Thursday, 14 April 2011

#TwiggyForrest : #Yindjibarndi : #AustralianEmploymentCovenant/AEC : #GenerationOne #Aboriginal #indigenous #employment #mining #resources #vimeo


Twiggy Forrest (with arm in sling) -
out in the open with his back to the wall.

This post is further to this most interesting one

Crikey is on Twiggy's case again to-day.  It appears that the video embedded in that previous post is likely to incite racial hatred.Mmmmm.....I don't deal in hatred but the only racial hatred that I could see which would be incited by this video is how to form extremely negative views about a white billionaire mining magnate

Andrew Forrest is a man who seeks his own way - you don't get to where he is in the industry he is in without being a forceful and single-minded character.  Andrew Forrest also knows that miners seeking credence and social licence in the wider Australian public need a veneer of respectability in their dealings with Aboriginal Australia.  This Twiggy has tried to do with Generation One. The jury is still out on the success of this program but there is some doubt expressed that it will get to its goal. See here and here.

Vimeo ought not to have taken the complaint - backed though it may be with power, influence and money - against the Yindjibarndi video as seriously as it did.  Vimeo should realise that, by its compliant action, it has walked into a minefield of power, racism and dispossession.  In fact, from one angle it could seem that Vimeo has, with alacrity, done to an Aboriginal community what white people and their corporations have been doing for over two hundred years.  They have taken one-sided action which benefitted themselves instead of looking objectively and dispassionately at the situation and considering any detriment that might accrue to the Yindjibarndi from acquisence to the Forrest camp with the removal of the video from the Vimeo site .  If Vimeo had bothered to examine the video itself it could have seen for itself what was going on and faced up to Twiggy and his lawyers with fortitude instead of a lillied liver.

I think it could be useful to examine the Yindjibarndi video in the light of the the Australian Employment Covenant (AEC) experience which has carried through to the GenerationOne experience.  Time and events demonstrate the lack of veracity in AEC claims that it  "brings all Australians together to help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in employment and employment opportunities."

Firstly, the words of Sharon Firebrace provide some insight into some Aboriginal views on AEC/Generation One: 
Sharon Firebrace, spokeperson for the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective, agrees. GenerationOne has been a “failure in the past” and it’s time for Aboriginal people to start speaking out on the issue, she says.  Jobs for Aboriginal people will be delivered through fighting against the interests of the people like Andrew Forrest and challenging this government,” Firebrace told Crikey.”....
But according to Firebrace, the GenerationOne website fails to mention land rights, dispossession, racism and the “ongoing genocide that lies at the heart of Aboriginal disadvantage”.
These issues need to be discussed seriously, well before Aboriginal people commit to Fortescue’s ‘brave new world’ solution,” she said. “We need to have Aboriginal people discussing this and the implications of it.”
The implications of Forrest's actions in regard to the divided Yindjibarndi community and legitimate claims relating to Yindjibarndi country and legitimate questions seeking details on use of Yindjibarndi land appear, from the video, to be ignored or skated over by Forrest and Fortescue.  This land is not only a spiritual, historical, and geographical resource for the Yindjibarndi nation but an economic resource as well.  It is unmitigated hypocrisy for Forrest to drive a program like AEC/GenerationOne on the one hand and then with the other seek to drive a wedge into an Aboriginal community and fail to provide the most basic of answers to the community's questions put through their legal advisor.  
So we look at the AEC/GenerationOne set-up comprising wealthy, conservative business people and privileged Aboriginal people supported by a conservative Australian Labor Party government. We listen to views which appear to indicate that Twiggy Forrest's employment scheme has not met the targets envisaged for it.  We look at the video of the Yindjibarndi meeting with Twiggy Forrest and find that he cuts a less than attractive figure in the proceedings given his education, experience, power and privilege.  So perhaps Twiggy needs to come clean with Australians and confess that his idea of AEC/GenerationOne was to provide him and his cohort a veneer of respectability particularly when dealing with a serious and sombre national issue - Aboriginal unemployment and economic exclusion.  Successful intervention in an Aboriginal economic issue would stand him in good stead in any negotiations for his companies involving Aboriginal people and their interests.
I think your cover has been blown, Twiggy.  Your cause has been hit amidships by your own actions.  Tell Vimeo you withdraw your complaint.  Tell them they can re-instate the video.  What a reconciliatory action that might be!  That could be reconciliatory action No. 1.  No 2 reconciliatory action could be to take responsibility for your role in dividing an Aboriginal community which seeks to forward its own interests and well-being while maintaining its identity and culture.  If you could revisit these matters with a mature and reconciliatory attitude which did not put your own self-interest in a dominant and dominating position, then your reputation might be rescued and advanced and, eventually, you might do something for Aboriginal economic interests.

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