So, here we go again — this is about Aboriginal people in Australia having a voice.
Before any further comments; I place before you some facts. No judgements, no criticisms, no opinions, just some facts.
Definitions ; [ Reader’s Digest Oxford Dictionary,]
ABORIGINAL : [ OF RACES AND NATURAL PHENOMENA] INHABITING OR EXISTING IN A LAND FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES OR FROM BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF COLONISTS.
INDIGENOUS : [ OF PEOPLE ] BORN IN A REGION.
Facts ; [ released by the Prime Minister’s Office in April 2019.]
BUDGET DELIVERS RECORD FUNDING FOR INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS IN 2019 – 2020.
TOTAL AMOUNT IN AUSTRALIAN DOLLARS COMMITTED IS $12 BILLION DOLLARS – ROUNDED DOWN AND CONSERVATIVE; DOES NOT INCLUDE FUNDING FOR Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, which will be finalised by the end of 2019.
NO ENVY HERE. JUST A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS. HOW IS IT SPENT? WHO ACCOUNTS FOR THE EXPENDITURE?
More Facts ; [ from available public sources.]
AT LEAST 4 ABORIGINAL MEMBERS OF THE FEDERAL PARLIAMENT.
MULTIPLE ABORIGINAL LAND COUNCILS LOCATED THROUGHOUT URBAN, RURAL AND TRIBAL AUSTRALIA.
MULTIPLE ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT COUNCILS LOCATED THROUGHOUT URBAN, RURAL AND TRIBAL AUSTRALIA.
ABORIGINAL PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA ACCESS ALL THE USUAL REPRESENTATIVE BODIES REGARDING HEALTH, WELFARE, EDUCATION AND HOUSING THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO ALL AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS AS WELL AS THEIR DEDICATED BODIES MENTIONED ABOVE.
Cranky Lizard asks the question – “ Where is the need for a voice for Aboriginal people in our Parliament? “
On the facts presented above, they have plenty of voices, plenty of voices.
No man, woman or child, alive today in this world can change what has happened in years gone by. It is done. Time has passed and we cannot change it. We may, and do, regret actions that were taken by bureaucrats, settlers, miners and others in those early times in Australia.
An Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, delivered a well-balanced apology to Aboriginal People in the Australian Parliament for those and other actions by settlers. An apology that was demanded for years by Aboriginal advocates; demands that were accompanied by statements that an official apology would make things better – that was all that was needed – an apology.
So, an apology was delivered.
Australia was a harsh place in those early years of settlement, unforgiving; and Australia was not settled by powder puffs. They were tough men and women and judging their actions at that time by today’s society standards is ridiculous. But, we, as a Nation, have done that and apologised to Aboriginal people. It is also clear that within the means available to them at that time, Aboriginal people gave as good as they got. Do not forget that. They were not beaten on any battlefield – disease and social disruption did the terminal damage, not the guns.
Cranky Lizard is well aware that the English language is dynamic and that changes of use and context by words and phrases are all a part of living with a living language. But, there seems to be some confusion about Indigenous and Aboriginal. The definitions remain above; you make your judgement about who is who – Cranky Lizard is very clear about being an Indigenous Australian. Cranky Lizard was born in Australia; consequently – Indigenous.
So why the confusion? It seems to Cranky Lizard that this nonsense is media driven. Is there something wrong with being Aboriginal? Cranky Lizard does not think so. Being Aboriginal is a source of pride to many Aboriginal Australians, and they have much to be proud of. But there it is. The media seem to run the nonsense, and most of the chattering classes slavishly lap it up!
For many years in the 1980s and the 1990s, Cranky Lizard lived and worked in tribal Aboriginal communities across the Top End of Australia. A healthy, respectful relationship was forged, and Cranky Lizard learned much about our country. That relationship and that respect exist today and Cranky Lizard has regular communication with these people who played an important part in Cranky Lizard’s life in those years.
Cranky Lizard can speak with some experience in these matters. In all those years, not once, not once, did Cranky Lizard hear any moaning about not having a voice. The men and woman of that country got on with their lives. Their community government council made decisions and they stuck by them. These places were not self-contained paradises; of course, there were problems; grog being the major factor in much of the trouble. Not once, in my hearing, did Cranky Lizard notice any complaints against white fellas.
We all know that life is not easy for many Aboriginal Australians; they do suffer, and many of them struggle with their circumstances. But they are not alone, and they have widespread support systems. Much of the misery is self-inflicted. Go to Alice Springs and look at what is happening. Grog, drugs and total disregard for law and order have made the place very unpleasant – no white fellas have contributed to this situation.
There are powerful Aboriginal Land Councils and Community Governments in that region of Australia. They speak with a strong and powerful voice…well, they probably do?
What we don’t know, and probably should know, is that there are tens of thousands of Australian Aboriginal families getting on with lives in our cities, in our rural centres and the bush. They play sport; they take part in our community organizations, they run their own businesses; without fuss, without bother they contribute to the daily life of this nation in a meaningful, quiet and dignified manner. They don’t need an extra voice.
Young Aboriginal Australian men and women are going to our Universities in increasing numbers and are joining the Nations’ professionals in health, the law, architecture and a raft of social sciences. They do this without an extra voice. They just do it – and good on them for doing so.
So, having said all of the above, and Cranky Lizard knows that there will be some who will be offended by what is written, but it is the truth, and it is there for all those who wish to see, Cranky Lizard asks “ Who is saying that there must be a voice? “
The answer to that lies in the huge Aboriginal bureaucracy, sometimes referred to as the aboriginal industry. Cranky Lizard makes no further comment about this except to say that during the years in the Top End, living and working amongst tribal and rural dwelling Aboriginal Australians, Cranky Lizard noted that almost all of them were amused by the antics of ATSIC. Enough said.
Australia is not a perfect society. But if any of you who read these words have travelled overseas in recent years, you will know that we do live in a lucky country and that tens of thousands of human beings in other countries want to come and live here; many do, and they contribute in fascinating and wonderful ways to our national life.
We are a successful multi-cultural society. As good as any in the world. And we are that because almost all of us believe in the fact that we are one! One law for all. One Federal Parliament for all. One system of social welfare for all. We are One!
There are racial clauses in our Constitution and they need to be removed because they are demeaning to all of us.
Leaving the past in the dust of history; living in today’s exciting and challenging world and taking the opportunities that a richly endowed nation has given us; all Australians, Aboriginal, Indigenous and Immigrant Australians can all contribute to this magnificent nation and live well while doing so. We can. We do not need an extra voice to do so.
Enjoy your days.