Me? Sit down
I am also a suffering optimist, I try to see positivity in things but find that is generally only my family that provides the positivity in an otherwise politically depressing world.
Stick around and nod your head, join the discussion and give me a piece of your mind.
Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/nataliecromb
Wednesday, 30 September 2015
Sunday, 2 August 2015
Unless you have been living under a rock or are a culturally sheltered white affluent right wing Australian, you would know that the Confederate flag is used by white supremacist hate groups in America in much the same way the Southern Cross flag was used by those in the race riots at Cronulla in 2005. Put simply, to wear this flag as a shirt at all, let alone in the cultural climate post black massacre in the U.S., you are either at the zenith of human stupidity or a blatant racist; either way, you certainly should not hold a senior position advising the government on matters of race.
This begs the question: what qualifies a person to be an Indigenous Adviser in Australia under the Abbott Government? Is there a criteria?
The Indigenous Affairs Minister, Nigel Scullion, was born in England, arrived in Australia in his teens and only just prior to becoming elected to the Australian Senate in 2001 did he relinquish his dual citizenship. A white Englishman entrusted with a portfolio of responsibility affecting the most marginalised population in Australia for 227 years. The Indigenous population marginalised by his mother country. Appropriate? Apparently so.
Perhaps I am being unfair? Surely there are some Indigenous people that get to have a say? Isn't there?
Of course there is.
Tony Abbott announced the formation of the Indigenous Advisory Council in September 2013 when he appointed – yes, you guessed it – Warren Mundine as chairman.
Warren Mundine’s appointment in this capacity sets the tone of how this government approaches Indigenous affairs in this country — a continuation of patriarchal colonialism.
Tony Abbott appointed someone who he knew would tell him what he wanted to hear in order to invoke policies that he intended to all along. Warren Mundine has been heavily criticised by the Indigenous community, particularly by his own family and community. Yet he was still appointed because he fits the mould of what Tony Abbott wants in an Indigenous advisor – he is a right wing Christian who has the same economic ideologies and a most colonial mindset on the topic of Indigenous communities, given his support of funding cuts and a push for policies that continue to demonise Indigenous people as bad parents and welfare dependents.
Even when Tony Abbott said the most vile and racially offensive things, his pal Warren could be counted on to smooth things over and make it look to mainstream media subscribers (Indigenous and left wing community knew better) that Tony Abbott was just a clumsily worded larrikin whose heart is in the right place. But when those who dare speak in support of Tony Abbott keeping his promise to Indigenous people call him out on it, he turns on the charm and calls them racist.
Warren Mundine personifies what is wrong with Indigenous Affairs in this country. The Indigenous community, by and large, do not support him or his ideas and he is aware of this. Yet, he still goes against the needs and wants of his community to speak on issues that he has no authority to, which is a continuation of patriarchal condescension of the Englishman at the helm.
The board that Warren Mundine chairs comprises Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians who advise Tony Abbott on Indigenous issues but they were careful in stating that the Council is not representative of anyone.
That is correct – an Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC) that does not represent anyone – but advises the prime minister on Indigenous issues. The IAC is able to shape policy with its advice but the agenda of the members of the IAC have been called into question given that there have been funding cuts of over $600 million to grass roots service providers of essential health and justice services, but funding provided under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) has been generously provided to the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) of which Warren Mundine and Andrew Penfold, both IAC members, are on the board.
The funding direction taken by the IAC and decisions made under the IAS are self-evident – less justice and welfare – more school and jobs programs, all of which is well in keeping with the assimilation agenda.
We live in a country that is so co
ntrolled by corporate greed and individual short-sighted advancement that a suspected dual citizen, who would “do anything to get the job”, receives the honour of being prime minister on the back of a grubby media waging war against a female prime minister and then uses the said honour as a platform to progress his white supremacist agenda.
The Abbott Government and his so called advisors are completely disconnected from the Indigenous community.
The fundamental problem they cannot seem to grasp is that, we – the Indigenous community – decide who our elders in our own communities are and who speak for us. It is those people the government needs to listen to, not the token, quisling representatives they select that spout party policies and nod along with decisions made to the detriment of the community. Each Indigenous community in Australia has a unique set of issues and relationships, kinships and lores that the government – after 227 years – still does not grasp.
While Tony Abbott loves to continue to propagate the colonial rhetoric of Indigenous people being primitive people, the Indigenous people had and continue to have a sophisticated social and familial structure, understanding of biodiversity and ecological sustainability, and we know how to survive despite the 227 years of oppressive and racially targeted policies. We also know that for the last 227 years, the presence of the colonial oppressors has been an illegal presence and, whilst we know that an egg cannot be unscrambled, we do know that governments (particularly a right wing government) cannot be trusted, which is why we will continue to resist government-selected Indigenous advisors and advocate for our own affairs to be protected and self-determined in a Treaty.
With the prime minister whitesplaining history, Indigenous advisors complicit in racially targeted policies and engaging in racially inappropriate conduct – little explanation is needed about why Indigenous Australia is so damned angry.
If only more members of white Australia were willing to put down their Daily Telegraph and switch off the commercial channels to get angry with us, maybe then we would see some change?
