The key to their agreement is not simply the willingness to do all in their power to forge an Indigenous consensus. It is the mutual commitment to throw their considerable weight behind the model that emerges, regardless of their personal preferences.
That is the essence of leadership
The Prime Minister has made it clear that he favours a minimalist model on Indigenous recognition, but it would be a great shame if all that emerges from the referendum is a bland motherhood statement, writes Mungo MacCallum.
The Concerned Citizen:
22 Sep 2014 10:17:22am
I don’t normally endorse wishy-washy feel-good clauses, but in this case I will make an exception.
1- Indigenous Australians do have a unique relationship with this country- actually very similar to what Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England might have with the UK- and most certainly deserve recognition.
2- It would be another positive step for reconciliation
3- It would be another positive step AWAY from presumed acceptance of the NT intervention
4- To be blunt, it is also something that will likely get certain streaks of Australian who are more hostile to reconciliation (for whatever reason I suppose) to accept it without feeling attacked by it. Unfortunate, but a reality- and one that we can all work for further reconciliation when it is well received.
Tony Abbott in Arnhem Land: a display of farce and cynicism
Australia’s prime minister took his government and the media to the NT to better understand the needs of Indigenous Australians. We’re already awash with that knowledge
There are times when farce and living caricature almost consume the cynicism and mendacity in the daily life of Australia’s rulers. Across the front pages is a photograph of a resolute Tony Abbott with Indigenous children in Arnhem Land. “Domestic policy one day,” says the caption, “focus on war the next.”
Reminiscent of a vintage anthropologist, the prime minister grasps the head of an Indigenous child trying to shake his hand. He beams, as if incredulous at the success of his twin stunts: “running the nation” from a bushland tent on the Gove Peninsula while “taking the nation to war”. Like any “reality” show, he is surrounded by cameras and manic attendants, who alert the nation to his principled and decisive acts.
But wait; the leader of all Australians must fly south to farewell the SAS, off on its latest heroic mission since its triumph in the civilian bloodfest of Afghanistan. “Pursuing sheer evil” sounds familiar. Of course, an historic mercenary role is unmentionable, this time backing the latest US installed sectarian regime in Baghdad and re-branded ex-Kurdish “terrorists”, now guarding Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Oil, Hunt Oil et al.
No parliamentary debate is allowed; no fabricated invitation from foreigners in distress is necessary, as it was in Vietnam. Speed is the essence. What with US intelligence insisting there is no threat from Islamic State to the US and presumably Australia, truth may deter the mission if time is lost. If yesterday’s police and media show of “anti-terror” arrests in “the plot against Sydney” fails to arouse the suspicions of the nation, nothing will. That the unpopular Abbott’s various wars are likely to be self-fulfilling, making Australians less safe, ought to be in the headlines, too. Remember the blowback from Blair’s wars.
But what of the beheadings? During the 21 months between James Foley’s abduction and his beheading, 113 people were reportedly beheaded by Saudi Arabia, one of Barack Obama’s and Abbott’s closest allies in their current “moral” and “idealistic” enterprise. Indeed, Abbott’s war will no doubt rate a plaque in the Australian War Memorial alongside all the other colonial invasions acknowledged in that great emporium of white nationalism – except, of course, the colonial invasion of Australia during which the beheading of the Indigenous Australian defenders was not considered sheer evil.
This returns us to the show in Arnhem Land. Abbott says the reason he and the media are camped there is that he can consult with Indigenous “leaders” and “gain a better understanding of the needs of people living and working in these areas”.
Australia is awash with knowledge of the “needs” of its First Peoples. Every week, it seems, yet another study adds to the torrent of information about the imposed impoverishment of and vicious discrimination against Indigenous people: apartheid in all but name. The facts, which can no longer be spun, ought to be engraved in the national consciousness, if not the prime minister’s. Australia has a rate of Indigenous incarceration higher than that of apartheid South Africa; deaths in custody occur as if to a terrible drumbeat; preventable Dickensian diseases are rampant, including among those who live in the midst of a mining boom that has made profits of a billion dollars a week. Rheumatic heart disease kills Indigenous people in their 30s and 40s, and their children go deaf and suffer trachoma, which causes blindness.
When, as shadow Indigenous health minister in 2009, Abbott was reminded by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous people that the Howard government’s fraudulent “intervention” was racist, he told Professor James Anaya to “get a life” and “stop listening to the old victim brigade”. The distinguished Anaya had just been to Utopia, a vast region in the Northern Territory, where I filmed the evidence of the racism and forced deprivation that had so shocked him and millions of viewers around the world. “Malnutrition”, a GP in central Australia told me, “is common.”
Today, as Abbott poses for the camera with children in Arnhem Land, the children of Utopia are being denied access to safe and clean drinking water. For 10 weeks, communities have had no running water. A new bore would cost just $35,000. Scabies and more trachoma are the result. (For perspective, consider that Labor’s last Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, spent $331,144 refurbishing her office in Canberra).
In 2012, Olga Havnen, a senior Northern Territory government official, revealed that more than $80m was spent on the surveillance of families and the removal of children compared with just $500,000 on supporting the same impoverished families. Her warning of a second Stolen Generation led to her sacking. This week in Sydney, Amnesty and a group known as Grandmothers Against Removals presented further evidence that the number of Indigenous children being taken from their families, often violently, was greater than at any time in Australia’s colonial history.
