Tag Archives: Indigenous Affairs

Instant ‘Sacred Site’ created in Melbourne

An indigenous activist/malcontent with some gripe against the country talks about an illegal camp, sacred site set up in Kings Domain, Melbourne.

This though, is a home and a symbol. And that sacred fire over there is a living conduit to the Creator. You don’t mess with that.

Maybe not, but someone sure as hell has messed with his brain.

I know it’s almost passé to say it but if a white fellow lit a fire in the Kings Domain he would be sent packing by the constabulary and invited to discuss the matter with the Magistrate should we have been so bold as to argue the matter. The Age wouldn’t have bothered reporting the incident but get a fellow with victim pigmentation involved and they’re all over it.

Melbourne bylaws forbid camping in public parkland, but the authorities are caught in a cleft: they are being lambasted on talkback radio for inaction, but news vision of a forcible removal of the campers would give them the oxygen of more publicity and perhaps attract more activists — of all stripes.

So remove them at 2.00 in the morning after having doused the living conduit to the creator with a bucket of water, half consumed goonies or whatever comes to hand.

Robbie, this weeks token victim, then threatens us with wasting our money as well as our time.

And there’s always white man magic, he notes, smiling. “If they come to kick us out, we’ll wait and see the documentation — and then we’ve got a whole army of lawyers in Collins Street just waiting to have a go at them.”

Taxpayer funded Legal Aid no doubt.

Aborigines to be paid only one-third

Annabelle McDonald in the Australian reports some shocking news

ABORIGINAL cultural heritage workers in Queensland will be paid about a third of the amount white people earn for performing similar roles, under a controversial ruling by the state’s Land and Resources Tribunal.

Well, on the face of it, it is shocking news but my life experiences lead me to a different conclussion. In 2004 I visited the Northern Territory and the Gulf country of Queensland and while there came across cultural heritage workers. At Gregory River I spoke to a Telstra manager who was charged with laying a optic fibre network for the local Aborigines.

I quote from an article I wrote at the time.

Mick, (not his real name) the Telstra manager, told us horror stories of dealing with the local indigenous population. Cultural monitors demand $300 per day for their presence at any work site. Once the monitors on any Telstra job exceed 6 then there is a Cultural Monitor Supervisor who gets paid in excess of a $1,000 per day to make sure the monitors are doing their job.

Telstra are expected to have an Archeologist on site as well and he is charged with ensuring the Optic Fibre lines are not desecrating culturally significant sites.

Stories of the Archeologist picking up a rock and saying…

“This looks like an old axe? or whatever, and the monitor saying

“Is it? Oh yeah, so it is. You fellows have to go around?

Ah, such science.

Four D11 dozers are used on an optic fibre line. One to clear the scrub, one to level the path, one to rip the trench and one to fill. These things cost thousands of dollars per day so I would hate to think of the costs associated with rerouting the line a kilometre or two around a culturally significant piece of rock.

I don’t think it’s quiet the racist issue Annabelle would have us believe and I just wonder, for the record, what similar roles do white cultural heritage workers get involved in?

Fires unearth forgotten Aboriginal settlement

AN extraordinary discovery of Aboriginal stone houses in southwestern Victoria appears to confirm that some of Australia’s first inhabitants lived in settlements, not just as nomads.

Should this prove to be true then it’ll rewrite what we know of the original Aussies but I do think Matt Butt, the Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation’s land management supervisor, is stretching things a bit when he says;

“This is very early aquaculture,” Mr Butt said. “People talk about the Egyptians 3000 years ago, but this is something else.”

It is something else, Matt and further study could prove interesting, but the pile of stones pictured in the Australian aren’t quite up to pyramid standards.

Aborigines betrayed: Yunupingu

THE Northern Territory’s most influential Aboriginal leader has broken his silence to rally indigenous Australians against what he calls the betrayal of the reconciliation agenda, calling, as a protest, for the return of a symbolically important painting now hanging in Federal Parliament’s Great Hall.

Galarrwuy Yunupingu said yesterday that the Barunga Statement, a painting he presented to the prime minister Bob Hawke in 1988, should be returned to the red soil of Barunga, a settlement in the territory, to protest at the failure of successive governments to tackle Aboriginal disadvantage.

