Wednesday 14th of November 2018

arrogant & ignorant tokenism .....

arrogant & ignorant tokenism .....

Labor senator Trish Crossin has slammed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s endorsement of Olympic athlete Nova Peris for the Senate, saying it ''totally undermines'' Labor’s pre-selection process in the Northern Territory.

In a move that overrides the NT branch of the ALP, Ms Gillard appears to have dumped Senator Crossin - an MP of 15 years - to install Ms Peris, who is not yet a member of the party.

Ms Peris, who was the first indigenous Australian to win a gold medal (in hockey) and also represented Australia in athletics, will campaign for the Northern Territory seat currently held by Senator Crossin.

Ms Crossin told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday that the NT branch of the Labor Party had already started its preselection process for the 2013 federal election.

"This announcement by the Prime Minister today totally undermines that process and undermines the right of members in the NT to preselect whom they will want," she said.

But indigenous leader Warren Mundine says Julia Gillard should be congratulated for ''correcting a wrong within the Labor Party'' by endorsing Ms Peris to become Labor’s first indigenous representative in federal parliament.

''I have always argued they have got to correct this wrong, otherwise it was an embarrassment for the party,'' said Mr Mundine, a former Labor national president who quit the party last November partly because he was disillusioned by Labor’s treatment of indigenous Australians.

''‘We couldn’t continue going on saying that we were the party for aboriginals without having people sitting in the parliament.

''Today is an historic day, the Prime Minister needs to be congratulated for her stance, and Nova needs to be congratulated for putting her hand up and running.

Former NT Labor politician Marion Scrymgour, who is indigenous, has been challenging Senator Crossin for the top spot on the Senate ticket.

Senator Crossin said she was only told of the move to install Ms Peris as a Senate candidate last night.

Her apparent axing follows Labor’s NT election loss last year in which it suffered heavy defeats in rural areas as indigenous voters defected to the Country Liberal Party.

Mr Mundine said it was sad that Senator Crossin had to be replaced but that controversy should be put aside to focus ''on the historic moment''.

Many within the Labor Party saw Mark Arbib’s resignation from the Senate last year as an opportunity to appoint Mr Mundine as Labor’s first indigenous representative.

But after Kevin Rudd’s unsuccessful leadership challenge, Ms Gillard chose Bob Carr to fill the vacant Senate spot and to replace Mr Rudd as Foreign Minister.

If Ms Peris is successful, she will be the first indigenous woman to sit in the federal parliament as well as the first indigenous MP for federal Labor.

Ms Gillard said that while she was ''very proud'' of Labor’s work for indigenous Australians since the time of Gough Whitlam, she was ''troubled'' that Labor had never been able to ''count amongst our number an indigenous Australian''.

The Prime Minister described Ms Peris as a ''household name'' and talked of her grit and determination on and off the sporting field.

''I believe Nova will make a great contribution in the federal parliament,'' Ms Gillard said.

A Labor MP, who did not wish to be named, said the matter would inevitably be seen in a leadership context because Senator Crossin voted for former leader Kevin Rudd in last year's leadership ballot.

''Twelve months ago we were told Kevin Rudd made decision on his own and in a chaotic style and she’s [Ms Gillard] gone and done this,'' the MP said.

''People will remember how [Senator Crossin] voted last year.''

Labor was keen to have an indigenous MP, the MP said, but noted there were ''long serving'' ALP members such as former party president Warren Mundine who had been unsuccessfully looking for a seat for years.

''This doesn’t take anything away from Nova at all but Trish Crossin hasn’t been given the dignity to make her own decision,'' the MP said.

'Honoured and humbled'

An emotional Ms Peris thanked Ms Gillard for the ‘‘amazing opportunity’’.

‘‘I stand here before you all today not only as an Australian but as a proud Aboriginal woman . . . I certainly understand the significance of this opportunity and I am very honoured and humbled.’’

Ms Peris - who says she has always been a Labor voter - is not a member of the Labor Party.

