Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Involuntary simplicity - with maximum economic force

I look at this picture and it reminds me of when I supported boycotts against apartheid in South Africa back in the 1970s.  I have never been to South Africa but to me it looks like photographs from segregated communities in apartheid South Africa. 

The sad, horrible thing is that the photograph above is from 21st century Australia.  
The Northern Territory. 
Where we stigmatise Aboriginal people. 
Where we boss them around. 
Where we give them a specific card, a sort of economic passport 
which defines status rather like the the pass laws of apartheid South Africa.

And where we sing
Advance Australia Fair.

Aboriginal people have served as a social laboratory for the major political parties of Australia - the Liberal/National Party under John Howard which governed from 1996-2007 and the Australian Labor Party under Kevin Rudd and then Julia Gillard which has governed Australia since the end of 2007 and now governs by the skin of its teeth in a hung Parliament.

Both sides of the political coin have supported this evil, sinful public policy.

Now this system is to be extended further to urban black people and others dependent on the social security system through Centrelink.

We have become a nation which stigmatises people: Aboriginals, refugees and asylum seekers, the poor.  We are forcing people to simply live .... living, to put it simply, in dire and insecure circumstances depriving children of their future and the elderly of meaningful care and support while confusing and placing impositions on everyone else.  Then there are those who simply live a sort of death-in-life process because their wounds have meant addiction to grog and drugs or criminal offences which walk them through prison gates.

In all this, successive Australian Governments have played fast and loose with the Racial Discrimination Act which purports to give effect to Australia's responsibilities under The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).  


We in Australia are hypocrites. 
We in Australia are people not to be trusted. 
For we Australians, our word is not our bond.  

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