Before Galarrwuy starts digging the hole to bury the statement he might give pause to answer some questions himself.

For example;

Why does he drive around in Range Rovers and 100 series Toyotas while his people drive clapped-out old falcons or toyotas?

Why does he have total access to a Jetranger chopper while his people walk?

Why is his son at a prestigious boarding school while his people in outstations near Nullunbuy are iliterate?

Why does he have several ‘palaces’ (local Police Sgt’s definition) while his people live in run down houses?

Galarrwuy, if I was under investigation for missues of Northern Land Council funds I’d adopt a lower profile before people start asking “who’s betraying whom?

The Black Prince under attack

The Australian newspaper finally catches up with kevgillett.net. Last June I posted on Gallarway Yunupingu, the Black Prince of Arnhem Land and raised several questions based on what I witnessed at Nuhunbuy in Arnhem Land.

When there, I notice a chopper flying around;

“Who owns it? I ask.

“Well not Galarrwuy. He owns the company that owns the chopper?

The’ve learnt these people, I was told, just like white shonky businessmen, they now set up companies so they can state very clearly that they don’t own certain luxury items but they are reserved for their private use.

From the Australian newspaper

By contrast, Mr Yunupingu is regularly piloted in a helicopter, which cost the Gumatj Association $169,949 in “repairs and maintenance” last financial year. The chopper absorbed $20,592 in fuel and is used to reach one of four houses at Mr Yunupingu’s disposal, at Ninyakay outstation in western Arnhem Land

along with the Range Rover and several other cars. Last year Galarrwuy met us at an outstation driving a 100 series fully optioned Toyota that looked decidedly out of place beside the communities other vehicles in the parking area- mostly tired clapped out fords.

Last year I wrote;

We met one chap who had traveled with the band (Yothu Yindi)for 12 years and I quite liked him (no names- no pack drill) but noticed body language that would indicate that he was not a favoured son. Alcohol, drugs and a murder investigation is cramping his style.

(no names-no pack drill) can now be identified as one of Galarrwuy’s sons who has recently been convicted of kicking a woman to death.

Being chairman of the Northern Land Council, Galarrwuy gets to control allocation of funds but has never been hampered by a sense of fairness.

MORE than $3 million in housing grants controlled by the Northern Territory’s most powerful black politician, Galarrwuy Yunupingu, has funded construction of just four houses in four years for his impoverished Arnhem Land people.

One of those houses was for Mr Yunupingu’s use.

And I personally know that one other is set aside and considered as the private property of a favoured son known by all at Nuhulunbuy as Galarrwuy’s successor. It sits on prime real estate overlooking the bay with no chance of ever being built out. No one occupies it while he is away down south at a boarding school – barely a teenager he effectively owns a house while the rest of his tribe live in squallor.

And this;

Mr Yunupingu’s cousin Dhanjah Gurruwiwi lives at the eastern end of the beach in similarly poor accommodation with her brother Djalu Gurruwiwi, the legendary yidaki (digeridoo) carver and player.

I visited the Gurruwiwis and can sympathise with them on their allocated accomodation. The local white population, including the police, referr to Galarrwuy’s four houses as ‘Galarrwuy’s Palaces’.

We didn’t get to see them.

The question is that this has all been local knowledge for years and nothing has been done about it.

Why?

There is more on my experiences in Arnhem Land in the right-hand menu bar under Travel, The LTD04 Tour.

Funerals and Pay Days

In June, 2004 I travelled through Arnhem Land and was priveledged to visit an outstation south of Nuhlunbuy. This came to mind this last night when watching Lateline (transcript not available yet) where one of the contributors, talking about cultural difficulties in employing young aborigines in the mining industry, mentioned funerals as a particularly difficult point in employment and cross-culture problems.

My writings from that trip illustrate why.

We went down to an outstation and witnessed the setting up of a funeral for an elder that had just died. The locals build a new purpose-built village with shade and a centre mourning hut to accommodate the deceased elder. Due to respect for their traditions and customs I decided not to take photos but the expense, effort and time taken to farewell elders was enormous.