Ms Gillard said the party's national executive would ''resolve'' that issue.

''I'm not going to make it routine for me to intervene in party processes,'' Ms Gillard said. ''But I think there is a national significance here.''

Ms Gillard said that she would let Senator Crossin make her own comments, but suggested that she had asked the senator - who has been in federal parliament for 15 years - to stand down.

''Of course there are only so many positions and that makes tough choices, inevitably tough choices. Choices need to be made about the Labor team and about the people that we put forward,'' Ms Gillard told reporters in Canberra.

''I have made a decision and that is it.''

I wasn't consulted: Crossin

A senator since 1998, Senator Crossin was first woman elected to federal parliament from the NT.

In a statement released shortly after Ms Gillard's announcement, Senator Crossin said she was not consulted about the plan.

Senator Crossin said she was only made aware of the move to install Ms Peris as a Senate candidate last night.

"On Monday evening I was told by the Prime Minister of her intention to seek to endorse Nova Peris OAM as a candidate for the Senate in the Northern Territory from the national executive of the Australian Labor Party," the statement said.

"This action has been taken without consultation or negotiation with the NT branch of the ALP or my input as the long-serving federal Labor senator for the Northern Territory."

Senator Crossin said she had long-believed that preselection should be a matter for the branch.

"As an advocate and federal representative for the NT, I will not be making further comment until I have spoken with and consulted NT branch members and my colleagues."

Labor MP Andrew Leigh said that while rank and file preselections were the ideal system, he could understand Ms Gillard's frustration about the lack of indigenous representation in the Labor Party.

"I can understand the Prime Minister's determination to have an Indigenous representative in the House of Representatives," he told Fairfax Media.

He said it was important the the Labor caucus looked like the "rest of Australia", adding that rank and file preselections had failed to preselect an indigenous candidate for 12 decades.

Dr Leigh said that while his experiences with Senator Crossin had "all been "terrific", he had found himself turning to Liberal MP - and indigenous parliamentarian - Ken Wyatt for informal advice on indigenous issues.

"I feel myself being pulled in two directions," he said of Tuesday's announcement

Labor 'took their eye off the mark' in NT

Ms Peris says that she was first approached to join the parliament about seven years ago, when she had young children.

"I wasn't ready then," she explained.

The former athlete outlined her passions for health, education, young people and essential services, and observed that the way the NT intervention was implemented "was wrong".

When asked why Labor had lost the support of indigenous voters in NT, Ms Peris said she believed that Labor "took their eye off the mark".

"There was a lot of work done by the CLP [Country Liberal Party] with regard to working hard in the bush and they got a lot of voters to vote, probably a lot of voters who never voted in their life," she said.

"Aboriginal people have been disappointed with government for a long time, and hence the intervention. I saw first hand that you can have the policies but if you don't have the right people implementing it's never going to work".

Ms Peris won gold with the Hockeyroos in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, becoming the first Indigenous Australian to win Olympic gold.

After making the switch to athletics, she won gold in the 200 metres and 100 metres relay at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games and in 2000 made the semi finals of the 400 metres at the Sydney Olympics.

She was Young Australian of the Year in 1997.

Ms Peris, a mother of three and a grandmother, describes herself as an Aboriginal activist.

She was a "treaty ambassador" for the defunct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and has set up a charity, Peris Enterprises, through which she advocates an active lifestyle and health checks for indigenous children.

Meanwhile, former NT Chief Minister Paul Henderson has announced he will quit politics to put his family first.

Mr Henderson, who was chief minister for five years, has been on the backbench since losing the territory's election last year.

Nova Peris Chosen As Senate Candidate For Labor In 2013 Election


bloody-minded stupidity .....

Surely there has never been a clearer demonstration of Julia Gillard’s abysmal leadership credentials than her decision to offend all Australians by endorsing Nova Peris for the Senate, in what can only be characterised as a dreadful act of tokenism.

