Tag Archives: Indigenous Affairs
A feel-good story to lift your sagging spirits. Reported in todays Australian
As a 10-year-old station hand, George Musgrave led government men across his Cape York ancestral lands, pointing out the waterholes and good grazing spots that would serve generations of white graziers on Lakefield Station.
Standing on the ravaged fringe of Saxby Lagoon — an important story place for the Kuku Thaypan people — he can only shake his head at the 73-year-old legacy of that folly.
Twenty years after Lakefield Station was declared a national park, the banks of the lagoon are a deeply pockmarked quagmire from wild pigs and cattle. The ground is barren from overgrazing.
The Qld Parks and Wildlife Environment Protection Agency web site claim that Lakefield’s traditional owners, the Lama Lama, Kuku Warra, Kuku Yamithi and Kuku Thaypan, are closely involved in managing the park and have been for some time.
The legacy of Georges folly is not that the graziers ruined the land but that it has been ruined by inaction and poor management procedures since the land was resumed 20 years ago.
The Parks and Wildlife have been managing the park with help from Kuku Thaypan and others over the last 20 years so what have they been doing? If George is trully stressed he could have done something to save his sacred land over those years but what has he done?.
In a word – nothing.
For those of you who don’t travel outside your southern triangle comfort zone I must point out that the feel-good reports you read in the press about national parks and indigenous input are often a long way from the truth.
I went through Lakefield two years ago on the way to Cape York and for three sleeps I wondered where the park rangers were – didn’t see one. Saw a lot of signs of pigs, both bovine and city based non thinking 4 wheel drivers, lots of obnoxious weeds, a couple of crocs but very little else. Camping fees paid into a post boxes to stop tourists bothering the undermanned Ranger Station. The Parks and Wildlife people have a fairly good labour-free money collection system but you’d have to drive around a lot to find any signs of that money going back into facilities.
Victor Steffenson, the architect of the traditional knowledge website, says Low Lakes is a perfect example of the synergies that exist between traditional land management and modern conservation agendas.
Synergies! Give me a break. Traditional land management consisted mostly of burning. Not a bad thing in itself but meaningless by itself and the fires in the ACT, NSW and Victoria are proof that burning/backburning is not on the agenda while Greenies hold any sway in land management.
When it was a grazing property the managers were obliged to keep on top of the obnxoious weeds and cull the pigs as often as they could but now the land has been reclaimed none of these land management procedures are employed.
Parks and Wildlife seem more into good business practices than good land management and every state government knows that every station resumed is another Greenie vote and if you think the Kuku Thaya chaps are going to clean up the place under the leadership of George Musgrave then think again. Work isn’t in the 5 year plan.
More sit-down money is.
Fires a Dreamtime payback, say blacks.
Aborigines are claiming that ferocious central Australian bushfires are being driven by a wind called Piriya, which is exacting Dreamtime payback for the siting of the exclusive six-star Longitude 131 safari camp resort near Uluru’s sacred north face.
They seem to have a dreamtime word for everything that goes wrong. In the realtime it’s either a bushfire or inter tribal warfare over the lucrative receipts from tourists.
I wonder if the dreamtime has a word for education. Most probably not.
Windschuttle says left-wing historians exaggerate numbers of Aborigines killed during white settlement. They say the debate needs to be from a compassionate viewpoint. That is, it is OK to exagerate figures to present a compassionate history. I say it’s all bullshit. While we argue over how many people died in Tasmania in eighteen something, in 2003, women and kids are sick or dying from health and social chaos in Yeundemu and elsewhere. Can we get back to the real debate and start people thinking about answers to todays problems; leaving the academics to pontificate/debate/sell more books/manage their careers/feed their egos…..you know, forever drawing blue prints but never building.
We are currently enjoying a small window of opportunity that has come about by political correctness loosing it’s ascendency. We need to sieze the day and debate the issue without fear of being labelled rascist.
Dual Laws The police are hampered in their day-to-day duties by the this strange example of wooly thinking. The rules of law concerning murder, rape, theft, occassioning bodily harm, property, drunkenness, wife beating and child beating are set in place for all Australians.
