‘Gurri Ngindin Narmi’ on May Day 2022

Gurri Ngindin Narmi … words of welcome to this place, welcome people from all directions. Welcome to Barrambin, the windy place of many waterholes, in the language of the Jaggera people, the traditional name for what we know now as Victoria Park and it surrounds.

My name is Ben Jones … my bloodline is with the Nuigi clan of the Quandamooka people, we formed the Eastern component of the broader Jagera nation. And it’s my solemn duty and great honour to welcome you comrades here to Barrambin and to pay respects to elder’s past, present and emerging.

I acknowledge all other indigenous trade unionists here today, not least of all cousin Karina from the Queensland Council of unions who helped put this together today. Also my son Bram here. And now my daughter Willis, who I believe is off enjoying the rides various cousins through the various other unions. Welcome one and all.

I carry with me a long tradition of Aboriginal union activists through my uncle, Uncle Bob Anderson, life member of the CFMMEU construction division. And it’s on Bob’s behalf that I speak today given that uncle is a bit unwell. And he was a bit sorry he couldn’t be here but we said my It’s alright. This is only the second one that you’ve missed since 1951. You get a feet up and have a rest.

Uncle Bob’s uncle, my great uncle, Paul Tripcony who was vice-president of the Federated Liquor Trade Employees Union during the mid-1930s. Shout out to all the Misos here today. And I believe Great Uncle Paul was the first indigenous executive member of a union in Queensland, my great union, the Services Union where I’m a lead organizer.

I’m very proud to say that my union takes indigenous issues very seriously. I’m one of two indigenous senior officials with our union and via the QCU our wonderful peak body we’ve recently secured funding from our great state labor government to enable me to get up to all the remote indigenous communities at the top end and roll out some basic industrial relations training for the mob up there.

When my people the Quandamooka people achieved Native title over our lands on Mulgumpin on Moreton island. It was a state labor Deputy Premier in the form of Jackie Trad. who poured the Moreton Island sands into Uncle Bob’s hands in a move, echoing what Gough Whitlam did with the uncle Lingiari back in the 70s.

Labour governments take indigenous issues seriously. And Labour governments take workers issues seriously. So it wouldn’t be a good union official. If I wasn’t here to give you an organizing task. Everyone here knows what to do on the 21st of May.

Your organizing task is to have one conversation with one of your undecided friends and remind them of why they need to put the LNP last because that’s where the LNP has put the rights of workers in this country. So when we’re back up here next year, when Uncle Bob’s back up here to give you the Welcome to Country next year. We want our group member Terri Butler to be the minister rather than the Shadow Minister for Environment. Gari nyndi nami. Thank you

Ben Jones
2 May 2022

Song
Joe Geia – Gurri Ngindin Narmi’

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