Without for a moment taking issue with Nova Peris’ achievements as an Olympian & an Australian, the fact remains that political parties establish pre-selection processes so as to protect due process, ensure transparency & to try & ensure that the most capable candidates are selected.

Whilst all the major political parties have abused their pre-selection processes over the years, when the Prime Minister & leader of the parliamentary Labor Party so publicly & so cynically abuses democratic process, there can be no hope for her party’s future.

jesus indeed ....

from Crikey ….

not local, not Labor, not preselected: NT bags Peris parachute


Syd Stirling spent 18 years in the NT Parliament and was a long-term deputy chief minister and treasurer before retiring in 2008. Yesterday he went on local radio to slam the move by Julia Gillard to parachute Olympic gold medallist Nova Peris into the Senate - in the bluntest of language.

"I bagged Gillard and her absolute contempt for the NT Labor Party," the Labor man told Crikey last night.

"I initially declined but I was persuaded otherwise by someone much smarter than me. Gillard has picked a person who has never had anything to do with the Labor Party, never done anything to support the Labor Party, she's never done anything for the Labor Party. She's not even a member of the Labor Party! She gets tapped on the shoulder for a prestigious, privileged and highly responsible position to represent the Territory in in the Senate.

"We know that Gillard has questionable judgement - look at the Slipper business - and for mine this just confirms that all that has been said about Gillard is true. She has no principles."

There is a saying in politics - well, if there isn't, there is now - that what starts in tears will end the same way. Yesterday a nervous and tearful Peris stood next to the Prime Minister as she announced the stunt, lifting the hockey player and sprinter into the sinecure that is the Labor Party's NT Senate seat.

So Gillard faced down the factions and put a grandmother, sporting "legend" and all-round good woman into the Senate. And to boot she's black. What could be wrong with that?

The clumsy attempt - and that is all it is at the moment - to thwart the NT Labor Party's pre-selection process may have the good and the great shouting Peris' name from the rooftops as a political masterstroke. Certainly it will play well down south. But in the NT - where we'll have to make the choice to vote for her or not - it may just be seen as a cruel and cynical attempt to make a dish of very cold revenge of current Labor Senate pick Trish Crossin and take a dump in the local party's lap at the same time.

Earlier this month ex-NT Labor deputy chief minister Marion Scrymgour announced her bid to run against Crossin. Scrymgour is a tough and smart politician who stood down after 11 years in the NT Parliament that saw her rise - for two years - to be the most powerful elected Aboriginal woman in the country. In 2009 she resigned to spend seven months on the backbench as an independent, then returned to save Labor's parliamentary skin following Alison Anderson's defection in August 2009.

For some in the party Scrymgour is seen as one of those cheap Chinese Catherine Wheels: no matter how firmly you nail it to the post, you can never be quite sure that once you light the fuse it won't shake itself free and explode in your face. Or stay fixed and give a memorable display of political grace and power.

Scrymgour stood down from her (then) safe seat at the 2012 election in August. For many, a black mark on her political legacy is that she didn't ensure her seat of Arafura was secure enough for Labor candidate Dean Rioli to take over. The CLP's Francis Xavier took what should have been a safe Labor seat by just 62 votes.

Crossin has held the NT Senate seat since 1998 and due to the particular demographics of the NT - our status as a Commonwealth Territory means the NT only gets two Senate seats, notwithstanding the NT covers an area the size of several European countries - she has held that seat ever since.

She's seen as a political plodder, never awarded a ministry or much above the (temporary) chairmanship of committees. And her greatest political sin - for these times - is that she was (and may still be) a supporter of ex-PM Kevin Rudd.

Despite Scrymgour's political baggage she was seen as a good chance to roll Crossin in the preselection and take the Senate seat at the federal election later this year. Just how NT Labor will react to being (effectively) rolled by Gillard remains to be seen. Watch this space.

For all the mud thrown at preselection as an imperfect and bloody political science, it does serve some very good purpose: it subjects candidates to a degree of due diligence that rattles - or should -- any skeletons in a candidate's cupboard.

