Monthly Archives: January 2014

Broadcasting Australia Day 2014

“We can have our own opinion about the anniversary,
but we can’t have our own facts”
Lionel Rose
AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR
January 26th 1968.

closethegap_crtn RADIO 2AD 1788 on your dial….
all white all of the time

But first to a new study published recently by the University of New South Wales that confirmed that the term “Australia Day” is offensive, but only when people take a moment to think about the actual meaning of the anniversary. Let’s hear from our UNSW correspondent and lead researcher Lawrence Pyne:

“When you hear or say Australia Day in the abstract, it’s completely harmless, but we’ve discovered that if you briefly pause to remember it marks the official beginning of a racial invasion upon an indigenous group devastated over the course of a few centuries, then, of course, it’s horrendous.”

Okay, so if you allow the day to register in your mind you’re saying it evokes the thought of human being’s devastated by the forced removal from their sovereign land? Is that right?

“Oh, yes, intentional exposure to white diseases and vices, countless massacres. Australia Day has the potential to come across as an insulting relic of an ethnocentric mentality responsible for the destruction of an entire people and their culture, but that’s only if you take a couple of seconds to recognise it as something beyond a string of letters.”

And you’re recommending that the Government change the name to something more appropriate and historically accurate, such as “British Australia Dances On Indigenous Ancestor’s Grave Day?”

Pause.

And we seemed to have lost that signal from UNSW so let’s cross to Davo in Cronulla Beach – Davo, how’s the mood down there?

“Honestly, the amount of crap that is brought up EVERY SINGLE Australia day.

“CHANGE THE NAME. CHANGE THE ANTHEM. CHANGE THE FLAG. CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION.

“We can’t just simply enjoy the day can we? Political correctors and loony lefty inner city hipsters need to criticize everything to sound “intelligent” or “progressive” ”

All right, congratulations to Ena Squirts who phoned in sick but still managed to guess the correct colour of Davo, which of course was blue. Ena will be receiving Davo in the mail some time next week.

Of course, not all large chunks of Australia would like the issue to go away, as our reporter Melanie Chard discovered when she ordered a light, semi-skimmed soy chai latte in swinging Newtown and asked the enthusiastic hipster barista what he thought of Australia Day:

“Most Australians, pseudo and otherwise, deal with the history behind “Australia Day” simply by ignoring it. They never attempt to refute the evidence. It can’t be refuted. If and when the silent treatment doesn’t work, a lot of these “objective” scholars and mass media opinion molders often resort to personal attacks, ridicule and satire. The personal attacks tend to divert attention from the facts which an author or speaker is trying to focus on. The idea, of course, is to force the person exposing the elephant in the room to stop the exposure and spend their time and effort defending themselves. – Thanks Mel, that’s $5.”

MELANIE: “Can I use eftpos?”

“There’s a $10 minimum.”

MELANIE: “Shit.”

It’s January 24th 2014, the Newcastle to Sydney train, 5.30am near Gosford: “That’s one reason why the debate has raged on, with no end in sight, since Australia Day’s 150th anniversary, in 1938. Did you know on that day a group of Aboriginal activists named the day a “Day of Mourning”, alluding to the annual re-enactment of Phillip’s landing?”

“No.”

“Yes, they refused to participate in the re-enactment because it included chasing away a party of Aboriginal people (who were carted there against their will). At least by 1988 the re-enactments had been discontinued. Did you know 1988 was The Year of Mourning named by and for the Australian Aboriginal people?”

“No.”

“Yes, the reasons they mourned had less to do with the name given to January 26, and more to do with the extreme and unnecessary poverty they lived in, in particular, the things that were being demanded of Aboriginal Australians in order to elevate “their kind” out of poverty. Did you know…?”

“Shhhh! Please, stop talking to me. This is a quiet carriage.”

Pause.

“Sorry, dear, I’ll assimilate….” Finally…the “real” celebration behind January 26th – Assimilation! Better known as How The System’s silent carriage has for over 200 years failed to silence the Aborigine.

But first, the last thoughts of an Australian soldier lost in the snow: “That’s why I ran away, ma, living in modern Australia – “The System” – always pushing for affirmative action around Indigenous issues. The system, set to move Indigenous people into high-prestige jobs, for improving Indigenous education, increasing funding for Indigenous schools. The Minister For Indigenous Affairs agreed: “…the way of life of the Indigenous “underclass” is a social disgrace.” They plan to assimilate the Aborigine into the system, turn ‘em into business executives, lawyers, scientists, just like upper-middle-class white folk…this is too much…. I’ve decided to end my life….”

