Prime Minister – and supposed Indigenous Affairs Minister – Tony Abbott has insulted First Australians, saying Australia was "unsettled" before British colonisation, while his Indigenous advisor Warren Mundine laughed off the calumny. First Australian Natalie Cromb comments.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivered the keynote address at a Melbourne Institute conference last night and, whilst advocating for foreign investment, he shed some light on his particular take on history, crediting the Australia' existence on British “foreign investment” in
“... the then unsettled or, um, scarcely settlement, Great South Land.”
This, of course, is the same Tony Abbott who, in the lead up to last year's election told a large group at Arnhem land that he would spend his first week as Prime Minister with the Yolngu People.
When it was pointed out by David Donovan in late September that he had not, actually, done that, PM Abbott was backed to the hilt by his hand-picked Indigenous advisor, Warren Mundine, who excoriated IA's managing editor forfoolishly taking Tony at his word.
Again, today, Mundine has downplayed Abbott’s latest insensitive comments as“silly”, saying Tony Abbott’s
“... heart is in the right place.”
So, who is this Mundine? And why has he thrown his support behind a prime minister whose attitude towards Indigenous Australia is ambivalent at best and downright duplicitous at worst?
As a proud member of Australia's First Peoples, I would like to talk about Warren Mundine and his relationship and connection to Indigenous Australia, as well as lay out what a person in his position should aim to achieve.
Warren Mundine is an accomplished man with a large family and extensive political history with the Australian Labor Party — however, those closest to Mundine do consider his political aspirations self-serving rather than for the greater good of the Aboriginal people.
Lending weight to this critique is the fact that he has jumped ship from Labor, citing he was “sick at heart” following the appointment of Bob Carr to the position that he was courting and now he is Prime Minister Abbott’s key advisor on Aboriginal Affairs.
I am sure that Warren Mundine’s ‘leadership’ status and ‘advisor’ capacity has nothing to do with the fact that he shares the same religious philosophy as the Prime Minister, is an economic conservative that supports Abbott’s policies of individual economic participation as being of more importance than the empowerment of communities and he appears to tow the party line.
Warren Mundine’s views are widely criticised and rightly so.
He has supported a political party and policies that have set Indigenous people back, and makes outlandish comments of this nature, which not only deny the history of this nation, but belittle it for an economic cause.
An example is the recent announcement of $42m funding being cut from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS).
read more: http://www.independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/tony-abbott-terra-nullius-and-warren-mundine,6637
Even he obviously and instantly recognised he'd blundered into dangerous territory, and managed to exacerbate matters by modifying ''unsettled'' into ''scarcely settled''. Tell that to the Aboriginal people who had been living across the ''Great South Land'' for somewhere upwards of 40,000 years before the coming of Europeans unsettled every tenet of their existence.
The Prime Minister would have been vastly wiser to avoid the settlement question altogether.
But he wasn't as grievously incorrect as his detractors have rushed to claim, at least on legal grounds.
The Australian War Memorial's refusal to acknowledge the Frontier Wars between Indigenous Australians and white settlers is historically dishonest and is holding back reconciliation, writes Alan Stephens.
The Australian War Memorial is one of Australia's most visited and influential national institutions. Seven hours a day, 364 days a year, it is filled with children and adults from all parts of the country.
For many, the AWM provides their main exposure to the story of war - indeed, to Australian history.
According to the Memorial's website, its mission is "to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war".
In order to fulfil that mission, the AWM should both honour and educate. That is, it should illustrate and acknowledge the experiences of the men and women who have served; and it should tell us clearly and honestly why we have gone to war, and what that has meant for our nation.
It is within that context that the refusal of the people who control the AWM - politicians, the governing council, and retired generals - to recognise the most important conflict ever fought by Australians is nothing less than a national scandal.
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