Yesterday the NT News reported Peris was approached by Labor's national secretary George Wright just six weeks ago and asked if she'd like to run for Crossin's seat. Crossin was given the bad news late on Monday night while in Sydney preparing for the first public hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, of which she is the chair.

Whether Gillard caught the cruel irony of the moment we don't know, but you can be sure of Crossin's discomfort, as would her fellow committee members George Brandis and fellow NT Senator - and likely federal indigenous affairs minister in an Abbott government - Nigel Scullion.

Despite Peris' apparent inside run at the NT Senate seat, she may have a hard time convincing local Labor rank and file to support her in the very necessary grunt work involved in a Senate election battle in the NT. As one local commentator pointed out last night, Peris is, as far as Crikey is aware, not a current resident of the NT nor a member of the Labor Party and "if Peris really was a local hero the local people would be out saying 'go, good girl'. And as for the stupid idea that sports people are 'rolled-gold' political candidates - Jesus."

The rank and file of the NT Labor Party will hold fire until after the by-election for former NT chief minister Paul Henderson's Darwin suburban seat of Wanguri (he announced his resignation yesterday). Others, like Syd Stirling, are not so shy or constrained.

letter to the canberra times ....

Would those who seek to defend Prime Minister, Julia Gillard’s clinical execution of sitting NT Labor Senator, Trish Crossin, by arguing that she was an ‘unexceptional’ performer, kindly advise the Australian people when the same standard will be applied to Ms Gillard?

Whilst politicians & commentators of all persuasions often lament the poor calibre of people who enter politics, the Prime Minister’s arrogant decision to anoint someone who has never had anything to do with the Labor Party, isn’t a member of the Party & has never done anything to support the Party, not only confirms doubts about the quality of her judgement, but also that she is bereft of both loyalty & principles.

Is it really any surprise that only lawyers & losers seem to wind-up in our parliaments?


I have not commented so far....

There are processes to follow and there are time when a little shove is in the best interest for all.

I had to wait for what my sources would say. And they were dismayed at the torrent of "abuse" against Peris as if caught in a river swollen by yet again Queensland floods, yet again a tide of crap also against Prime Minister Gillard... The situation is not too complicated... To put it in a nushell, Nova Peris has been active in politics and community work for quite a while, doing good important work... The community wants Nova Peris and the community is horrified at the media treatment of a person who is actually a clever stellar giving person — but who does not fight her own kind... The way the Labor (or any political party for that matter) branches operate is about who is top fighter in the fist-fighting machine and there are, of course, unavoidable choices within the branches according to various criteria — but mostly gift of the gab, seniority, alliances, secret ballot and history. Under that system, which is democratic within the branch but quite selectively elitist in regard to the rest of the commuity, a person like Nova Peris does not have a chance in hell to cut it, though she is the better person in regard to the greater community. It would be impossible for her to have the numbers within the branch which from my understanding is more inclined to be Ruddite than for Gillard...

The community has had to weather the storm and it knew it would happen... In the long run, it would be a shame for a person like Nova Peris never to be able to make it because of branch internal bum fights or long drawn out bitter slanted "democratic" (on the surface) processes.

My view as offered to me by some of the people from the community... There is nothing tokenistic about Nova Peris's choice.

boloney ...

Hi Gus.

I'm very surprised by your comments ...

You seem to be suggesting that the end justifies the means ... that the pursuit of transparency, participation & principle by the members of the Labor Party in selecting their nominees for consideration through their party's preselection process is just a tiresome waste of time & that the faceless 'machine' operators, along with their puppet, Dullard, can arbitarily & capriciously impose their views on the membership? If the office bearers in a club attempted the same stunt, they'd be out in the street. If the management of a company tried the same stunt, they to would be out in the street & potentially in the courts.

Gus, you assert that the NT community wants Nova Peris as their candidate ... if that were the case, surely the preselection process would have delivered that outcome?

