Absolutely, bloody racist

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. 


8 responses to “Absolutely, bloody racist

  1. Pingback: Australian Centre for Democracy and Justice’s Blog » Blog Archive » A lesson in cultural sensitivity

  2. Yep, I came to a similar conclusion back in 2001. Australia would be a great place to live if it wasn’t for all the Australians.

  3. holy crap

    do these people i should write to have email and/or postal addresses? when i find a spare moment i just might do that.

  4. Damn, there I was trying to be lazy about that one..
    Gavin can be emailed at gavin.jennings@parliament.vic.gov.au and John Thwaites john.thwaites@parliament.vic.gov.au

  5. I’m fed up with well-intentioned yet misguided people going on and on about how rascist Australia is. Yes, there are many rascist people in Australia, like ANY country on this planet, but I reckon the overall contemporary culture of Australia is not rascist as a defining characteristic. Try going to China or Japan and see what the locals think of whiteys (or blacks for that matter)! Or pay a visit to Italy or the Netherlands and guage the level of acceptance of rascism in those communities: it’s absolutely shocking.

    I live in Brunswick, where the the Moreland City Council proudly proclaims “Community Through Diversity” as their slogan. Brunswick has at least one person from every single country living here, and it’s great: no riots, no verbal abuse, no racism-motivated vandalism. It’s not fucking perfect, but it’s a bloody good start.

    “Australia would be a great place to live if it wasn’t for all the Australians” . . . Regardless of the skin colour or culture of the author, that’s the most disgusting, genuinely rascist comment I’ve heard since Little Johnny Howard said “We don’t want THOSE kind of people in Australia” during the children overboard scandal. If the former statement was written by a whitefella, it’s reverse rascism, which is just as stupid as rascism, except more pathetic.

    The plight of the Indigenous people of Australia is a serious and heart-wrenching one, and more positive action must be taken to increase the level of understanding of Indigenous issues in the wider community. The actions taken must be positive, considered and engaging, otherwise they (the actions) risk doing more harm than good.

    I know how hard it is to do this when you’re passionate about an issue, because i’m totally guilty of it myself, but generally you can’t get people’s backs up and than expect them to listen to you. A small organisation within a much larger organisation kinda has to play by the rules to change the rules: which, on the whole when you think about it, is probably a good thing. Imagine if the skinheads or the fundamentalist christians could just change things at will!!! Eek!

    Anyway, down with rascism and all forms of prejudice! And here’s to creating a more understanding and compassionate society for everyone.

    By the way, did you listen to my rant? Or did I merely get your back up?

  6. I agree with most of what you said. But I don’t understand where the argument ‘there are more racist places than Australia’ leads. Yes? Probably. But certainly that’s not an apology for Australia’s racism, is it? ‘Well, it’s worse elsewhere, so it’s ok then.’ No. Racism is wrong in any quantity, on any level, in any country. Fighting it in the worst places is not enough. Fighting it anywhere it rears its ugly head, wherever, is the way to go, I reckon.

  7. Yeah, fighting it with intelligence and compassion, not reverse racism. My point was NOT that it’s ok for people to be racist in Australia because people are also racist overseas, I was just trying to bring a little global perspective on the human condition in the hope of getting people to ease up on the Australia-bashing.

    My overall point is that I’m sick of destructive and circular comments like “Australia would be a great place to live if it wasn’t for the Australians”. Saying all Australians are bad because they are racist doesn’t really work, does it? You can’t fight racism with racism!

    I reckon the way to fight racism is with patience (social change is S . . .L . . .O . . .W . . .), compassion, demonstration and nonviolent communication. Any other suggestions?

  8. It is quite funny to observe the issue from sunny London. I am from Eastern Europe and spent about 8 years in Australia and 3 in UK. I guess I know both countries quite well and their respective approaches to the whole racism problem.

    UK comes across as a much more sophisticated multicultural society than Oz but it is my opinion that integration was simply replaced by the veneer of political correctness. Brits are polite but indifferent. They let you be, but they don’t want to be your friend. This has created a society that is superficially functioning but where ethnic groups live in their own pockets with little interaction.

    Australians have shocked me in the past with their non-pc opinions. I was shocked by the use of the words “paki” and “wog” and some of the attitudes towards the Aboriginals. After a while I began to learn that these words carry different meanings and that both left and right have no answers to the plight of Aboriginals. At the same time I have met some fantastic people I Australia and felt genuinely welcomed and accepted. I have never experienced any racism or animosity in Australia.

    In my opinion the Australian way is better. We may stumble and fall sometimes but we are trying to be one community a society where people interact and strive for a common goal. In UK this was replaced by political correctness and multiculturalists dogma that made this country lose its identity. English flag is almost perceived as a symbol of racism here. To me it is a worry.

    Another failing of British multiculturalism and political correctness is what I call the “tolerance towards the intolerant”. I have seen the Jamaican woman once call the African man a monkey that should go home and climb trees. This went unchallenged by the public because both individuals involved were black. In other words very different rules apply to minorities than those that apply to the majority. In my opinion a just society is the one that treats everyone equally. But when even the major of London Ken Livingston says that we need to treat people differently to treat them equally we have a problem.

    Anyway I don’t think Australia is a racist country and has a lot to be proud of. Don’t be bullied by those that want Australia to be more like Europe. You have our own unique approach and at least it is genuine not some dogma enforced from above.

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