Friday, 17 July 2015
I DON'T know anyone that voted for the current government – perhaps I do and they’re too ashamed to admit it – but in any event, it feels as though every person I speak to is either in a haze of confusion or in a state of irate contempt. One thing is for sure, there is consensus among those I speak with that this government is not fit to represent us.
At best, it is the most incompetent and intellectually void example of elected government and at worst (and perhaps more accurately), it is the most sinister and immoral group of individuals banded together in a common goal of individual wealth accumulation (theirs) at the expense of the Australian people (us).
Read more here.
Monday, 13 July 2015
Amnesty International released their report, ‘A Brighter Tomorrow’ (the Report) on 3 June 2015 at the National Press Club in Canberra.
The Report details the glaring statistics including the fact that youth incarceration is at its highest rate since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody some 20 years ago.
The report was launched by Amnesty International’s Secretary-General Salil Shetty who said:
The Report commended the numerous programs that are being initiated by Aboriginal communities, including the Justice Reinvestment Program which is part of the Maranguka initiative which is a grass-roots justice reinvestment project that aims to empower the Aboriginal community in Bourke and means ‘care for others.’
This strategy is a community led strategy where the money spent on incarceration is redirected to rehabilitation and education, in addition to, community programs which determine why the crimes occurred in the first place and addressing the individual and community issues which lead to crime. This multi-disciplinary approach not only addresses the issue of crime but it improves outcomes of the families of those assisted and the community at large because the educational opportunities undoubtedly assist in achieving a higher standard of living which flows through.
The intent is to stop youths from offending before they become part of the justice system and to find more appropriate ways to rehabilitate and educate to avoid reoffending. It may be that a youth involved in theft would be given an opportunity for further education or employment; a driving offender given assistance to obtain a legal license with safe driver training or perhaps a realistic plan for bail reoffenders from breaching their conditions.
Mr Shetty experienced this work in Bourke first hand when he visited and said:
The Indigenous communities that are trailblazing in this new area of community based justice reinvestment are doing so for the benefit of their communities, however, there is the additional benefit that education and rehabilitation ultimately costs less than incarcerating.
Mr Shetty confirmed that:
Mr Shetty confirmed that the Report makes a number of recommendations to the Commonwealth and state governments, including:
Mr Shetty reiterated the criticism Australia has received international with respect to its breaches of international obligations with respect to children, particularly Indigenous children, and affirmed a further recommendation of the adoption of the Indigenous Justice Reinvestment strategies:
Friday, 3 July 2015
Sue Townsend (nee Green), a Wiradjuri woman and Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales has graduated with her PhD in Social Work and was further awarded the Dean’s award in the form of a grant to publish her thesis.
Thursday, 2 July 2015
There is a massive amount of confusion and debate within the Indigenous community regarding whether you are for or against constitutional recognition and, more specifically, the Recognise movement.
The major issue I have with Recognise is that the campaign started to garner support before the substantive wording and legal ramifications were put to Indigenous communities for consultative discussions. The fact that this is a campaign championed by Abbott himself and for us to be suspicious, we need only look to the bread crumbs he has already left us.
The Liberal policy document says:
".....the ordinary law of the land is observed – in indigenous communities no less than in the general community
... The key objective of a referendum will be to achieve a unifying moment for the nation, similar to that achieved by the 1967 constitutional referendum."
What is important is not what is said in the policy document, but rather what is not said. The government does not consider that the constitutional recognition will be anything more than a unifying moment for the 'nation.' This means that white Australia can pat themselves on the back for something.
There is no mention of sovereignty, there is no mention of addressing social and cultural injustice, there is no mention of reparation for historical injustice and genocide.
The intent of the government is clear. If the above breadcrumbs were not clear enough, let us consider the conduct of the government with respect to Indigenous Affairs since being elected:
Here is a quick summary of the cuts we know about so far:
The supposed 'Indigenous Advancement Strategy' has lead to numerous further funding cuts to essential Indigenous services, including the telephone service for Aboriginal people who find themselves in custody. It has lead to very profitable businesses for certain organisations that are willing to capitulate to LNP party policy (support for Recognise is on the application forms).
The more disappointing outcome of this debate is perhaps the underhanded behaviour of many of those involved with Recognise.
IndigenousX recognised a theme on social media among the Indigenous community, and the theme was that there was large pockets of opposition to Recognise or suspicion of its motives given that there has not been any official wording provided for community consideration. A community based survey then did the rounds and the findings were analysed by Celeste Liddle and demonstrated that the majority of those surveyed were against constitutional recognition as it stands.
Rather than recognising (pun totally intended) that the Indigenous community affected by the proposed changes were in large part opposed or undecided, and informing the community and allowing consultation. Recognise came out and attempted to undermine the credibility of the community run and analysed survey.
Let me be clear - this government and Recognise do not want dissent. They also do not want a treaty where they will be held to agreed standards of policy, reparation and land rights.
This means to undermine us and if you are in doubt, follow the bread crumbs left for yourself.
“… nothing but bush … the Marines, and the convicts and the sailors … must have thought they’d come almost to the Moon…. Everything would have seemed so extraordinarily basic and raw…”
Wednesday, 24 June 2015