Objection Your Honor.

Sustained!

Cue THE VOICE OF REASON in 3 – 2 – 1….When challenged, the talking heads of the system start reciting monologues that state the last thing the system wants is to turn the Aborigine into a carbon copy of the white man. Indeed, the system wants to preserve Indigenous culture, yes, that is the official position. But what does this preservation of Indigenous culture look like? It looks like “bush tucker.” It sounds like a didgeridoo. It is a white person acknowledging the original custodians of this land. Twenty five million for an Aboriginal dot painting. It is cheap superficiality because that is all the system will tolerate; anything other than superficiality and the system would not be pushing the Aborigine towards white, middle-class ideals. The system demands the Aborigine study technical subjects, it demands Aboriginal executives, Aboriginal scientists, no time for the dreaming, just climbing the status ladder to prove that Indigenous people are as good as white people. “There’s nothing wrong with an Indigenous father being “responsible” is there? Well, no one wants an Indigenous gang to be violent, do they?” These are exactly the cons of the Industrial-technological system that the Aborigine has held in contempt since January 26th 1788. Yet through it all the people clung to their identity and continue to do so. The Aborigine knows the system couldn’t care less about their music, their ceremonial clothes or what “the dreaming” means. The white ways do not impress the Indigenous man, the voice of reason knows it, and the system may deny it, but the demands that the Aborigine assimilate and adopt white 21st Century values have failed.  The demands continue to be ignored. And in turn the system has ignored the Aboriginal, and any funding is damage control heaped upon the ancestors of the collateral damage that began in 1788.

Davo: “See what I mean?”

Voice over (…sounds like Hugh Jackman) – There lived a proud Aborigine called One who for over 200 years had resisted assimilation into white man’s culture. For so long as there is One the people will not die.

Enter stage left a “white face” Aborigine who trots to a chair in a spotlight and sits: (This is One that did not get away.) “Like many other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, I’m going to take the time to reflect on January 26 that we are a lucky country. I believe we as a nation can work together to address the problems facing Aboriginal communities, and at the same time, still see January 26 as a day to celebrate that we live in a great nation, and that we can happily live along side one another and with one another – which many of us are already doing.”

Excellent! Now follow that with a “News Update” containing welfare leeches at a barbecue, youth-gang members arrested in Kings Cross, anti-government rebels being tasered, some drunken radicals, Green & Gold dropouts, some jail-birds in the Northern Territory and resistors of various kinds.

And here’s mud in the eye of those not so easily duped.

Who let THE VOICE OF REASON back in?

Sorry.

Okay, cue fireworks. –

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It’s Amazing What Taxi Drivers Know

abbott-wilders-380x273

I recently hired a taxi to take me from Circular Quay to an appointment in Balmain. The taxi driver was a Chinese fellow, very chatty. He struck up a conversation immediately. It wasn’t long before he was offering a synopsis of his life, which included being a waiter in a tea house at the top of Mt. Hua Shan in China. He had moved to Australia because he did not favour Chinese politics. “Now I no like Australian politic either,” he laughed.

I asked him why he felt that way and he said, “You know who in here other day?”

“Apart from you?” I said.

“Yeah – Darrin Hodges. You know him?”

“You know him…” I resisted the obvious gag and said no I had never heard of Darrin Hodges.

He said, “Australian Protectionist Party. Darrin Hodges get kicked out of Australia First Party and make Protectionist Party. He Sutherland Shire, run for Council, come last. He try Senate in 2010 Australian election. He get 1500 vote. Not even 1%.”

“Gee,” I wondered out loud, “can’t imagine why The Australian Protectionist Party isn’t more popular?”

The taxi driver laughed. “Is very popular. Tony Abbott now Protectionist Party.”

“I’m pretty sure Tony Abbott’s Liberal.”

He laughed again. “Darrin Hodges associate of Nick Folkes, Party for Freedom. Darrin Hodges tell me Nick Folkes speak to the Geert Wilder, he Party for Freedom in Netherlands. He get one million vote. Very popular. Geert Wilder tell Nick Folkes he talk to Tony Abbott.”

“Geert Wilder is talking to Tony Abbott?”

“Yeah – he say Tony you very good. Indonesia need to realise everyone face challenge in life and Australia no pull blanket over head and leave boat issue to them.”

“Are you saying Geert Wilders is advising Tony Abbott?”

