two excellent interviews by that indefatigable duo, paddy gibson and ms. barbara shaw on what is wrong with the intervention that the howard – krudd – gillard governments are forcing onto the aborigines on welfare, most of them, in the prescribed areas.
the end outcome of all of this criminal and immoral behaviour by the governments has only one strategic bottom line and that is access to all aboriginal traditional lands on behalf of mining international, among others. the stripping of all services from daguragu (wave hill) to force the inhabitants into the so-called hub areas is nothing less than an attack on our cultural connections to our lands. it must be understood that once our traditional owners walk or get pushed off their lands, the lands are then claimed by the governments as lands that have lost their cultural links to the owners who once resided there and thus become, by government default and decree, government controlled lands to do with as they may wish.
some of us are only too well aware of what that wish is!
paddy informs us of the most interesting point of what aboriginal workers are being paid to build, or assist in building, aboriginal housing. they are being paid a pittance, a mere $6 dollars an hour or even less whilst the white contractors are becoming the nouveau riche from their constant rorts from what is essentially aboriginal-designated monies.
i have written before on my concerns that the government, having mainly scrapped the aboriginal initiated cdep programmes, are still advocating cdep-type wages for local aboriginal labour. i have this theory, so far unproven due to a lack of concrete information, on what wages twiggy forrest and the rest of the mining companies are paying their aboriginal workers? are they on cdep-type wages? or are they on some long-term ‘trainee’ wages that allows their employers to rort the hell out of them? are they receiving their full work entitlements? we may never know but these are the questions that continue to nag at me.
what are the appropriate unions doing about it? i assume that the cfmeu and the awu have carved it up between them but are they too busy protecting the non-aboriginal workers? the awu during its conception banned aboriginal, chinese, islander, etc. membership. i just hope they have not regressed in any way. i have not heard either union or, in fact, any other union, making statements on these issues. why? i just do not know.
is fairwork australia or workchoices for that matter colour-blind?
ms. barbara continues to inform us of the ills that beset those living in the prescribed areas and the constant abuse and manipulation that follows from that. she at least lives in the prescribed areas and is daily affected by the mechanics of the intervention process unlike some other aboriginal pundits who remain living in sydney, melbourne or even alice springs and are in no way affected but continue to support it.
during the ensuing q and a that followed her wise words, she was asked the seemingly inevitable question arising from, i believe, white angst against their problems of what to do and how to do it. yes they declare their empathy, their sympathy, their apologies and their collective need for some form of reconciliation. but still they expect we victims to do something about it.
i no longer await the inevitable question, i pre-empt it in my presentations to an audience, as i recently did in melbourne, and in my daily conversations on these matters of importance to them, non-aboriginal australia.
if you have enough aboriginal knowledge of our shared history (not pre-invasion history as that is for the stuff of museums and the ‘noble savage’ romantics) to enable you to attend an address or forum of an aboriginal activist of whatever ilk, then i would believe, and argue, that you have at least some level of the answer already known to yourself. the query involved what we as aborigines wanted. why were we continuously so negative in an abbot-esque fashion? positive ideas and ideals were sought as to what could/would make changes and, basically, why did we not just go ahead and bloody do it!
without being critical of barbara’s answer i would add the following to it. with her consent of course.
we aboriginal number circa 500 000 whilst non-aboriginal australia is nearing circa 25 000 000, a 50 to 1 ratio if my creaky maths are correct. our people have been active in harrying the dominant culture since the invasion in so many ways. physical resistance proved to be impossible and we lost too many of our ancestors to retaliations and outright genocidal massacres. we learnt quickly that we needed to change tactics. i argue that our numbers nationally were reduced from some 2 to 3 million, pre-invasion, to something like a tenth of our people remaining from the late 19th century on. but we have grown as a people since then and our resistance has now become a more political one. during the late 1960’s and 70’s our activities have changed from time to time to better reflect our argument of what was possible at that time. we do not beg for our rights and what is ours, we now demand everything that is rightfully ours and in this we are fully supported by the un declaration of indigenous peoples.
but, and it is indeed a big but, we still remain fairly powerless in our own lands. we are certainly no south africa.
who then has the power to make such changes? it is those same people who are empowered merely by living on our sacred and stolen lands. it is those same people who benefit every day from the monies stolen from our ancestral resources. it is those same people who have been given a far better life and family circumstances at the cost of what has been pushed upon aborigines and their blitzkrieged families. it is all of that and more but most of all it is within your collective power to change our current society by having the numbers to force governments to act both humanely and positively towards the traditional owners of this country. and other much maligned groups such as asylum seekers and people of colour.
i have argued for many years that of the non-aboriginal population we can say that about 8 million of that demographic is aware of and supports, to varying degrees, what is seen as aboriginal issues and how to address them. an impressive number for sure but not enough to shake the government of the day. the answer lies in we, the aborigines and the one third, educating some 4 to 5 million others of what is required to really make this country the land of the ‘fair go.’ this is now being done, however slowly, by people educating themselves on our black and white history and by more and more education units accepting aboriginal studies into their curricula. it will not happen in my lifetime nor even perhaps that of my children but i have high hopes that my grandchildren and all the other aboriginal grandchildren will lead a far better life in a society that recognises and accepts that assimilation is not the answer. like the intervention it is merely a symptom of the disease that envelops my people.
so as our much respected elder, dr. ruby langford ginibi, stated at every possible moment,
we got to edu-ma-cate them. so let’s just go ahead and bloody do it!
one point that i would ask both paddy and barbara to inform us on is what is happening with the ‘mission managers’ who have been foisted onto the prescribed communities and what are they doing. it is my understanding that these government appointed ‘trojan horses’, at about $300 000 per year, are living in virtual luxury whilst our people remain in squalor.
more strength to both of you, comrades.
indigenous social justice association
Elders voice anger over NT intervention
Episode 2011 – 37: Alternative to the NT Intervention
Broadcast 6 October 2011 on 2ser radio 107.3 Sydney
Presented by Simon Unwin
Download: Episode 2011 – 37: Alternatives to the NT Intervention