Water reticulation and power are supplied. Builders and other tradesmen are busy around the site and all the clans-people are involved in the build-up. The clan is tied up for two weeks. Kids at boarding schools down south (the chosen few) miss school. Commerce normally conducted by the clan ceases to operate (if there is any) and a two-week sit-down phase starts.

My co-traveller, a teacher in a school with Aborigine boarders has difficulty reconciling this event with his need to play his part in preparing the young for the future. It impacts severely on education as in large clans there are a lot of funerals per academic year.

I’m the first to demand and expect respect for our elders and ancestors but when my Father died I was as saddened as any man and although I grieved for a long time, and still do, it never occured to me to stop working for two weeks to commemorate his passing. The world goes on… kids need feeding and mortgages need paying.

Therein lies the problem. It is the white society that provides the commerce and employment. Cultures need to change to fit a developing society and the fact that the Australian Aboriginal society hasn’t grasped that yet is their problem and not ours. We can only advise, and yes, I know it’s a quantum leap for them but it has to be made.

Pat Dodson, a good man witha difficult job, spoke on the ‘sharing’ tribespeople where one in work shares the wages with others not working…extended family stuff. The program mentioned this as a problem and suggested, maybe, that locals employed by a mining company might like to have their money depositied directly into a bank account to avoid the old problem of ‘what’s mine is yours’ when the worker got back to his clan on payday.

Pat lost me when he stated that this simply didn’t happen and it was just a story put around by people putting down on his people.

Pat, it does happen, Ive seen it and it is a problem. Denial is no answer.

Howard moves along, ignoring calls for an apology and in doing so has moved the debate on from mere words to action where win-win outcomes for both tribes, white and black, are more likely.

Funerals and Pay Days

In June, 2004 I travelled through Arnhem Land and was priveledged to visit an outstation south of Nuhlunbuy. This came to mind this last night when watching Lateline (transcript not available yet) where one of the contributors, talking about cultural difficulties in employing young aborigines in the mining industry, mentioned funerals as a particularly difficult point in employment and cross-culture problems.

My writings from that trip illustrate why.

We went down to an outstation and witnessed the setting up of a funeral for an elder that had just died. The locals build a new purpose-built village with shade and a centre mourning hut to accommodate the deceased elder. Due to respect for their traditions and customs I decided not to take photos but the expense, effort and time taken to farewell elders was enormous.

Water reticulation and power are supplied. Builders and other tradesmen are busy around the site and all the clans-people are involved in the build-up. The clan is tied up for two weeks. Kids at boarding schools down south (the chosen few) miss school. Commerce normally conducted by the clan ceases to operate (if there is any) and a two-week sit-down phase starts.

My co-traveller, a teacher in a school with Aborigine boarders has difficulty reconciling this event with his need to play his part in preparing the young for the future. It impacts severely on education as in large clans there are a lot of funerals per academic year.

I’m the first to demand and expect respect for our elders and ancestors but when my Father died I was as saddened as any man and although I grieved for a long time, and still do, it never occured to me to stop working for two weeks to commemorate his passing. The world goes on… kids need feeding and mortgages need paying.

Therein lies the problem. It is the white society that provides the commerce and employment. Cultures need to change to fit a developing society and the fact that the Australian Aboriginal society hasn’t grasped that yet is their problem and not ours. We can only advise, and yes, I know it’s a quantum leap for them but it has to be made.

Pat Dodson, a good man with a difficult job, spoke on the ’sharing’ tribespeople where one in work shares the wages with others not working…extended family stuff. The program mentioned this as a problem and suggested, maybe, that locals employed by a mining company might like to have their money depositied directly into a bank account to avoid the old problem of ‘what’s mine is yours’ when the worker got back to his clan on payday.

Pat lost me when he stated that this simply didn’t happen and it was just a story put around by people putting down on his people.

Pat, it does happen, Ive seen it and it is a problem. Denial is no answer.

Howard moves along, ignoring calls for an apology and in doing so has moved the debate on from mere words to action where win-win outcomes for both tribes, white and black, are more likely.

Is Optic-Fibre Already There?

