AUSTRALIA DAY IN BLACK AND WHITE
by contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence
“Many of our people call it invasion day,” said Mr Mick Dodson, a professor of law at the Australian National University. “To many indigenous Australians, in fact, most indigenous Australians, it really reflects the day in which our world came crashing down.”
When Mick Dodson uttered those words in 2009, after being named Australian of the Year, he addressed the echidna in the outback room. I’m not the only Australian that empathises with him and like thinkers.
We have become so used to having a moribund Federal Parliament that has long divested itself of any concern, or even affection, for its people, but instead has morphed into a wasteland of toxic factions and fetid egos whose venal pursuit of power for power’s sake has reduced our nation’s governance to political squalor and hypocrisy.
This year we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy set up on the grounds of the old Parliament House in Canberra. It is a sacred vigil.
The Tent Embassy has a nobility, patriotic passion and sense of purpose that is completely lacking in The Big House.
Its Coat of Arms and Constitution has no need for royal decree, since the people themselves have decreed it and declared it.
It does not buy and sell speakers and squelchers of the House. Its Ambassadors do not sit in high chairs or high dudgeon.
The Tent Embassy seeks equality not superiority. It seeks recognition that this nation was occupied by aborigines when the first white boat people arrived in their tens, then hundreds, then thousands and now millions and became the master race through brute and gentler force, imposing their language, their religion and their diseases — and whatever else…
It is a disgrace that we have yet to acknowledge the original inhabitants of our Great Southern Land in our Constitution. I say that, as I write, in the midst of much back patting and back stabbing and nonsensical puffery surrounding the issue.
It is more than a disgrace that we have no Treaty in place and I have long felt this.
I feel we will remain an illegitimate nation until we are honourable enough to do the right thing.
In February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wrote himself indelibly into Australian history when he said Sorry. Perhaps we will have to wait for the Gillard FM (Faceless Men) Coup to be reversed for him to negotiate a Treaty.
Certainly, of all the big noters and the big notaries in the Labor Party – the big talkers and the big hawkers – Kevin Rudd came the closest to effecting a Treaty. He might yet get the chance to extend his historical paragraph.
Today, Independent Australia republishes an article I wrote for Planet Oz Media in 2009 about the Dodson Affair. Tragically, so little has changed in the years since. Dodson was seen by some to be ungrateful and ungracious when he made his comments — and yet, I rejoice that other Australians of the Year have since voiced their passions and beliefs and told it like it is, without marinating in spin or ingratiation.
It’s the Australia that I once knew and still love. Our Governments can reduce us to political Shamocracy, but We the People can still act on behalf of, and with, our communities and refuse to be threatened into silence or brutalised by corporations into submission.
AUSTRALIA DAY OR LOSTRALIA DAY?
G’day Australia. Do most of us really believe that it’s the right thing to celebrate Australia Day on the anniversary of a date when a bunch of whiteys preposterously plonked a Union Jackboot in the sand and declared the land unoccupied, when they had clearly seen a bunch of black fellows peeping through the gum leaves.
Smacks of a rip-off to me. Come off it, sport, how UNaustralian is that, mate?! Fair suck of the saveloy our gracious king.
And what’s up with ‘lil Kev. When he was Kevin 007 he said ‘Sorry’ for Gawd’s sake. Now he’s morphed into Kevin 09, long lost blue blood brother to one John Winston Howard, hogging the mike and telling us all the answer is an emphatic ‘ NO! ‘to any thought of moving the date for
Australia Day to a more appropriate ‘time of the month’ or year.
I was rather disturbed at his attitude and his nobody language. How can Kev go on about democracy and freedom of speech and in the same breath dictate to that big black upstart, the man with the hat, and his like, that the date WILL NOT be moved. Who said? You’re an elected servant of the people, Kev. The Great Unwashed. You might be removed at the next election, mate, for all you know. And what’s up with the drongo Supposition agreeing with him?
Not a good thing to say ‘never’ in politics, Kev. We of the never never reckon you could find yourself eating someone else’s turds. I’m with Professor Mick Dodson, Australian of the Year – and
Ron Barassi and the apparent minority to which I belong, that believes in Australia Day – but not its date.
As it stands, it’s a day for dancing alright; dancing on the collective grave of the inhabitants of the First Nation. You’ve lost me on this one Kev. Australia Day is invasion day — Lostralia.
What’s more, Kev, and this is neither threat nor prophecy (in case you’re thinking of issuing any ridgydidge fridge magnets to report any Australia Day insurgents), if you keep this up you could get a pair of thongs thrown at you at your next press conference.
A.D. or B.C.?
Should A.D. (Australia Day) better reflect B.C. (before Cook)? I say yes. I say change — not the short change that keeps coming to indigenous Australians.
Tough if it’s an inconvenience to change the date, or to seriously think about what we are doing to our indigenous brethren. All the platitudes in the gin-joints of the world mean nothing if we are incapable of empathy on this matter.
In truth this country was ‘founded’ on a lie. It was not ‘terra nullius’; but to a people that considered itself the master race of the universe, blacks were not humans. Bungs didn’t count.
Do they now, Kev? Not really. Neither in fact; nor in law. Not the white man’s lore. Not the King’s Law. Nor the white Queen’s Law. Nor, it seems, do we want them contributing to public debate and impacting upon the outcomes of those debates.
A bit of shiny bling…
…to pin on their diseased and diabetic chests
We orchestrated their past and we’ll orchestrate their future. We know what’s good for them.
Say ‘Sorry’, keep them happy, give them a bit of shiny bling to pin on their diseased diabetic chests.
Better hold on the toxic sugar. And the rabid 100% alcohol-proof fences.
