Me? Sit down

I am a Gamileraay woman who wants to leave this world better than it was when I arrived but we are going backwards which makes me angry and the result is I have a lot to say and sometime, the truth makes me unpopular.

I am also a suffering optimist, I try to see positivity in things but find that is generally only my family that provides the positivity in an otherwise politically depressing world.

Stick around and nod your head, join the discussion and give me a piece of your mind.

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Thursday, 2 July 2015

Why we should all be worried about Recognise.

As we know, the constitutional debate is heating up with the government's constitutional summit scheduled to be held in Sydney shortly. The venue and participants are a secret, but one thing is for certain, dissenters and those that are asking questions are certainly not on the guest list.

There is a massive amount of confusion and debate within the Indigenous community regarding whether you are for or against constitutional recognition and, more specifically, the Recognise movement.

The major issue I have with Recognise is that the campaign started to garner support before the substantive wording and legal ramifications were put to Indigenous communities for consultative discussions. The fact that this is a campaign championed by Abbott himself and for us to be suspicious, we need only look to the bread crumbs he has already left us.

The Liberal policy document says:

".....the ordinary law of the land is observed – in indigenous communities no less than in the general community

... The key objective of a referendum will be to achieve a unifying moment for the nation, similar to that achieved by the 1967 constitutional referendum."

What is important is not what is said in the policy document, but rather what is not said. The government does not consider that the constitutional recognition will be anything more than a unifying moment for the 'nation.' This means that white Australia can pat themselves on the back for something.

There is no mention of sovereignty, there is no mention of addressing social and cultural injustice, there is no mention of reparation for historical injustice and genocide.

The intent of the government is clear. If the above breadcrumbs were not clear enough, let us consider the conduct of the government with respect to Indigenous Affairs since being elected:

Here is a quick summary of the cuts we know about so far:
Now, here is what the Government is actually doing:
  • Building more police stations in Aboriginal communities;
  • Initiating the following ‘programs’:
    • jobs, land and the economy;
    • children and schooling;
    • safety and wellbeing;
    • culture and capability; and
    • remote Australia strategies
What these programs actually entail, is the opposite of what the rhetoric suggests; in essence, it is the continuation of assimilationist policy through completely destroying Indigenous communities through closures, child removals, incarceration and disenfranchising people and communities.

The supposed 'Indigenous Advancement Strategy' has lead to numerous further funding cuts to essential Indigenous services, including the telephone service for Aboriginal people who find themselves in custody. It has lead to very profitable businesses for certain organisations that are willing to capitulate to LNP party policy (support for Recognise is on the application forms).

The more disappointing outcome of this debate is perhaps the underhanded behaviour of many of those involved with Recognise.

IndigenousX recognised a theme on social media among the Indigenous community, and the theme was that there was large pockets of opposition to Recognise or suspicion of its motives given that there has not been any official wording provided for community consideration. A community based survey then did the rounds and the findings were analysed by Celeste Liddle and demonstrated that the majority of those surveyed were against constitutional recognition as it stands.

Rather than recognising (pun totally intended) that the Indigenous community affected by the proposed changes were in large part opposed or undecided, and informing the community and allowing consultation. Recognise came out and attempted to undermine the credibility of the community run and analysed survey.

Let me be clear - this government and Recognise do not want dissent. They also do not want a treaty where they will be held to agreed standards of policy, reparation and land rights.

This means to undermine us and if you are in doubt, follow the bread crumbs left for yourself.
I will leave you with this pearler:

“… nothing but bush … the Marines, and the convicts and the sailors … must have thought they’d come almost to the Moon…. Everything would have seemed so extraordinarily basic and raw…”

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