I recently had the pleasure of sitting on Country with Major Sumner, the Greens’ candidate for Mayo, talking history, the environment, community, young people, and hopes for the future.
There’s still a long way to go. To date, Victoria is the only state to formally introduce a Bill that details a process towards a treaty.
We cannot deny the fact that First Nations Peoples in this continent had our lands taken from us without negotiation, without purchase, without consent; and without any treaty, unlike other Commonwealth nations. This dispossession was cloaked in the insidious myth of terra nullius.
We are or soon will be living in a country that has a diminished national broadcaster, will be an international arms trader, have a real-time facial recognition database and new powers that allow police to stop and ask you for your papers every time you step foot in an airport (at this stage).
So the question has to be asked, is this the Australia we really want?
Yet again, our people have been let down with this year’s Federal Budget. The investment in our communities is more eroded, our quality of life more diminished, our voices and needs more blatantly ignored.
Two of the most popular phrases in Australia, that could not be further apart. One that implores us to honour our history and those who were a part of it, while the other not only ignores a comparable history but aggressively dismisses it and admonishes those who would honour it.
Australia has always wanted to stake a claim on Aboriginal culture – but only when it benefits them. They remain ignorant when the legislative bullets are fired to weaken and destroy it, and do not seek to protect it when the right to culture and ceremony is in the way of profit and white prosperity.
On the anniversary of the Bringing Them Home Report – we say no more to paternalistic policies that undermine our families and communities.
Our way is not your way, and it doesn’t have to be. We are strong, we know the land, our stories and our place in our society. This has value.