Last year, a court in the Northern Territory actually took into consideration the fact that a man had already been punished by tribal law in that he had been speared in the thigh by his tribal elders and thus his punishment from the courts was less! Just to be clear on that – in 2002 in a first world country, a court sanctioned the spearing of a man through the thigh! No one was held accountable or charged with occassioning bodily harm that I know of.
The only aspects of tribal law that are relevant are those that all societies use. The way that we all educate our children in the family environment in what is acceptable social behaviour as they head towards adulthood.
Again, in the Territory, we have the case of an Arnhem land man who successfully argued that tribal law gave him the right to sexual relations with his underage bride. His sentence was reduced from thirteen months to one day. We all know what would happen if I scored with the pre-pubescent around the corner – and rightly so. We have laws to protect children and they need to be applied across the board.
I can hear the minority screaming ignorance of the law, but our laws handle that. White, black, brindle – the law applies. Ignorance of a law is no defence. Migrants with no english, sub eighty IQ people and tribal aborigines all have this problem. The point of law is that they are charged with offenses and the court applies compassion – not the social workers/engineers.
One people – one law……..puleease.
Land Rights. The give ’em land and all will be well school needs a rewrite of their curriculum. There is no point giving land to people just to sit on. What is the point of guaranteeing tenure to some shitty piece of scrub or desert country to people when all it does is perpetuate and highlight their abject poverty. What is the point of ATSIC, or whoever, buying up properties and handing them over to people not trained or educated in the running of cattle stations. The result is more money down the gurgler and no progress in living standards.
Land rights have had little impact on the well being of the aborigines.
Alcohol Alcohol is impacting so severly on quality of life matters in remote commuities that I’m surprised that the afore mention historians aren’t hammering the genocide effect. Yet while it is acknowledged, there are still people who say ‘but the white fella gets drunk too!, as if this throw away line should stop us looking at the problem. Yes the white fella does get drunk but until 80% of my local suburb are drunk and brawling on a Friday night I think we can treat this white fella problem a little after the problem in Aborigine settlements.
Alcohol is a problem – fix it!
If we are to have one law and one standard for granting title to land then we also need one standard for education and health services. Governments and commentors have discussed this ad nueseum but the whole debate has centred on how difficult this is. In my previous life as an army officer I would allocate tasks and the subulterns would say, but sir – I havn’t got enough men, or I haven’t got enough resources. I would counter, I know what you have and all we are discussing now is the degree of difficulty of the task. I know how hard that is too! Just do it!
Lack of Education and poor health standards are killing Australians needlessly – stop counting dead Tasmanians and start counting school teachers and medical staff.
I know this is simplistic and that there are a hundred problems to deal with on the road to educated, healthy people but as we forged this country to where it is today we countered and overcome similarly difficult problems – we need to do it again. The Royal Flying Doctor and School of the Air are good examples of our ability to overcome problems that would have others mulling around discussing the degree of difficulty. Lets work and think at that level and bring the whole nation to the same starting line.
The Aborigine Genocide debate. If you haven’t been keeping up on the ‘how many aborigines did we kill when Aus was first settled” debate, then read on. Left-wing history revisionists are making all sorts of exaggerated claims that tell the story in their own distorted way as they try to prove ‘settlement’ equals ‘slaughter’. Keith Windschuttle released a book claiming their figures were rubbery and not based on fact. Since then the revisionists have refused to answer Windschuttle’s direct accusations. They are still at it.
This interview was reported in the Australian yesterday.
May 26, 2003
KEITH Windschuttle: Lyndall Ryan cites the diary of the colony’s first chaplain, the Reverend Robert Knopwood, as the source for her claim that, between 1803 and 1808, the colonists killed 100 Aboriginals [sic].
The diaries, however, record only four Aboriginals being killed in this period.
Reporter: It’s a devastating claim Ryan cannot refute.
Lyndall Ryan: Right. I certainly agree that the Knopwood diaries say that, but I also had another reference referring to a report by John Oxley who was a surveyor who’d been sent down to Tasmania in 1809. He said too many Aborigines were being killed.
