modern medicine today than at any point in history.
6. Indigenous Australians use of leading technology is greater today than at any point in history.
7. There are more Indigenous Australians living in and travelling the world than at any point in history.
8. Indigenous Australian women have never enjoyed such parity than at any point in history.
9. The number of Indigenous Australian women dying in childbirth is lower than at any point in history.
10. The broad exposure and acknowledgement of indigenous culture and heritage by other Australians is greater than at any point in history.
All of the above are metrics for a successful society and yet it’s not clear we would’ve achieved them had it not been for colonialism. No one in their right mind can argue that colonialism was without fault, but likewise to assert that it has not brought a greater net benefit to the lives of Indigenous Australians is to ignore the facts.

The second one said this:

And for people who believe the ‘noble savage’ myth and think Aboriginals were better off left in the Stone Age here are some common practices:
1. cannibalism of each other, their own children and others.
2. infanticide at levels never before seen by the British. Babies left on anthills to be eaten alive. Babies killed to be fed to a sickly older brother.
3. child marriage – little girls married to old men and often getting pregnant which killed them and they would be buried (or eaten) along with their baby whether it was alive or dead.
4. horrific sexual initiation practices where little girls were prepared by adult males doing what adult males do and sometimes with the use of sticks. This often killed them or left them infertile or with fistulas.
5. horrific initiation practices for boys where with subincision the penis is slit the full length on the underside. This often killed them or left them infertile because semen could not reach where it needed to go.
6. leaving the old and sick to die when the tribe moved on as all nomadic hunter-gatherers did.
7. women as slaves, no more than packhorses, carrying everything as the clan moved on.
8. Shocking violence toward women where they were beaten and speared for the slightest error or just for the hell of it. The records abound with the most horrific violence toward women.

[2094 words]

13 Replies to “Colonialism and ‘The Voice’”

  1. Hi Bill
    This statement has been ‘running around for a while’ on various platforms. I haven’t (yet) put it at the bottom of my e-mail signature as a response to all of the e-mails that I get saying they ‘acknowledge etc etc’ – I might need to do it. Anyway, here it is:

    “We acknowledge the British Empire as the creators of this Nation, laying the foundations of Civilisation in this Country.

    We recognise our continuing debt to the British and Western European Civilisation, and thank them for introducing the rule of law, freedom of speech and association, a spirit of enquiry and advancement, and defence of faith and free enterprise that is the bedrock upon which is built the sovereignty, wealth, prosperity, wisdom and liberty we enjoy today.”

  2. It is true that during the colonial period, Britain conducted a genocide in Tasmania, but this was because the beliefs of Darwin and theories of survival of the fittest justified Britain’s crimes against humanity [1]. But things are even worse today with the slaughter of innocents being conducted on an industrial scale.
    As for giving the ‘people’ a ‘voice”, Tony Blair did the same in Britain when he brought in devolution which set up semi – autonomous parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, allowing them to make their own laws. However, this was fine just as long as those parliaments were in lock-step with socialist Marxist values and morality. But when the people of Northern Ireland voted to ban abortion up to birth, Westminster rode a coach and horses through the will of the Christian population and brought in direct rule. If the Labour and Greens have their way and were the Tasmanians to sing from a Christian hymn sheet all beautiful ideas of Tasmanians being able to influence and advising Canberra would evaporate.
    David Skinner UK

  3. Thanks David. But one can rightly affirm the various harms that Darwinism has led to, while also affirming the case that Biggar and other scholars have sought to make, that this was NOT a case of genocide, by the usual understanding of the term.

  4. Bill,
    while I too had heard that the Tasmanian Aborigines were wiped out, apparently that’s now supposedly offensive and inaccurate e.g. (Apologies about the source)

    I would also suggest that the ‘colonialism left Aborigines worse off’ arguments tend to cherry pick the data. For instance while it is true that there is a gap between the average Aborigine and average non-Aborigine in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment, or income, there is, as your first list notes, monumental improvement on their pre-colonial existence.

    Not mentioned but worth considering is that many of the issues may be a result of individual choices e.g. location – nearly 1:3 Aborigines live in the Northern Territory, and of those roughly 4:5 live outside Darwin. 61% of Australians live in one of the 5 largest capital cities while Darwin, probably the largest Aboriginal population in the country, is only the 15th largest population area, and less than 3% the size of Sydney! If rural non-Aboriginal Australians were compared to Australians living in capital cities might there be significant differences in terms of income, life expectancy, health etc? But it’s not PC to consider that data so does anyone bother?