Even if they are on the dole forever, their life span is not as long as ours, so whiteys on the dole forever can still enjoy the dole life plan for much longer. In a way, their early deaths represent considerable saving to the public purse. Come to think of it, then, this means it is not economically viable for us to improve their health.
They wouldn’t work in an iron ore lung…
They wouldn’t work in an iron-ore lung anyway.
There are two types of black deaths in custody. There are your traditional black deaths in custody: go alive into a prison cell, come out dead — Aunties wailing and tearing their hearts and hair out.
You know the scenario. They make such a bloody songline and dance about it.
Then there’s the other black deaths in custody. They now run into their thousands.
They’re the black deaths that have taken place since they’ve been in custody of the wider community. Our community. In our political custody and all that entails. That is, the sum total of all of us since white foot first trod heavy upon this Great Southern Land.
Once, in 1967, white and whiteish folks voted for aborigines to be counted in the national census.
What if we turned the tablelands on that? Do you think we could ask indigenous Australians to participate in a referendum about the date on which we should celebrate Australia Day? Could they be trusted with such political gravitas? Is that too big a word for them, Kev?
You probably want to keep them away from the political gravy train. Look at what happened to ATSICK. I mean, you wouldn’t want them handling a Wheat Board or, say, be Victoria’s Minister for Transport, Lynne Kosky, or anything like that.
Reckonciliation — Reconciliation
And you’d have to keep them away from plonk, glue and petrol wouldn’t you, Kev? Thenthey might be able to handle it. You’d have to keep them away from parliamentary dining rooms otherwise all their rellies would be eating there and complaining theirservings weren’t big enough.
Have you seen how they scoff their tucker? As if there’s no tomorrow. A short tomorrow, granted — but, look, they do get everything just handed to them on a platter. They get handouts and handsup and handshakes — and then they paint all those hands and plant them in the ground. And then have the cheek to give us their hand in wreckonciliation … oops! Reconciliation, I mean.
But that’s not all. They might have altercations on a night out with the iguanas, which they like to bake over an open fire. And you’d have to ban them from going overseas and representing us as diplomats because they’ll just get on the booze — they could also lose their daks, gawd love’em; but they do wear those red nappy things when they’re dancing, so it would probably be alright in the long run.
Better still Uncle Kev, keep them away from any real participation in political change. No, I like
the way you stood up to Professor Mick — have you done a bio authenticity check on him? What’s he profess to be a Professor of, ’eh?
We stole this land. Dress it up in laws and legislation as much as you like. We all continue to collude in this theft. As long as we delay Reconciliation and a Treaty, we remain accomplices.
It’s not right. It’s not fair. It’s not justice. We can’t undo the past. But we should be honest enough to acknowledge it.
Obama spells a Mabo backwards
I love this country. Like many of us who travel overseas, I am perplexed at the nostalgia and sentiment that intoxicate the brain when away from her. It is surely a spiritual bond and not the privilege of one skin colour alone. The power comes from her — and not those who walk upon her; sometimes walk all over her.
People keep asking if there’s an Obama type of fellow out there amongst our indigenous folk. Fat chance. You wouldn’t consider Mick or Noel would you? Don’t even think about a black sheila.
Unless it’s that Catherine the Great sprinter, the one who’s got ‘Salome’ as one of her middle names,
strewth! That’s a bible name. Cheek of it. She must be well up herself, with a surname like
Freeman. I reckon she could be a closet Muslim. Think about it, Salome………
She was given a bogong wasn’t she — an OAM I think. It’s that bling thing again with them.
And she won a gold medal in the Olympics desperately trying to ingratiate herself to us.
Trying to be whiter than white. As for her draping their flag around herself like that, well, with a middle name like Salome what do you expect ?
I thought she’d breakdance into the dance of the Five Veils, it being the Olympics and all. It was different when our Dawn nicked the Aussie flag — that’s more in keeping with our tradition and idiom; plus our Dawn’s got the advantage of being white. But look, getting back to skin colour, of course it matters. For a start, some of them are that white they only claim to be black so they can get the benefits.
Funny that Obama spells A Mabo backwards. I reckon that’s a sign. Black Magic. Also, some of them blacks are muslims like Obama. Did you ever hear of anything so ridiculous. What’s wrong with The Dreamtime? Their own culture not good enough for them? Rainbow serpents and Muslims. Didge in one hand — Koran in the other. What’s going on there? They should be facing Uluru, not Mecca; the Southern Cross, not Saudi Arabia.
I dunno, Kev, I think I’ve just about talked myself out of it now. Yeah, keep Invasion Day as Australia Day. After all, there’s more of us than them. Yo, whiteys rule! And don’t forget, they’re a dying race. As long as we go on as we are, soon there won’t be a race problem. They’ll die out. They’ve brought it upon themselves.
Geezus, they didn’t even put up a decent fight. And when you think about it, they may have lost their country but look at all they’ve gained. We brought them Civilisation! We took them out of the
Stone age. They put themselves into the Stoned age. We give them voting rights. They want Land Rights. They want equal rights. They make us feel like guests in our own country.
You can’t build a dunny on a dung heap without them claiming it’s sacred land and demanding billions of Australia Day medals. The only mistake we made was when we didn’t follow the example of our own white European ancestors. We didn’t learn from our own history. After all, did not the Dutch buy Manhattan for 60 guilders, if not baubles and beads, from the local red Indian savages. After all, our mob couldn’t read or write — still can’t. Anyway, even if we had’ve given them a few bob, where were they going to spend it ? They hadn’t even invented money. No shops. No milkbars. No malls.
Says it all, dunnit? I rest my slab.