Reporter: Okay, but how did you extrapolate from his words saying “too many Aborigines had been killed”, to “about 100 lost their lives”? Is that just made up?
Ryan: Well, I think by the way in which Oxley wrote that he seemed to think there had been a great loss of life from the Aborigines.
Reporter: So, in a sense, is it fair enough for [Windschuttle] to say that you did make up figures? You’re telling me you made an estimated guess.
Ryan: Historians are always making up figures.
I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again.
ANSWER THE BLOODY QUESTION LYNDALL!
Lyndall Ryan: No historian enjoys a monopoly over the truth. In answer to some serious questioning of her scholarship by Keith Windschuttle she says;
“Attempts to undermine the essential validity of the past 30 years of historical scholarship on the fate of the Tasmanian Aborigines by discrediting the initial work needs to be answered. Windschuttle points to some factual errors in the footnoting of my original work. There are, indeed, a few minor errors that can easily be rectified. But these rectifications do not alter the book’s fundamental proposition nor in any way support his assertion that the errors were deliberate and used to create imaginary events”.
As I noted last week Keith Windschuttle has released a book questioning the accuracy of Lyndall Ryan’s book The Aboriginal Tasmanians. Windschuttle states that he has gone back to the sources and references she quoted and found a host of inaccuracies. Some newspapers she quoted hadn’t even started publication in the years concerned and some people she referred to weren’t even in Tasmania when the were said to have been involved in the “Massacres”.
As noted above she replies.
“There are, indeed, a few minor errors that can easily be rectified. But these rectifications do not alter the book’s fundamental proposition nor in any way support his assertion that the errors were deliberate and used to create imaginary events,”
I beg to differ. They do alter the fundamental proposition. If you state categorically that a certain person witnessed an event, as reported in a newspaper of the time that dealt with Aborigines, sheep and slaughter/massacre; and Windschuttle’s research shows that at the time the person wasn’t in Tasmania , there were no sheep there and the Newspaper didn’t even exist, then you have either based your book on false premises, or you are simply distorting the truth to fit in with the “black armband” theory of genocide.
Answer the bloody question Lyndall.
The “Did we massacre the aboriginals or not” debate continues.
I have travelled extensively throughout Australia and have yet to notice a groundswell of opinion that agrees with the “black arm” view of white Australians massacring the blacks. I am gregarious and a sociable person and consequently talk to people from all walks of life. I can only conclude that it didn’t happen to the extent that the crazy ‘Left’ would have us believe. The same goes for “racism”. By and large Australians are NOT racist. It is true we don’t like bludgers, wife beaters, alcoholic maniacs, drug users and other peripheral beings but that is only prejudice, not racism.
In the press this week Keith Windschuttle released a book questioning the accuracy of Lyndall Ryan’s book The Aboriginal Tasmanians. Windschuttle states that he has gone back to the sources and references she quoted and found a host of inaccuracies. Some newspapers she quoted hadn’t even started publication in the years concerned, some people she referred to weren’t even in Tasmania when the were said to have been involved in the “Massacres”.
In answers to these points a pontification of professors wrote to The Australian newspaper and although lengthy in words, the letters were very short on fact. No counter to what could be only classified as serious objections to Ryan’s scholarship. Not one fact verified, no counter argument to Windschuttle writings, simply words along the lines that we, “the uneducated underclass” shouldn’t even listen to Windschuttle as he isn’t a true historian and, worse, The Australian definitely shouldn’t publish articles about or by Windschuttle for the same reasons. This arrogance so prevalent in academia takes my breath away.
All this could be just a ripple in the day-to-day life in Australia and I may well have just waited for the debate to die a natural death. This was until I read, in an article by Michael Duffy, that the same Lyndall Ryan was once a research assistant of Manning Clark. Alarm bells are deafening. Dear old Manning never wrote a kind word about Australia and its conservatism. He tried to beatify Lenin, saw all things rosy in Communist Russia and in the end was just a tired grumpy old left wing fool that went out of his way to denigrate the Australian society that had failed to recognize his greatness. Any disciple of Manning Clark is definitely not on my Christmas card list. I conclude that Ryan has too much left wing baggage to be taken seriously. Meanwhile the debate will continue and I look forward to someone from academia coming forward and debating the matter with undeniable facts. Until they do they are just radio static – way off frequency.
