Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are the traditional custodians of Australia. For this page I am an Aboriginal man. Throughout this page I am going to refer to Aboriginal people as black fella's. The year 1788 is marked as a day of mourning for many black fella's as it is the year that the British official colonisation of Australia. This colonisation has led to the decimation of Aboriginal culture in most parts of Australia.
At the time of colonisation of Australia, Great Britain was in need of new land to place its convicts. After early sightings of Australia by James Cook, it was decided that Australia would become a new British colony where convicts would be sent and used for labour in establishing the new colony. In 1788, the first fleet of ships landed in Botany Bay and so began the colonisation of Australia.
Successive governments were asked and even demanded to provide an aplology for the invasion, abuse, neglect, murder, crimes, stolen generation, discrimination etc…
The sad thing is prime minister after prime minister said that there was no racism in Australia. The following are two quotes from successive Prime Ministers of Australia. The irony is that Mr Kevin Rudd did formally say SORRY to the Australian Aboriginal people.
I do not accept that there is underlying racism in this country.
—John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia (1996-2007) in 2005
I do not believe that racism is at work in Australia.
Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia (2007-2010) in 2010
Does racism against black fella's still exist. Absolutely it does.
A military invasion of NT Aboriginal communities in June 2007 occurred and shocking. The Intervention and associated events have profoundly impacted the human rights of Indigenous Australians. Further, the recent ‘packaging’ of the (so-called) reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act with new income management legislation, has serious implications for all Australians. In Suzi Quixley's view, this process represents the greatest threat to Australian values of our generation.
The following link is to an presentation given by
Quench Thinker’s Weekend
Saturday 20 November 2010
link: Australia's Apartheid
There are two main historical discrimination and legal issues that I have real issue, disgust and anger. Those issues are the Aboriginal Protector and the stolen generation.
The Protector and Protection
The system of having a "protector" of Aborigines never led to the consistent protection of indigenous interests.
From its beginnings in the early 18th century, the protection system too often led to dispersal and dispossession of the original inhabitants. Throughout much of rural and remote Australia, the protector of Aborigines was the local police officer.
So, even for those not confined to the government or church-controlled reserves, the state was omnipresent. The local protector controlled much of the lives of those indigenes not exempted from the status of ward.
Aboriginal workers who were paid had, by law, to pay into bank accounts held by their protectors a fixed percentage of their wages. In Queensland, money held in these accounts was transferred to a special Aboriginal welfare account. When this account was eventually wound up in the 1980s, there was a $30 million shortfall. None of the protectors have been charged.
The 'stolen generations'
White Australia attempted to complete the process of dispossession by taking indigenous children from their communities.
The prime minister refuses to apologise on behalf of the government for the actions of all Australian governments during the period of the stolen children because the present government, he says, was not responsible.
Against the recommendations of the Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families (1997), the Howard government has steadfastly opposed compensation to the children or their families, again on the grounds that this government was not responsible. As academic Adam Jamrozik commented, the Howard government was not responsible for the second world war either, but it continues to pay war pensions.
The real policy question is justice in the present, rather than guilt in relation to past activities.
This is not an endorsement of Pauline Hanson's call for "all Australians to be treated equally". Rather, it is a demand that we are all treated equitably. Given the great disparity in wealth, income, health, housing, incarceration rates and age of death of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, to treat indigenous and non-indigenous people equally would not be justice.
The Australian Freedom Rides
While the Australian Freedom rides drew their inspiration from the US Civil Rights Movement, the immediate precursor to the Freedom Rides was a demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Sydney.
On May 6, 1964, students burned a fiery cross, the symbol of the U.S. based racist organisation, the Ku Klux Klan, outside the Consulate in protest.
Some were dressed in white sheets and hoods, in the style of the Ku Klux Klan. The demonstration was in protest against attempts by Senators from the southern U.S. states to block the Civil Rights Bill initiated by President Kennedy and pursued by President Johnson.
More than fifty were arrested, including a TV cameraman. Police removed their identification numbers, and used an extraordinary amount of force against what had been a (literally) fiery, but essentially peaceful, demonstration.
In 1965 Charles Perkins organised a busload of 29 students into the outback of New South Wales.
The Walgett RSL Club
For the first few days, as the bus drove west from Sydney, the emphasis was on gathering information. Things changed in Walgett, a town in the far west of New South Wales with a large Aboriginal population. A number of local businesses and institutions discriminated against Aborigines.
The local RSL Club refused to admit Aborigines, and a picket was organised outside the club. They protestors stood there from around noon until sunset. In Walgett the RSL Club even refused to admit Aboriginal ex-servicemen.
At the start, the Walgett Aborigines stood and watched. They seemed uncertain what to make of the students. As they day wore on, Aborigines joined the picket line. Towards evening the crowd grew.
Debate between the picketers and the white townspeople grew into arguments, then to abuse from the locals.
There were a few scuffles, and more than a few threats. After the picket the group returned to the Anglican church hall where they were staying. Just as they were arranging sentries for the night, and other measures to secure the hall, the Anglican Vicar arrived. He was upset by the demonstration. The freedom riders were to pack their bags and leave immediately.
When they arrived in Moree they were told that it wasn't like Walgett as far discrimination was concerned. However it became clearly evident that discrimination was just as entrenched.
Moree had an archaic discriminatory by-law of the local council which barred Aborigines, or persons "with an admixture of Aboriginal blood" from using the town swimming pool.
Bob Brown, a local store owner had vigorously opposed the regulation when he was a member of the council, but to no avail.
With their parents permission, the freedom riders collected 8 children from the Aboriginal reserve, and drove them to the pool in the bus. At the pool, Bob Brown tried to buy entrance tokens for six adults and for the eight Aboriginal children. At first the pool management refused, and there was a standoff. The crowd grew, and the pool manger consulted with the Mayor.
After more than a hour, the pool manager relented. He said there was no bar on Aborigines entering the pool, it was simply a matter of cleanliness. If he could inspect the eight children to confirm their cleanliness, they could enter. Eventually all eight were admitted. It seemed that the ban had been broken. A clear win for equality.
There is far more to this story. Rick's mob is from the Kamilaroi nation which covers Moree and Walgett.
The race war begun in 1788 continues.
February 12, 2008
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology motion has been tabled in Parliament:
Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
We reflect on their past mistreatment.
We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.
The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.
We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.
For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.
We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.
For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.
A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.
A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.
A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.
Today I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up some medications. All went well until I was 10 minutes away from where I am staying. My damn car ...