I frankly don't accept your contention for one moment & I doubt that the majority of Australians do either.

For the record, this issue has nothing whatsoever to do with Peris Nova or Kevin Rudd. It has everything to do with the parlous condition of the Labor Party's health & its willingness to accept its democratic procedures being usurped by the Prime Minister or anyone-else.

Is it any wonder that Dullard's appeal for an increase in Party Membership by 8,500 resulted in  8,500 'new' members but the loss of other 4,000 'old' members?

Selecting political candidates for political office like you're running the local social club is offensive not only to the members of your party, but to the wider electorate as well.

As I said in my letter to the Canberra Times, I can't wait to see who Dullard selects as the token candidates to represent gays & lesbians, billionaires, blondes, people who are overweight, gamblers, pimps & prostitutes, people with wooden legs & glass eyes ... if having a 'token' aboriginal or female, or both, is so bloody important, why isn't equally important to have other sections of the community represented in the same way?

The answer is Gus, that merit should be the only consideration: nothing-else. And if the preselection processes are respected, that will be the outcome. If it isn't, then the process needs to be reformed, which is what Faulkner & others have suggested.

That Dullard is too bone-headed lazy & too dumb to understand or care about that, says everything about her.

It will not be any wonder that Abbott will wind-up as Prime Minister, notwithstanding his lack of popularity, simply because the Labor Party demonstrates such a wilful & arrogant disregard for itself & the people of this country.

I have never been more disgusted with politics in this country as I am now ... Dullard & the rest of her self-serving lapdogs can rot in hell before they'll get another vote from me. As far as I'm concerned, the conservatives couldn't care any less for the working class people of this country than do the neo-liberals currently pretending to be Labor.

Happy to argue this further.



'captain's' pick ....

Hi again Gus.

So much for the 'captain's pick' & your assertion that the ‘community’ wants Peris Nova (an opinion not backed-up by a shred of factual; evidence).

For what it’s worth, the current SMH poll shows that 83% of the ‘community’ are opposed to Dullard’s action in imposing Peris on the NT Party, its members & the wider electorate.

I’m not the least bit surprised & to try & defend Dullard’s stupidity by pretending that people are attacking Peris Nova is simply deceitful, & again, without any factual foundation.



that's okay by me...

My view is shared by far more people than the "opposition" promoted in the "news" and the dissent of a few... But that's okay with me, I can be wrong... But I have my own opinion on this affair, and I support Julia on this... 

dying on the vine ....

from John Passant

The Prime Minister has anointed Gary Foley, Michael Mansell, Robbie Thorpe, Barbara Shaw, Nova Peris for Labor’s top senate position in the Northern Territory in the Federal election some time later this year.

This is their only winnable position in the Senate there. With just 2 seats up for grabs every 3 years, it is virtually one seat guaranteed for the Country Liberal Party (CLP) and one for the ALP. Labor’s 2 party preferred vote would have to drop below 33 1/3% for Labor to lose it.

Who is Nova Peris? According to Koori Mail:

Nova Peris is a Muran woman from Kakadu and Arnhem Land and was a ‘treaty ambassador’ for the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).

Peris won Olympic gold as part of the Australian Hockey team in 1996 and Commonwealth Games gold as part of a relay team a few years later.

With more than a decade, a day as an ALP member, and a lifetime, a week of fighting for Aboriginal people, Peris brings important attributes to the job. She is an Aboriginal woman who won’t rock Gillard’s boat.

She supports the racist Northern Territory intervention. Well presumably she does because there is no record of her having said much at all about the issue; and she sure as hell would not have been parachuted into the position if she, like her principled bothers and sisters Foley, Shaw and many many others, opposed the intervention. 

Peris has made one comment on the Intervention. According to Michelle Grattan in The Age:

Asked whether she supported the federal intervention in the NT, Ms Peris said that ”something needed to be done” but the way it was done was wrong. The government now had its ”stronger futures” legislation, in which she hoped to play a big part.

