Australia’s most popular prime minister, Bob Hawke, tried to deliver a treaty with Aboriginal people back in 1988. Bob Hawke and a promise of Aboriginal treaty. He was unsuccessful because he could not get bipartisan support for a treaty from his colleagues back in Canberra. John Howard opposed the idea of a treaty in 1988 and remains opposed to the Voice today. What is the common theme here? Liberal Party of Australia leaders opposing official recognition of First Nation’s Australians. Peter Dutton carries that conservative racist flag today. The idea that all Aboriginal people should fall into line with a modern European/British conception of what it means to be Australian is called assimilation.
“The statement was written on bark and called for self-determination, a national system of land rights, compensation, an end to discrimination, respect for Aboriginal identity, and the granting of social, economic and cultural rights.
We, the Indigenous owners and occupiers of Australia, call on the Australian Government and people to recognise our rights.
— THE BARUNGA STATEMENT
The Prime Minister responded by expressing that he would create a treaty between Aboriginal people and wider Australia by 1990. This commitment has never been fulfilled.”
The Voice, Aboriginal Treaty & Truth Telling
I saw a bumper sticker the other day for the No vote campaign, which read “One Flag, One Mob, One Australia”. What this actually means is fall into step with our white cultural conception of what Australia is. This is a racist idea. It denies the Indigenous identity of the First Nations of this land. It is about homogenising the Australian identity under the European invader’s flag. A grown up and true multicultural Australia can afford to recognise the many strands of cultural identity that makes up this rich land and its peoples. The wonderful mix of original Indigenous Aussies with the many waves of migration that have come after. Recognition of First Nation’s Australians is important to the healing necessary in a post-colonial world. It is important for the descendants of the Indigenous peoples of this land to be recognised for who their ancestors were and who they are in relation to this. There have been hundreds of years of denial, degradation, and indifference. This has morphed into a general level of accepted neglect at the poverty and plight of many Indigenous Australians.
Everybody needs things to be proud of, especially of their roots and identity.
Racist Australia & Voice, Treaty, Truth Telling
The No vote campaign has waged a war of misinformation and fear mongering. A couple of self-serving conservative politicians who happen to be Aboriginal have become the face of rejecting the Voice proposal to the Constitution. This will be the smokescreen for many racist white Australians to vote No. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is not a perfect document. It is, however, a step in the right direction and the voice to parliament is that first step.
Conservative Corporatised Australian Media
The Australian media has a conservative bent, which is not surprising when you consider who owns it. Rupert Murdoch, that twisted old hard-line right wing fanatic, and the Nine Fairfax Corporation. The concentration of media ownership in the hands of just two companies is another illustration of the complete failure of the ACCC and government oversight in Australia. Newspapers, news radio and TV networks all under the aegis of very few is bad for Australians. The rise of Communications/PR over journalism in the sector has further corporatised the media in this country.
Corporate Australia is a conservative force. Their definition of ‘racism’ is underwhelming and far too narrow. Probably because their voices share the same racist underpinnings.
Jacinta Price, the National party senator, claiming for all Aboriginals that no negative colonial ramifications exist in Australia is a massive call based on what? Her expertise in these matters Australia wide? I doubt it. It is a political gambit put out there to bolster her Uncle Tom like place in the conservative conception of modern Australia. I am reminded of equivalents in America, Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas. These politicians and high profile individuals are doing very well for themselves – they are not representative of those Indigenous Australians who need the gap closed in terms of health, wealth, and wellbeing. Jacinta Price is even against ‘the welcome to country’ acknowledgements at sporting contests – what is her problem? Is she ashamed of her Aboriginality? Just remember these Nationals’ and Liberals’ were voted out of government and what did they achieve for First Nations’ Australians in their 10 years in office? Very little.
Why Are These National & Liberal Party Pollies So Against A Voice For Aboriginal Australia?
I ask myself why the conservative forces have come out so strongly against a proposal to recognise First Nation’s Australians and give them an advisory voice to parliament. What are they so afraid of? Why do thin skinned Australians always fear that land will be taken away from them? Remember Mabo and the fear mongering peddled by conservative social commentators at that time? Is it because they know deep down it was stolen in the first place. Nobody is going to be taking anyone’s land or home away from them. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a generous invitation to the Australian people. Vote Yes. Do the right thing. This vote is not about white Australia. This referendum is about seeing Australia as a big enough place to allow diversity to flourish, not divisiveness. We do not all need to be the same, we are not. Step out of your shoes and imagine if you were related to a First Nation’s mob, wouldn’t you want that to be recognised by the law of the land you live in? It is time to heal the old wounds.
Vote Yes. We can all celebrate the wonderful diversity at the heart of Australia. 60, 000 years of the making of this place by the original inhabitants. It is something we can all be proud of, as we learn more about it and share it more widely with the world and all Australians.
Bob Hawke Promised Perhaps Albo Can Deliver
Bob Hawke and a promise of Aboriginal treaty undelivered. Anthony Albanese is having another go at getting things right with Australia. These things are not easy and don’t come perfectly wrapped, but they are attempted with the best of intentions and a good heart. Always saying No to stuff because you have fears is no way to go about living. Think of your own family and those times when things emerge which must see the light of day. Kids growing up and doing things their way for instance. You can resist it but in the end we all have to let go to the new day and the next generation.
Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of Money Matters: Navigating Credit, Debt, and Financial Freedom.