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Category Archives: Indigenous affairs
DAVID MARR. Blood, brains and foul murder: evidence of Australia’s massacres is in its newspapers (The Guardian, 17 November 2019)
We’re only human. We hang on to lies that comfort us. A big consoling lie that still hangs around this history of slaughter and dispossession is that we can’t apply the outlook of the 21st century to killings on the … Continue reading
I think there are three things we can learn from Frank Walker’s life and legacy. First, his willingness to make personal sacrifices for fairness and justice. Second, his pragmatism – to know the best possible outcome when you see it, … Continue reading
A new Mission Australia evaluation has highlighted that when people experiencing homelessness in Cairns have the support of strong, caring relationships and when services work collaboratively and seamlessly together, their standards of living and personal relationships improve, they feel safer … Continue reading
DOMINIC O’SULLIVAN. Indigenous people no longer have the legal right to say no to the Adani mine – here’s what it means for equality (The Conversation, 5 Sep 2019)
Last week, the Queensland government extinguished native title over tracts of land in the Galilee Basin so the Adani coal mine could proceed.
BOB DEBUS. Must Prisoner Numbers Grow Forever? (an edited version of a lecture given to the Law Society of New South Wales, 22 August)
We can all accept imprisonment as the appropriate response for serious and violent crimes. Nevertheless there is a plethora of studies confirming the common sense conclusion that prison is damaging for individuals at a psychological level, especially in the absence … Continue reading
DONNA AH CHEE. Given this history of strength and success, why do Aboriginal health dollars keep going to NINGOs? (Croakey 14-8-19)
Aboriginal community controlled health services have many advantages, including their power to advocate and shame governments into action, according to Donna Ah Chee, CEO of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.
Australians have become used to the idea that major reforms demand bi-partisan support. Yet bi-partisanship, as traditionally understood, is increasingly elusive with the result that genuine reforms are either watered down or abandoned on the assumption of failure. This is … Continue reading
In the far north east of Arnhem land, a line has been drawn in the sand. As part of the great Garma festival, two of the most important and revered leaders of Indigenous Australia have made it clear that the … Continue reading
The persisting poor health of Aboriginal people over decades is an embarrassing stain on our national reputation and one that seems obstinately difficult to erase. How can this situation be effectively managed?
JACK WATERFORD. Have Australians the heart for the Uluru statement? Losing the referendum would set back indigenous affairs by decades
There are many good reasons to support the latest plans to find a constitutional referendum question to encapsulate the principles of the Uluru statement from the heart. There’s the fact that it represents a good idea and good ideal – … Continue reading
Addressing the National Press Club during NAIDOC Week, Ken Wyatt, Minister for Indigenous Australians said: ‘I will develop and forward a consensus option for constitutional recognition to put to a referendum during the current parliamentary term. That means working through … Continue reading
The first words addressed by the Hon David Hurley AC as Governor-General were to the Australian First People and their successors, including, specifically, ‘future leaders’.
TONY BROE. What do Aboriginal Australians want from their aged care system? Community connection is number one (The Conversation, 19 June 2019)
The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is ageing at a much faster rate than the non-Indigenous population. Aboriginal Australians record high mid-life rates of multiple chronic diseases including heart disease and stroke, lung disease, and type 2 diabetes. … Continue reading
In ringing tones the Uluru Statement declares the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign nations of the Australian continent and possessed it under their own laws and customs. Sovereignty has never been ceded or extinguished, and … Continue reading
Any person who can establish genetic link to Australia in 1787 may be acknowledged, honoured and respected, by official recognition as a First Australian.
Australian politics is becoming increasingly polarised. Policy decisions are made for short term political gain against the advice of experts, and democratic checks and balances are being degraded. Strategic litigation is a tool that can be used to cut through … Continue reading
LORENA ALLAM AND NICK EVERSHED. The Killing Times: the massacres of Aboriginal people Australia must confront.
The truth of Australia’s history has long been hiding in plain sight. The stories of “the killing times” are the ones we have heard in secret, or told in hushed tones. They are not the stories that appear in our history … Continue reading
Australia has never been properly decolonised, particularly in both the political and psychological senses, as most states which came into existence during the 20th century were. This has had a profound effect, not only on the way aboriginal Australians have … Continue reading
The biggest gap that needs closing is the lack of an acknowledgement of the past by non-indigenous Australia and a determination that not only will the ignorance and denial not be repeated, but there will be genuine collaboration at every … Continue reading
SANDRA MORRISON, INGRID HUYGENS. Explainer: the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi (The Conversation).
The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s foundation document. On February 6, 1840, the treaty was signed by representatives of the British Crown and Māori chiefs who acted on behalf of their hapū (sub-tribes). Māori are indigenous to New Zealand, … Continue reading
If ‘just peace’ requires peacemaking and peacebuilding to be sensitive to the cries of the poor and the cries of the Earth, how relevant is it to Australia’s present circumstances? If what is proposed is a holistic approach to the … Continue reading
Two items are prominent in the news at the moment: Matthew Flinders’ remains have been unearthed at Euston Station, London; and there is heated debate in Australia about the most appropriate day to recognise as ‘Australia Day’.
The Prime Minister is intent on making a big fuss about James Cook. He is even promoting, at great expense, a circumnavigation of the continent by a replica of Cook’s ship Endeavour. This is an insult to Matthew Flinders who … Continue reading
The Australia of today is vastly different to the Australia of my childhood with its widespread racism and sectarianism. It was socially suffocating. For those changes I am very grateful. There is a lot that we can be proud of. … Continue reading
You could be forgiven for missing it, but something quite important happened in politics last week.
His thought bubble about inaugurating a public holiday – well, perhaps not a holiday, but something or other – to celebrate indigenous Australia is about to be shoveled into the back drawer. That’s the one where the former Treasurer keeps … Continue reading
The real ‘settler’ and pioneering stories of Feilberg’s Queensland were confronting and frightening.
LYNLEY WALLIS, BRYCE BARKER, HEATHER BURKE. How unearthing Queensland’s ‘native police’ camps gives us a window onto colonial violence.
In 19th century Queensland, the Native Mounted Police were responsible for “dispersing” (a euphemism for systematic killing) Aboriginal people.
US slave owners wrote and spoke about liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness. Similar hypocrisy, buried in the foundations of settler Australia, has escaped comparable scrutiny.
For ten years our political leaders have talked about closing the gap. The harsh reality is that the gap in disadvantage suffered by indigenous Australians fails to close. Worse, there has been little discussion about why the gaps do not … Continue reading