Down the (white) rabbit hole
John Carr considers the Referendum on the Voice and the role and nature of conspiracy theories.
ABC Radio National ran a vox pop from an early polling booth for the Voice Referendum which included the following clip:
RN: How did you vote?
RN: Why did you vote ‘No’?
Voter: I heard that we might lose our rivers and that.
RN: Where did you hear that?
Voter: Tik Tok.
One of the things that interests me about conspiracy theorists is that they are extreme pluralists – they are always open to more conspiracies: ‘I have a conspiracy theory, you have a different conspiracy theory, he has yet another conspiracy and they’re all right.’ In pamphlets and podcasts, all conspiracy theories are welcome. No evidence is required, nor are links between them. They are cumulative, a log-jam of unrelated assertions, ready to confuse and overwhelm the critic and serve the Cause.
With regard to the Voice referendum, rational reasons for voting No were sometimes given but, at the lower levels of debate, the arguments put forward were often quite irrational, many clearly outright lies. A podcast by Grandmother Mulara (Deborah Nanchild) illustrates this well.
A couple of weeks before the Vote, a relative passed on to me another No Campaign Podcast that she knew would interest me. Posted by The White Rabbit, it’s 17 minutes long and, like Grandmother Mulara’s speech, ranges across a number of well-known conspiracy theories. Thanks to a generous research grant from the UN and ‘The New World Order’, I have analysed the content of this podcast.
‘The White Rabbit Speaks on the Voice Referendum’ by Nicola Charles (1970-), actor (‘Neighbours’)
Apparent Aim: To convince the viewer to vote ‘No’.
Reasons: The presenter claims that there are a number of conspiracies behind the ‘Yes’ case that are intended to cause disadvantage and suffering for all Australians. The Voice to Parliament would be the culmination of these conspiracies. No evidence is presented for the truth of any of the claims, nor is there any information on links between them. Several ‘authorities’ are briefly quoted – Morrison, Trump, Credlin and Rod Culleton. All the conspiracy theories mentioned were already well-known and had been widely circulated during the Covid pandemic, though the purpose at that time was to oppose measures to ameliorate the effects of the viral pandemic. Most of the theories presented appear to have their origins in the United States. The Viewer is often addressed as ‘You’ and appears to mean non-Indigenous Australians.
The Main Conspiracy: The United Nations movement to control the world and implement a ‘New World Order/Government’.
(in order of initial presentation in the podcast)
- United Nations takeover/invasion of Australia
- Rollout of Anti-Covid vaccines
- Replacement of current Australian place-names with original First Nations names
- Fines for breaking quarantine during the pandemic
- Costly support for Ukraine
- Climate change hoax
- Control of banking
Possible Goal of the Conspiracies: To facilitate the export of natural gas, lithium and Rare Earths, ‘probably to China’.
Throughout the podcast, First Nations people are mentioned on a number of occasions, usually in the phrase ‘Aboriginal tribes’. Overall, it is not clear whether the conspiracies are intended to advantage or do further harm to First Nations people.
Disclaimer: views represented in SOFiA articles are entirely the view of the respective authors and in no way represent an official SOFiA position. They are intended to stimulate thought, rather than present a final word on any topic.