Stronger Futures is the Commonwealth Labor Government’s rebadging of the Intervention. They are the same thing. For Peris it looks like a case of four legs good, two legs better.

Peris has benefited from the Intervention. She has done publicity work for a health program that didn’t in the end work (no fault of hers) and received $1 million over a couple of years.

Why Peris? Even within the context of bourgeois parliamentary games, there were a range of other candidates like Marion Scrymgour who could have been imposed on the party or won Senate preselection in their own right.

Scrymgour is a former Deputy Chief Minister in the Territory, Aboriginal and a long term ALP member. This latter almost certainly disqualified her, and the fact is she probably wouldn’t have beaten Crossin in any Party contest for the Senate seats this time around. But in 3 years time when Crossin was going to retire? Maybe.   

Gillard couldn’t parachute Scrymgour in because the former Deputy Chief Minister opposes the Northern Territory intervention, describing it as vicious new McCarthyism. When she was a Labor Minister in the Territory she accused the party of lying to Aboriginal people and in protest went to sit on the cross benches for a while before returning to the party. 

Scrymgour indicated she would nominate for the top Senate position 2 weeks ago and it is possible Gillard imposed Peris as the top Labor Senate candidate on the Northern Territory Labor Party to prevent Scrymgour becoming the candidate this time around or in 3 years’ time.

By forcing Peris on the ALP in the Northern Territory Julia Gillard has trampled the very limited democracy and choices the members in the Labor Party have. She has imposed an Auntie Tom on the membership and the community, including especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander society in the Northern Territory and more generally across Australia.

This is indicative of a wider problem of lack of democracy in the party and a membership dying on the vine.

Of course it is an indictment of Labor that it has never in the 112 years since Federation preselected an Aboriginal person for a winnable seat in the Federal Parliament. Not once.

Parachuting in Nova Peris doesn’t address that systemic fault in Labor; it reinforces it. It reinforces the bankrupt nature of pre-selection in the party, even with rank and file participation; it exposes the bankrupt nature of the leadership and the party that allows the PM and the National Executive to impose their will on the membership; it highlights the bankrupt nature of the Left of the party that has gone along with this decision.

I will shed few tears for Trish Crossin. She is one of those hard working non-entities who have in fact been part of the problem of Labor in the Territory, never challenging the Intervention in any concerted way.

She is also the parliamentary head of Emily’s List, a group of middle class women looking for a safe sinecure in Parliament without challenging the systemic nature of women’s oppression that is capitalism, but rather reinforcing it through their parliament first and at all costs view of the world and their (in)action. So the ultimate symbol of all that is Emily’s List, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, has knifed its head.

In the Territory elections last year Labor lost in the regional and remote areas. Aboriginal voters deserted the party. On a two party preferred basis the swing to the Country Liberal Party was 5.4%. In pastoral and remote areas the swing was over 15%.

Of Labor’s 8 seats in the 25 member Parliament, 6 are from Darwin and just 2 from remote regions.

Why did Aboriginal voters desert Labor? A major part was opposition to the Intervention and condemnation of Labor’s failure to make life any better for Aborigines and others outside the cities. (It didn’t do much for city dwellers either.)

Labor ’rationalised’ local councils – from 63 to 8. People outside Darwin felt they had lost power as a consequence of this super-sizing.. But the real vote changer was the Intervention. As AAP reported in the AFR:

The intervention in Aboriginal communities, started by John Howard and re-named Stronger Futures after the ALP took it over, has been deeply unpopular in many indigenous communities.

Some Aboriginal leaders have said the laws unfairly branded particular communities as harbouring drunks and paedophiles and unable to manage their own affairs.

If Labor were serious about addressing the loss of Aboriginal votes they would abandon the Intervention and admit it was a racist attempt to control indigenous lives. Of course, having successfully imposed non-solutions such as income management on Aboriginal people, the Labor Government has extended the program to control unemployed whites in some major cities. 

