Leading article Australia

Naidoc’s ‘themes’

13 July 2019

9:00 AM

13 July 2019

9:00 AM

It’s Naidoc Week, which is, quote, ‘a time for all Australians to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’. Sounds promising. All decent Australians love and are proud of our unique indigenous culture and it is laudable that schoolkids and families across the land celebrate that culture. But, as usual, left-wing activists have sought to torpedo the goodwill of the nation by promoting not an inclusive agenda, but rather, a highly-divisive one. That highly-politicised agenda is summed up in the three words that are the ‘theme’ of this year’s Naidoc Week celebrations: Voice, Treaty, Truth.

Let’s tackle them in reverse order. Truth apparently refers to the idea that the real ‘truth’ about the colonisation of Australia is not properly addressed. This is contestable. There have been any number of tomes written about the atrocities that did (or in some cases didn’t) occur during the settlement period, and beyond. Clearly, vile and horrific events took place. But equally, some events appear to be either fabrications or distortions.

Clearly, vile and horrific events took place. But equally, some events appear to be either fabrications, distortions, exaggerations or the adaptation of similar stories from the shocking treatment of the American Indians by pioneers and settlers.

Although it is critical to truthfully acknowledge any and all wrongdoings against any individuals that occurred during the inevitable collision between modernity and the pre-1788 indigenous world, it is equally important to acknowledge the benefits to indigenous and all Australians of the history of the last 230 years, where Australians of all colours and from all walks of life have created one of the greatest nations on earth for all to have the opportunity to prosper in. At some point, indigenous Australia was going to come into contact with the modern world and it is naive and fanciful to imagine that that would not involve both extraordinary pain as well as unimaginable gains to vast numbers of people.

But the relentless focus by some on the Left on denigrating the symbols of our colonial past does nothing to further the interests of delivering genuine dignity and prosperity to the unacceptable number of disadvantaged indigenous Australians – prosperity and dignity which comes through getting more indigenous children into schools, into good jobs and eventually into owning their own homes rather than being prisoners in the bizarre socialist 1970s-inspired experiment of clan ownership.

As for a Treaty, or as is the current vogue, a series of treaties, John Howard famously said, ‘you can’t make a treaty with yourself’. A Treaty will serve only one purpose – to divide our nation into fragmented tribes. Numerous treaties has to be a recipe for confusion and mayhem. Hardly the definition of bringing us all together.

And what about the Voice? In this issue, Salvatore Babones examines this problematic proposal. Clearly, we already have successful and talented indigenous MPs, that is to say representative voices, of all political persuasions in parliament. They have a genuine voice in framing the laws that govern us all. And there are plenty more indigenous Australians waiting in the wings to join that parliament. If the people of the Northern Territory had really wanted a new and powerful indigenous voice in national affairs, they had the opportunity at the recent federal election to send Jacinta Nampijinpa Price to Canberra. A braver more powerful and dedicated indigenous voice it is harder to imagine. If Territorians genuinely feel they have not had a ‘voice’ in national affairs, why did they elect a white male Labor politician who has been in office since 1987? Likewise, in Gilmore, Warren Mundine was an outstanding (unelected) indigenous candidate. It is clear that Australians have plenty of loud, proud and talented indigenous voices. Parliament is where they belong.Ken Wyatt is wrong to be calling for a referendum on constitutional change and the establishment of some kind of extra-parliamentary ‘voice’. This is simply more meaningless virtue-signalling which will only create division, distraction and confusion, whilst doing nothing to genuinely improve the well-being of disadvantaged indigenous Australians.

It is to the nation’s credit that we proudly celebrate everything wonderful about indigenous culture and history during Naidoc week. But Australians are rightly suspicious of left-wing cultural activists who use this and other events to push divisive leftist strategies to school children and others hiding behind politically-loaded words and ‘themes’.

Greek democracy

With Melbourne home to one of the largest Greek communities in the world, allow us to offer our heartiest congratulations to the stunning snap-election victory of Greece’s new conservative government led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Perhaps Victoria’s Greek diaspora could now do us all a favour and bandy together to boot out that other bunch of unrepentant socialists crippling the local economy much closer to home.

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