The taxi driver laughed the same laugh as before. “No advise. Same party. They just swap idea. He tell Tony Abbott Indonesia oversensitive, praise him for refugee policy. Know what Tony Abbott say? When his computer die, he lose everything but he no get on boat and runaway when thing go wrong. He go to Harvey Norman and buy hard drive so it no happen again. They both Party For Freedom, no like refugee.”

“Wait,” I said. “Who told you all this?”

“Darrin Hodges, he in here, my cab, tell me.”

“Darrin Hodges, right. The Australian Protectionist Party. Got it. So Darrin speaks to Nick who speaks to Geert who speaks to Tony…and they speak about, what? Slapping one another on the back?”

“No,” said the taxi driver, abruptly. “They speak Policy.”

“Whose Policy?”

“Party For Freedom.”

“Tony Abbott is a Liberal.”

The taxi driver responded with his standard laugh, although to me it was starting to translate as You’re not very bright, are you? “Tony Abbott tell you he Liberal, but no tell you he Party For Freedom, no admit he have same Policy. He lie: Tony Abbott want traditional family value, protect Australia independence, property right, true democracy, rule of law. Know who has same Policy? Party for Freedom.”

“Yeah, okay,” I said, “but having The Party For Freedom aligned with The Australian Liberal Party is drawing a long bow.”

“No Party align,” said the taxi driver, “No tell you that. Australian nice people. No like that. So leader keep secret: Geert Wilder and Tony Abbott, very quiet. Geert Wilder want his country for Dutch, Tony Abbott want Australia for Australian. Geert Wilder tell Nick Folkes, he speak to Darrin Hodges. Darrin Hodges tell me, in here, like you. Why he lie?”

“Because he got less than 1% of the vote?” I offered.

That laugh again. “He drunk. No like me. Call me name, think I Indonesian. Tell me Enoch Powell have best plan. Put no English people on boat and send home. He say Liberal have same Policy as Party For Freedom. Very soon war start and all Indonesian go home. Is happening now, you see.”

Later, I visited The Party For Freedom website. All the names the taxi driver mentioned, Darrin Hodges, Nick Folkes, and of course the infamous Geert Wilder, all checked out. I could not see any clear affiliation between The Dutch Party For Freedom and the Australian version but they certainly shared identical political views. The Australian Party For Freedom Mission Statement in part read:

“The Party for Freedom is committed to traditional Australian family values, the protection of Australia’s independence including property rights, true democracy and the rule of law. The Party for Freedom acknowledges and respects people who hold these values, who identify with the Australian way of life, and who identify as Australian.”

The articles I read on The APF website left me with two clear impressions: 1) the copy writer for APF is not an academic, and 2) there was, I believe, very little of what I read which Tony Abbott’s coalition would take issue with. (I’m quite sure Cory Bernardi and Christopher Pyne would be applauding the loudest.) Furthermore, Tony Abbott has not, publicly at least, distanced himself from Geert Wilders politics.

During Geert Wilders visit to Australia in 2013, Abbott went on the record saying that although Wilders views on Islam were “substantially wrong,” he was nonetheless “entitled to his viewpoint.” Abbott, however, did not deem Taji Mustafa, a Muslim speaker from the UK (who visited Australia also in 2013) to be worthy of such a right. Julie Bishop referred to him as a preacher of hate and Tony Abbott backed up his foreign minister with this statement: “I don’t think we need the preachers of hate in this country.” And: “We certainly shouldn’t be giving visas to people who are the people of hate.”

Prime Minister Abbott could have applied all of these excitable comments to Geert Wilders, but chose not to.

Funny, isn’t it, how these seemingly random meetings one has (like mine with the taxi driver), gets one looking at certain issues from a fresh perspective. For example, I well recall Tony Abbott during the 2013 election campaign being way-laid by a woman with a shopping trolley, the following interchange they had means something different now than it did at the time:

Woman with a shopping trolley: “I want to be in a country that’s not going to be run by Muslims.”

Tony Abbott:” I understand what you’re saying ma’am, and as I said the important thing is to make the borders secure and that way people will be happier that the right people are coming to our country.”

Now, after my taxi ride, and certainly after what has happened to Australia politically in the interim, I wonder, was Tony Abbott really saying: “When I become Prime Minister, I won’t let these Muslims in?”

Does that sound something like Geert Wilders might say? Hmpf! Weird.

FURTHER READING:
http://www.geertwilders.nl
http://www.qsociety.org.au
http://www.protectionist.net
http://www.partyforfreedom.com.au
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