Parachuting in celebrity candidates does not address the systemic racism and genocide against the original inhabitants. If Peter Garrett is any guide the host takes over the parasite.

Gillard’s action also assumes that Aboriginal voters can’t think for themselves and will be bedazzled by a Peris candidature because she is Aboriginal. Of course the idea that Aboriginal voters might look to Labor’s abysmal record on Aboriginal Affairs and Peris’s defence of it in deciding who to vote for is just too far blown for the Gillards of the world to contemplate. 

In that rarefied world of Labor politics, Aboriginal people don’t think for themselves. They will evidently be sucked in by appearance rather than substance. This racist paternalism is part of the problem for Labor.

A treaty, recognising prior ownership and sovereignty, paying the rent to the indigenous owners of the land and allowing Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders to run their own affairs is a set of systemic solutions to the systemic problems of dispossession and disempowerment, systemic solutions to the past and ongoing genocide against the indigenous peoples of this country. 

That program would require an attack on capital in Australia and its interests. Labor won’t do that. Far better from the point of view of Gillard as the captain of the second level of capital to pick Nova Peris to open the batting in the battle for the Senate than actually take on capital to address the real issues. Nova Peris will be a willing accomplice to Gillard’s anti-Aboriginal agenda. 

The Invasion Day protests, the burgeoning Idle No More indigenous peoples’ movement in Canada which is spreading across the globe, the campaigns against the Intervention and deaths in custody, all offer an alternative approach to winning better lives for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. They are movements from below, not machinations from above. That way lies the future, not one bum on one seat for a Gillard puppet in the Senate.

Nova Peris & The Bankruptcy Of Labor

I disagree with that...

I disagree with Mr Passant...

This is where I come from:

The rise to prominence of Nova Peris is a good thing... for 200 years, there has been a major problem with relationships between whites and the indigenous people in Australia. No matter which kitchen sink we threw at the problem there has always been some people who argued against whatever, including giving them the vote — which by default, stopped them from being "slaves" to become "unemployed" (unemployable). For example, some people on both sides, white and Aboriginal, did not like the "intervention" instigated by John Howard. It was deemed patronising and demeaning, but some aboriginal leaders like Noel Pearson approved... They though and (they possibly know) that something drastic had to be done to stop the cycle of drink, poverty and misery in settlements. 

Some people like Foley used to be angry "negative" young man, now they are positive angry wise men creating some life's solution for themselves and others. But here we have had "a" solution like the intervention that is not applicable to all situations, not even to one possibly... On the whole, It ends up being a resented whitewash rather than a helping gesture.  
Julia knows this.

People like Nova Peris are good role models and the future is in the youth of the indigenous population... The oldies have fought the hard battle, the embassy tents, the protests, the land rights. Now that quite a lot has been achieved, the old fighters are tired and some are still angry, disillusioned and often forgotten...  The acquired rights have been a mixed blessing and some (many) communities are still battling, as lives have not improved a skerrick, and  often not knowing when the next battle is next, nor about what... 
A new generation of young people is coming up, some "fighting" against the elders' views (not fighting but taking a different tack — taking things to the "next" level)), in order to create proper schooling for the young ones... It's not that the schools aren't there — though sometimes they are a bit far away — but the motivation is generally lacking... The situation is quite appalling really. This motivation can not come from the government alone using a stick or even a carrot. It has to come from the communities who are often at a cross-road ("easy lazy" life) but from the young educated aboriginal people who take the young ones under wing... The young people who have risen through, know that it has to be done through encouragement and vision individually as well as collectively. 
Unfortunately, some "role models" (example of behaviour) in some communities have been taken over by a second wave of careless angry lazy resentful people... And who can blame them!... They have had so much shit poured onto them and lost their Aboriginal focus, that the only way out is to drink... They are destroying themselves with foetal alcoholism and other drug problems... Amongst the older fighting leaders to stop this vicious cycle are leaders like Noel Pearson and a few other people like his brother. But it's hard yakka... Their message often fall on deaf ears in the communities.
The third wave in being implemented by young aboriginal leaders who are more sensitive to the reality and are not trying to change the oldies but dedicated to prepare the young people for a better life. This is not a push for assimilation — which would result as second (third) class citizen — but developing a new outlook that is implementing proper participation of the Aboriginal people into the main stream as well as in Aboriginal communities... Rebuilding better communities in which "fabricating produce" as well as art can enrich the community and take it away from the extreme welfare dependency... Welfare is not a dirty word and some is still (will be) needed. We, whitey, use it as well... On general welfare works well for our social construct, except that a few people might abuse it... The Aboriginal people do no abuse welfare but they depend on it to far too much — by necessity... So, the young Aboriginal leaders are pushing to inspire the young people and new occupations away from drifting will fill the day...
This is where people like Peris come in. They already have helped younger people develop a different outlook than the constant pessimism that has permeated some communities... They are important "role model" whose input should be valued, even in the political bum-fights. As you know, everything is not the same every where. Different problems and situations demand different strategies... And the clever young Aboriginal leaders know that.
So to all the knockers of Nova Peris and Julia Gillard, I say let it be... You never know you might learn something different and surprisingly progressive... despite the usual whinging from the back rooms.