Earlier this week I mentioned Phillip Noyce and his receiving an award for his movie “The Rabbit-Proof Fence” Well, it appears I’m not alone in my doubting the veracity of the story line of the film. Andrew Bolt writes on the matter as does Tim Blair. These writings will automatically be labelled “right wing” by those who live in hope that one day the UN will take over Australia and run it according to the “enlightened way” Me. I’d just as soon people read all that was available before they made up their minds.
Posted 1600 Saturday, 14 December 2002
Robert Hogg of Ashgrove, Qld tries to rebut Wednesdays article in the Australian where claimed figures quoted by academic left wing “Black Band” historians are exaggerated. One of the main points of Windschuttle’s argument was;
“Lloyd Robson claims that settler James Hobbs in 1815 witnessed Aborigines killing 300 sheep at Oyster Bay and the next day the 48th Regiment killed 22 aborigines in retribution. However, between 1809 and 1822 Hobbs was living in India, the first sheep did not arrive in Tasmania until 1821 and in 1815 the 48th Regiment never went near Oyster Bay”
Other points were in similar vein.
Robert Hogg replies;
IT’S a pity Keith Windschuttle didn’t spend more time in state archives and less time at the weather bureau. If he had he might have unearthed more relevant evidence as to the nature of relations between white settlers and Aborigines, which he then could have passed on to Emeritus Professor Claudio Veliz (10/12).
The Queensland State Archives, for example, contain a wealth of evidence as to the violent nature of frontier settlement. This takes the form of correspondence between the Colonial Secretary and the Mounted Native Police, the reports of commissioners for Crown Lands, and requests from settlers for protection from Aborigines seeking to drive the whites from their land.
If the settlement process was as benign as Windschuttle and Veliz would have it, why are there so many requests on file from station owners asking for detachments of native police to rid their properties of blacks?
Windschuttle didn’t say “settlement was benign” he just said it wasn’t as bad as some historians are trying to make out. Last years case of Professor Reynolds admitting that his 20 000 blacks killed was based on “so many whites killed times a factor (unspecified) and then doubled – robs him of any credit. Hope Reynolds doesn’t teach Stats 101.
Robert wanders on.
“William Hunter of Mt Abundance (Roma) wrote on 15 December, 1863, regarding the planned removal of native police from the eastern Maranoa that: “The consequences are likely to be very serious. There is a large number of blacks in this part of the country . . . and they need the presence and the dread of the native police force to keep them in check.” And Bernard Lane’s reproduction of Windschuttle’s weak scholarship is poor service to readers who rely on newspapers for their understanding of events.”
Robert, no one doubts aboriginals were killed during the early years of white settlement however what some are doubting is the number killed. The greater the number the better the “Black Armband” historians like it. The rest of us are a little bemused by the argument. It was 200 plus years ago at a time when indigenous people were really being slaughtered by Colonialist other than the Brits. What they did here was reasonable for the times.
Jack Frawley from Coogee, NSW writes to the Australian Newspaper
I LIVED on Bathurst Island for five years and drank at the Nguiu Social Club many times. I now live in Coogee, NSW. This is what I’ve seen and heard: binge drinking, violent brawls, shouts and screams all night long, vomit and piss in the streets, and even murder.
Nguiu? No, Coogee! Grog problems are not just confined to Aboriginal Australia. Fair go, Paul Toohey, how about a good news Aboriginal story for once?
I’ve been to Aboriginal places/towns/camps too and have a different perspective. The greatest damage to the aboriginal community over the years has been from people like yourself saying there isn’t a problem. There is. The problem will exist while PC people refuse to allow discussion of the subject. I agree grog problems are not confined to Aboriginals, they have just perfected the tragedy. For your analogy to be relevant I would expect 80% of the people in my Brisbane suburb of Taigum to be drunk at any given time. This clearly is not the case. Let ATSIC etc develop their laws themselves because self recognition is the first answer and let us help where we can and when we are invited.