Will Abbott, self-proclaimed friend of Indigenous people, step in and defend these families? On the contrary, in his May budget, Abbott cut $534m from the “needs” of Indigenous people over the next five years, a quarter of which was for health provision. Far from being an Indigenous friend, Abbott’s government is continuing the theft of Indigenous land with a confidence trick called “99-year leases”. In return for surrendering their country – the essence of Aboriginality – communities will receive morsels of rent, which the government will take from Indigenous mining royalties. Perhaps only in Australia can such deceit masquerade as policy.
Similarly, Abbott appears to be supporting constitutional reform that will “recognise” Indigenous people in a proposed referendum. The “Recognise” campaign consists of familiar gestures and tokenism, promoted by a PR campaign “around which the nation can rally”, according to the Sydney Morning Herald – meaning the majority, or those who care, can feel they are doing something while doing nothing.
During all the years I have been reporting and filming Indigenous Australia, one “need” has struck me as paramount. A treaty. By that I mean an effective Indigenous bill of rights: land rights, resources rights, health rights, education rights, housing rights, and more. None of the “advances” of recent years, such as Native Title, has delivered the rights and services most Australians take for granted.
As Arrente/Amatjere leader Rosalie Kunoth-Monks says: “We never ceded ownership of this land. This remains our land, and we need to negotiate a lawful treaty with those who seized our land.” A great many if not most Indigenous Australians agree with her; and a campaign for a treaty – all but ignored by the media – is growing fast, especially among the savvy Indigenous young unrepresented by co-opted “leaders” who tell white society what it wants to hear.
That Australia has a prime minister who described this country as “unsettled” until the British came indicates the urgency of true reform – the end of paternalism and the enactment of a treaty negotiated between equals. For until we, who came later, give back to the first Australians their nationhood, we can never claim our own.
24 hours and talking has just begun Andrew Bolt is railing about talking. The man wishes he has an ear to the tent so he can direct what and how things can be discussed. Take a deep breath Bolt and hold it. We know you are fully informed about Aparthied. Talking starts somewhere lecturing goes nowhere. Listening is a skill you lack in spades.
Bolt is a Troll a lazy one at that he ran same blog on Noel Pearson last week. It was moronic then and is today. It was made up nonsense then and still is today. It was lies then and still is specious today.
Jackie Lambie represents an electorate not any Aboriginal community. Bolt speaks of her as if she is some representative. He gives her voice he gives her attention so he can knock her down. Bolt needs space a fatuous filler for his meaningless argument about parliamentary representation. . He is not only lazy but a danger he is constructing an argument about Noel Pearson, the constitution which is self-serving, narcissistic, racist bullshit.
Noel Pearson unlike Lambie does represent some Aboriginal communities not all but some, so he does have a legitimate voice. Nowhere does he argue what Bolt attributes to him, that a separate parliamentary voice is needed. Bolt is a liar, a coward protected in his Murdoch tower.
He and Pearson agree on the constitution. They agree that race is a non issue. Pearson isn’t asking for a separate parallel parliament nor any special place in the current parliamentary structure. Bolt is just needs us to believe it for his argument’s sake. He constructs the lies to knock them down and attributes them to Pearson. Bolt’s whole blog is a wank nothing to do with reality other than to say “look at me aren’t I a clever prick”
We live in a differentiated society. Representative associations act as advisers to the government on all sorts of matters ANIC ,AHA, IPA etc they lobby and advise the government ministers on all sorts of issues. To say we are a society of individuals alone with equal influence is crap. Newscorp is a lot more than just a bunch of individuals with varying opinions. Bolt is part of that corporate tribe.
Aboriginal people are a number groups (mobs)which have both common and separate interests 13 different clans are meeting the PM as we speak. Bolt always refers to them as one amorphous whole it suits his lazy simplistic argument. He does it with Islam and the left and any number of people. It’s taken over a year for these 13 clans to have this broken promised meeting with the Abbott who also happens to be their current minister and whose department is non functioning shambles at the moment. Warren Mundine is his Abbotts personal adviser on Aboriginal affairs one man. Mundine is not representative of Aborigines at all.
Pearson is Advocating an inclusive representative organization a body of Aboriginals to advice the minister. What Andrew Bolt is racist in that? He is not talking colour he is talking common and separate interests of varying communities both isolated and urban . Pearson is talking about representational and inclusive government isn’t that our current democratic system?. If Bolt suggests there is something nefarious in that he is self-serving scum whose running a polemic for polemics sake. This country is divided into interest groups political parties, womens groups etc etc etc the Abbott government listens to them through their representative organizations and notthrough a single adviser like Mundine or Noel Pearson. Gay groups, Right wing think tanks and even Newscorp have a voice. Tony Abbott has dinner with Murdoch because their friends, pigs arse. Singling out Noel Pearson and using him to run your inane specious argument is racist and a self-serving offering of crap. I bet you wouldn’t dare run this shit by Noel Pearson face to face Bolt only from the safety of your Murdoch tower. Ask him to talk to you on the Bolt Report in the studio you gutless media troll.
A YEAR AGO TONY ABBOTT PROMISED TO BE BACK IF HE WON THE ELECTION. BULLSHIT
BOLT BLAMES THE CULTURE NOT A HISTORY OF INTERVENTION BULLSHIT
HE SHOULD HAVE WATCHED Q&A LIVE
Noel Pearson,Nova Peris,KenWyatt, Djawa Yunupingu, Joe Morrison, & Dhanggal Gurruwiwi all Showed why
ANDREW BOLT IS AN ULTRA RACIST