Gus Leonisky


committed to break the cycle of disparity ....

Labor's national executive has overwhelmingly endorsed Indigenous Olympian Nova Peris as the party's top Senate candidate in the Northern Territory, although the vote was not unanimous.

Ms Peris received 19 out of the 21 votes cast, while Senators Kim Carr and Carol Brown voted in support of the incumbent Senator Trish Crossin.

Speaking in Darwin, Ms Peris said she is honoured and humbled by the executive's "vote of confidence" in her.

"I look forward to meeting with as many people as possible and to work over the coming months on a plan to help address the clear disadvantage and to break the cycle of disparity that too many people in the NT suffer," Ms Peris said.

a token too many ....

Labor's backroom chieftains have obediently rubber-stamped their Captain's Pick of Nova Peris to top the ticket for a Northern Territory Senate seat.

Many people who should know better, including a large chunk of the Canberra press gallery, have hailed this as a great leap forward for indigenous Australians. How wonderful, they enthused: at last, an Aboriginal woman in Federal Parliament.

It is not wonderful. It is a travesty, yet another tragic episode in the horrible saga of white paternalism that began in 1788 when Arthur Phillip kidnapped poor Bennelong and togged him out in tailcoat and knee breeches to hang about Government House.

At least Phillip's motives were high minded. A product of the Enlightenment, he genuinely believed he was bringing a primitive heathen into Christian civilisation under the benign protection of George III.

Julia Gillard can claim no such moral purpose. There were three indigenous people hoping to contest preselection for the Senate slot, all of them ALP members. Gillard trampled them into the dirt because she thought a star athlete would be an election winner. It's as simple and cynical as that. Whitey called the shots again.

Just as Bennelong was carefully coached in the use of the snowy napkins and the Georgian silver at Phillip's table, so Peris will be told where to sit, what to say and how to vote. The party machine will ring-fence her with minders to protect her from the media and the punters. As the Northern Territory's Indigenous Advancement Minister, Alison Anderson, scathingly but accurately remarked, she will be a ''maid to do the sheets and serve the cups of tea''.

The ALP postures as the party of social progress, but the Tories have done better in sending indigenous politicians to Canberra. Neville Bonner became a Liberal senator for Queensland, of all places, in 1971. Ken Wyatt, the present Liberal member for Hasluck in Western Australia and the first and only Aboriginal member of the House of Representatives, was chosen in a legitimate preselection contest, not imposed from the top.

Far from crowing, Labor should be ashamed that the Nova Peris stunt is the best it can come up with 225 years after Phillip's arrival in Sydney Cove.

Mike Carlton

a single shove is often best to bypass inertia...

I disagree with Mike Carlton on this one...