While I had news of the death of Maurice Rioli early yesterday afternoon, I waited to post my Vale to him. And I will tell you why.
I am s-o-o disappointed about the newspaper reportage of the coverage of Maurice's life. The majority of the words written about Maurice are seen through the lens of AFL football. Fair enough when seen from one direction - and one direction only.
Football changed Maurice's life and it has been instrumental in changing Australian views about Aboriginal people and their capabilities. But there is little or no mention of Maurice as a representative of his people and as a representative of Northern Territory people in general.
There is more to life than football and while football may also have been the entree to his political life - it would be good to see the media taking this part of Maurice's life seriously. Maurice's political life might not have been a career to set the world on fire but it was a serious and meaningful part of his life, even with the difficulties he encountered while doing his best to represent the people of Arafura.
So I postponed writing this because I wanted to find a picture of Maurice as I knew him, as a Parliamentarian - suited and booted below that wonderful head of glossy, curly black hair. I sent an SOS out on Twitter - but to date no success. So, Networkers, if you come across a picture of Maurice Rioli in his parliamentary days and attire, please forward to me to fill the vacant pictorial space on this post.
Vale, Maurice. You were and will continue to be - valued.