Since I've moved to Australia I have had to adjust to the higher level of public racism. There's many reasons for it which I won't go into now, but it exists, big time.
And I'd been kinda getting used to it, not in accepting way, but I managed to stop my jaw hitting the ground everytime I heard a politician talking about 'those abos'.
But the moves by the Vitctorian State Government blew my feckin socks off. When I first read the press statement it accidentally slipped out. Couldn't help myself. 'Man, this country's fucked', I whispered, much to the amusement of the men sititng either side of me!
So here's the tale. The government's all upset because they had this bunch of people planing on camping out to protest during their shiny blue Commonwealth Games. Ol' Bracksy's trying to look as best as he can so he quietly puts out the word to go easy on them. Hey, make positive mileage out of it if you can.
Now to cut a long story short, they're still there and have managed to not only get some pretty good support for their cause (no matter how hard the government worked on the ol' divide and conquer technique), but they've managed to have that area put under an Emergency Heritage Declaration to protect the Scared Fire and Burial Site.
So now the Government's got themselves in a spot of bother. The reactionary, racist section of the community wants action, the Government has its hands tied due to a higher law than their own. But they really want to be seen to be doing something.
What to do.. what to do…
Some bright spark had the idea of changing the law to stop "them" doing "it" again. Ah ha says government, brilliant idea, doesn't quite get us out of this situation but will stop it going on any longer and will stop it happening again.
So what did they do? The Government has FIRED EVERY SINGLE CULTURAL HERITAGE INSPECTOR IN VICTORIA. They haven't appealed the Emergency Declaration in the Courts – which they could do. They haven't rung the inspector up and said 'come in, we'd like to have a chat and see how we can help resolve these issues – which they could do. They probably haven't even read the bloody thing…
So what does this mean in effect? In Victoria there was 48 volunteers who were recognised as experts in the field of cultural heritage in respect to Aboriginal People. Their job is to act as experts in development issues. This is to prevent direct action protest and promote dialogue. But now? The Minister, who is about one of the pastiest Aboriginal Affairs Ministers I've ever seen has decided that he can be the authority on these issues from now on.
In other words, Aboriginal People are 'allowed' to have their culture, the Government will even help promote it, as long as it fits within their little box of what is accceptable looking culture, other wise Aboriginal People will lose all their rights for self determination.
If this was any other country, there'd be an outcry.
If I were you I would write to Gavin Jennings and tell him what a racist prick he is (constructively of course), and then I would write to Steve Bracks and tell him not to leave Thwaites in charge ever again.
UPDATE: The Camp Sovereignty response is here, should have linked this earlier, apologies.