First Australians continue to be failed by government & community.

How long must it take? We immigrants and descendants of colonisers occupy a continent that belongs to the First Australians. We ought to be grateful. Instead, we have inflicted on them everything from prejudice to genocide. We have raped, enslaved, massacred, dispossessed, stolen their children, neglected, insulted and demeaned the First Australians for their very existence.

John Howard might well dismiss my comment as a “black armband view of history” but those of us with consciences and a respect for the dignity and welfare of others cannot. No, it may not have been I that shot an aborigine or raped his wife or stole his children but I and all others whose country this is [not], have an obligation to make proper and real amends for the hurt inflicted on people who had lived in this country for 60,000 years or more.

To their credit, the First Australians have attempted, despite having every reason not to do so, to adapt to our alien culture, sacred beliefs, social system and laws. They have fought alongside us in wars that were none of their making and nothing to do with them. They have taught us how to survive in a landscape hostile to our way of living and thinking. They have learned to speak our language, to accept ways of child-rearing and education that are completely at odds with their traditions, and they have sought to achieve the ability, knowledge and talents that have allowed them to work. in our social settings, to competently fulfil jobs of our economic system and to achieve significant political office and senior appointments in many other areas of service to the whole nation.

How many of us have taken even a few steps in reciprocation?

Despite all, many in our population and probably the majority of those that represent us in State and Federal Government, have failed to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples be treated equitably. To add insult to injury, their achievements and contribution to this nation, whose non-indigenous ancestors stole their country, might as well never have happened if judged by the scant acknowledgement they receive. Even today, as I write, the Australian Government continues to treat the First Australians with disdain. Not only did the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, instantly reject out of hand the Uluru Declaration – the result of a process that he instigated and that represented support from the coming together of all First Australians, but he and his government continue to make decisions affecting the First peoples which not only don’t include them but appear to specifically exclude them.

This situation is despicable and shameful and, in my view, every non-First Australian should demand that our obligations to these people be met NOW. It is time for the talking and prevarication and ideologically driven attempts to re-write history, of those such as John Howard, be cast into the dustbin of history where they belong.

I am white. I am an immigrant. I am a descendant of British origins. I accept the guilt I feel, the sorrow I feel, the disgust I feel for the treatment of the First Australians by my ancestors and other colonists and their descendants since the first invasion and occupation of this continent by other races. Yes, I am as guilty as they and that guilt will continue to haunt me until the Australian community and its supposed representatives, the Australian State and Federal Governments, CHANGE. “Sorry” was a start but “sorry” means little when it an apology made without CHANGE.

I am a nobody. I have no wealth, no power, no prominent position. I do have an intellect. I do have compassion. I do have an ethical and moral code. I do recognise when there is a real wrong that is NOT taken seriously and is even being perpetuated with further demeaning measures such as the Northern Territory Intervention and paternalistic control of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allowances.

I CALL ON ALL AUSTRALIANCES OF CONSCIENCE TO STAND WITH THE FIRST AUSTRALIANS AND DEMAND OF GOVERNMENT THAT THE FIRST PEOPLES BE INCLUDED AS A FIRST PRINCIPLE IN ANY GOVERNMENT DISCUSSIONS THAT MAY DIRECTLY AFFECT THE FUTURES OF THOSE FIRST PEOPLES AND THAT AN IMMEDIATE CHANGE TO THEIR STATUS AND ITS RECOGNITION BE MADE TO REDRESS THE SAD, DEPRESSED AND INEQUITABLE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH MOST FIRST AUSTRALIANS LIVE.

via ‘Almost a full retreat’: Damning review finds Closing the Gap policy ‘effectively abandoned’ | SBS News

This article has 3 Comments

  1. what a hassle just getting here to leave a reply…

    listen i didn’t even know i had a ‘membership of the site’

    yep, if i do, then cancel it….

  2. You will believe what you will believe, Arthur. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that what you believe is the truth or that it even approaches the truth. It may well be that *what you believe* is actually “arrant nonsense”, as you said of the post on which you commented.

    As I said in my introduction to the linked article, I am ‘ashamed of myself’, in the sense that I am a descendant of those who occupied this continent and who have mistreated its indigenous peoples ever since.

    I am not, however, ashamed of myself for publicising the wrongs that have been inflicted on the First Australians and those that they continue to suffer.

    Your arrogant and dismissive reference to ‘poor racial minorities’ is indicative of a failure to understand Australian history and a, not uncommon, prejudice against the disadvantaged communities that have been decimated and abused by dominant nations throughout history.

    Were you to have been unfortunate enough to have been born into one of them, you would, without doubt, have a very different view. Were you to use what intellect you have in a logical and rational way, you might see the indecency of your prejudice and the lack of any evidence to support the notion that my words and those of the SBS article were in any way, “arrant nonsense”.

    You mentioned elsewhere that you didn’t know how you had arrived here and then launched into a similar, ill-expressed and unfounded deprecation of what was written. I have to say that I consider you somewhat rude.

    I am very willing to read alternative views or critical appraisal of what I write. I expect only that those criticisms stand up to fair examination, especially in regard to evidence, the rationality of argument and validity of logic. It is also valuable if criticism is constructive, rather than abusive.

    As you don’t appear to be either capable of or willing to engage in civil and rational discussion, I suggest that this is not a site to which you are likely to make a useful contribution.

    I believe that censorship is a negative activity and that all should be free to express their views, no matter how ugly or invalid. For that reason, I avoid blocking people or deleting members from my own sites or social media posts. I would only do so in really extreme circumstances and probably only if it involved abuse of others, as I have a very thick skin and am immune to abuse, having realised long ago that it only shows up the failings of the abuser, rather than doing me harm.

    However, given your dissatisfaction with what you’ve read here and your apparent lack of motivation to learn from difference, perhaps you should consider cancelling your membership of the site.

  3. I believe this to be arrant nonsense.

    Most probably just another facile tirade riding the convenient bandwagon of ‘poor racial minorities’ .

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

Leave a Reply