Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Reconcilliation Talks Marred by Vanstone's Repugnant Ignorance

Amanda Vanstone - Minister for Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs got a snubbing at the National Reconciliation Planning Workshop [Canberra May 31/05]. With astounding arrogance and repugnant ignorance Vanstone denied she'd even noticed the silent protest. Several Aboriginal leaders either turned their back during her speech - or walked out altogether. They say her words were "divisive rubbish".

Earlier on this year, The Howard Government dismantled ATSIC - which ostensibly means there is no longer a formal representative voice for Aboriginal people to engage Commonwealth legislation. ATSIC has been replaced with a "hand-picked" Indigenous Council.

Former chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation - Pat Dodson - is not impressed with the Federal Government's approach to what it calls "practical reconciliation". He says it smacks of assimilation and does not respect Aboriginal difference.

In an earlier address to the National Reconciliation Planning Workshop, Mr Dodson speaks of an engagement as sovereign peoples to "confront the inevitable resolution of our Unfinished Business. We as Aboriginal peoples have survived for tens of thousands of years before the arrival of the Colonisers. We have survived the past 205 years despite the dispossession and mendicant status to which we have been reduced..."

He says: "Aboriginal people will continue to occupy that place deep within the national psyche that prevents this nation attaining true maturity, that reminds governments of their failure to engage with us on just terms in the past, and that continues to demand a just settlement between our sovereign peoples..."


Patrick Dodson's address at the National Reconciliation Planning Workshop:

"...A barrier that is constructed on the utter failure of Government to demonstrate the courage, the will, and the intent to achieve real justice and subsequent reconciliation for this nation.

It is a self imposed barrier that renders this young nation incapable of recognising the patent absurdity of the denial that our Indigenous people were the first Australians – a sovereign nation - with a unique law and culture that has served our society for tens of thousands of years and which, despite two centuries of cultural genocide, has survived – and will continue to survive and flourish.

It is a barrier and a wall of dishonesty that blinds our nation to the true understanding of the flawed relationship that has existed between our peoples, since the arrival of the first convict fleet in 1788. It is a wall of dishonesty that has condemned us to hide from subsequent generations the truth of our shared history and to offer them instead the historical sophism of benign paternalism and enlightenment. This deceit is the source of a spiritual malaise that afflicts this nation and will continue to be a source of crippling national ambiguity, until such time that we confront the reality of our relationship as two sovereign peoples inhabiting one land..."

SEE: http://www.reconciliationaustralia.org/media/speeches.asp


Pat Dodson Image

Vanstone snubbed at reconciliation Talks

Patrick Dodson - Aboriginal leader

'Practical reconciliation' ignores the problems of Indigenous identity

National Reconciliation Planning Workshop - 30/31 May 2005

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