    Also, how can the domestic violence epidemic in Aboriginal communities be blamed on colonialism if, as per your second list notes, beatings and spearing for minor errors, or just because, were common? There was a recent story about Aboriginal women wanting their community to change, and the men said something along the lines of no, now learn your place women.

    But it’s always been easier to blame others for problems and is something people, and cultures, have been doing for centuries, probably millennia.

  5. Thank you Bill and Andrew for that correction. And sorry if this is going wildly off topic – but there is a more subtle way of conducting genocide and that is to cut children out from parental authority and power, through the agency of the state education system by forcing victimhood LGBTQ ideology onto children as soon as children are old enough to enter kindergarten. From my understanding Jacinta thinks the same thing. She believes forgiveness is the quickest way to reconciliation. She is scathing about gender-fluid “crap” [1] and does not go along with romanticising culture. The ” Yes” voters of the “Voice” campaign are simply using the devil’s tactic of divide and rule, whilst their real objective is to expunge Christians from Australia and beyond.


    David Skinner UK

  6. Thanks David. Yes, in a less formal sense one could use the term ‘genocide’ when speaking of things like the systematic and deliberate war on the unborn, or the war on marriage and family, etc.

  7. The sad part about all this, is its history being rewritten. The facts of unsavoury history come from contemporaneous notes and journals of those who witnessed such atrocities and helped inform early colonial and subsequent policy on aboriginal government. While not perfect, it was a new colonies response to what was clearly barbaric and primitive behaviour which seemed perfectly acceptable to precontact aboriginal society. Children and adolescent girls seemed the most vulnerable which probably explains much of the reason for their removal from their families. But, with the academic rewriting of history, the behaviour leading to the removal was whitewashed and the removal became the crime. It’s interesting to note the discrepancy of the secular left in accepting historical truth. They don’t believe a number of separate accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Christ, despite the facts of his life being recorded within 50 odd years of his resurrection. They say it’s word of mouth myth which can’t be trusted, yet they believe word of mouth narratives of the aboriginal elders as accurate and dismiss contrary written evidence. They claim that a post “yes” voice will establish a Truth commission – but who’s truth will be admissible. Is it coincidence that the government’s misinformation and disinformation bill currently before parliament specifically excluded the government and universities from its tentacles. So the only truth allowed to be published on electronic media, will be that deemed factual by government and academy.

  8. David Skinner raises an interesting point. I’ve seen it argued elsewhere that Whites adopting native children (this might have been an American or Canadian context?) constituted genocide.

    I still recall the Australian story of an Aboriginal girl that was removed from her loving foster parents so that she could be returned to her ‘village’ where she could be safely pack raped and/or abused – I forget the precise details now. What crime did her foster parents do? They were White.

    Or for a more recent story, possibly NSW, an Aboriginal teenager was so distressed by court proceedings to determine his disposition that he got up and shouted at the judge etc that nobody was listening to him or what he wanted. He loves his (White foster) Mum and Dad and doesn’t want to be removed regardless of what government bureaucrats want. Not sure if he was permitted to stay.

    It seems Whites caring for non-White children is considered unacceptable genocide by the Left. But as David points out, genocide against the things the Left hate is deemed acceptable. An interesting double standard no?

    Apologies if this seems a mite political/ideological/cultural. That being said, things don’t tend to divide neatly these days, assuming they ever really did.

  9. But now we have children being removed from Christian parents in so called 1st world countries because they will not allow their children to be indoctrinated with LGBTQ ideology [1]. And yet a more economical way of cutting children out from the authority and power of their parents is to shut down any school that does not teach queer theory so that every child will be forced to attend state education. We see here a complete reversal of the police of taking children away from their aboriginal parents to children of Christian parents being abducted by the thought police.

    One of the most egregious cases has been that of the Christian mother, Lisa Miller who was forced to flee from America in 2009 rather than be forced to hand over her 8year old daughter, Isabella, to a voracious, predatory and violent lesbian Janet Jenkins in 2010. Because Isabella had reached her 18th birthday she returned to America with her mother who was promptly put in prison for two years for kidnapping her own child [2] Even though Lisa is now out of prison Janet Jenkins and the LGBTQs are now persecuting anyone who remotely helped them to escape. Unless we smash the LGBTQ lobby they will continue to smash us and our children [3]


    David Skinner UK

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