Nationals dream of new bush network The Nationals are talking about the proceeds from the sale of Telstra being used to creat a fibre-optic network in the bush

When I was in the Northern Territory last year I had a lengthy conversation with a Telstra foreman who had a large crew in the Gulf country laying optic-fibre lines to link up Aborigines with the world. This was at Gregory Downs and is about as ‘Bush’ as you can get

The article had a lot to say about wasting funds but the crew were laying optic-fibre networks.

Mick, (not his real name) the Telstra manager, told us horror stories of dealing with the local indigenous population. Cultural monitors demand $300 per day for their presence at any work site. Once the monitors on any Telstra job exceed 6 then there is a Cultural Monitor Supervisor who gets paid in excess of a $1,000 per day to make sure the monitors are doing their job.

Telstra are expected to have an Archeologist on site as well and he is charged with ensuring the Optic Fibre lines are not desecrating culturally significant sites.

Stories of the Archeologist picking up a rock and saying?

?This looks like an old axe? or whatever, and the monitor saying

?Is it? Oh yeah. You fellows have to go around?

Ah, such science.

Four D11 dozers are used on an optic fibre line. One to clear the scrub, one to level the path, one to rip the trench and one to fill. These things cost thousands of dollars per day so I would hate to think of the costs associated with rerouting the line a kilometre or two around a culturally significant piece of rock.

The fibre optics get to a mission and Mick tells me that Telstra gives all the locals CDMA phones.

Do they pay for them? No

Do they pay for their calls? No

Is there any reader with more knowledge on this subject

Is there an optic-fibre network already being laid in the bush?
If there is, is it only to Aborigine missions and if so, why?
Is the network actually being laid past white-fella towns or properties?

I wonder.

Sugar Ray Robinson

‘Sugar’ Ray, an ATSIC commissioner, refuses to answer questions on cheque cashing as it might incriminate him.

Damn right it might but he’s in court on fraud charges and the truth will out.

ATSIC commissioner “Sugar” Ray Robinson took to the stand yesterday in his fraud trial and twice refused to answer questions on the grounds he might incriminate himself.

Mr Robinson’s gambling habits also came under close scrutiny with claims he put $4.3 million through the poker machines at Brisbane’s Treasury Casino over three years.

$4.3 million bloody dollars through the poker machines!

Mr Hunter put it to him that records from the Brisbane casino showed he had spent $4.3million from January 2001 to August 2004.

Mr Robinson denied he had spent that amount, saying the casino’s recording system did not accurately reflect the amount gamblers actually put into the machines.

I was once a licenced poker machine operator and believe me, that’s exactly what the machines and computers do record. The amount fed in and the amount paid out. If he is using a card then believe the figures.

“The machines roll around for three to four hours,” he said.

“You can have $50,000 or $60,000 registered on the machines when you only put in $100.”

Yeah. Right mate. Everybody gets 50 or 60k for a $100 outlay particularly when the industry works on an 85% return.

When a Crown prosecutor accused the former ATSIC deputy chairman of cashing an indigenous housing company cheque for $6000 and depositing $2900 in his personal bank account Mr Robinson refused to answer, saying: “It may incriminate me.”

It goes on and on and Aborigines wonder why the Government are in the process of gutting ATSIC.

ATSIC refuses to play dead

I recall Weird Whitlam gutting the Army for having the temerity to fight his Communist mates and am saddened by the fact that us professional soldiers didn’t do something to stop the rot. It occurs to me that we could have tried to sell our Tanks, artillery pieces, APCs and M16 rifles to help fund a legal battle against the Government.

This comes to mind as I read an article in today’s Australian that reports ATSIC is planning to sell their assetts to fight their long overdue demise.

True. Believe me.

ATSIC commissioners plan to sell some of the agency’s $8 million in property and assets ? including a $3 million collection of indigenous art ? to fund a legal battle with the Howard Government.

Like the Tanks, artillery pieces, APCs and M16 rifles of the 70s, I’m of the opinion that anything ATSIC owns is actually a part of the National assett base and thus belongs to the taxpayer, not some miscreant grabbing for money and power out West.

Can’t we just send in the removalists and bury this beast.

ATSIC is dead and the corpse is starting to stink.

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