Tony Abbott’s Cape York visit

The Federal Opposition’s Indigenous Affairs shadow minister, Tony Abbott, is spending three weeks in a community on Cape York in far-north Queensland. He highlights one of the real difficulties for parliamentarians in meaningfully engaging with Indigenous (and to some extent also other) communities.  The problem with politicians getting to know the issues in indigenous townships is that we…

Continue reading →

Nelson takes partisan approach to bipartisanship offer

Brendan Nelson has reportedly pulled the Coalition out of the federal government’s “bipartisan commission on Indigenous housing”, apparently because “Mr Rudd refused to include former Indigenous affairs minister Mal Brough in the group.” I was supportive of the notion of some sort of apolitical ‘war cabinet’ on Indigenous issues when Kevin Rudd first floated it…

Continue reading →

Will the Budget bridge the gap?

Pre-Budget speculation gets fairly tiresome after a while – mostly just scene setting leaks and people writing and saying things to fill the space before they have something substantial to write and talk about. Budget night provides the relief of actually getting into the real thing after a lot of mostly empty shadow-boxing. This will…

Continue reading →

Labour Day march in Brisbane

I marched in Brisbane’s Labour Day parade today – only the second time I’ve done so. I was part of a group marching in support of justice for the group of Queenslanders who were the most exploited and ripped-off workers throughout most of the Twentieth Century – Aboriginal workers whose wages were taken by governments…

Continue reading →

No link between permit system & child abuse

The previous federal government used the spectre of child sexual abuse as justification to scrap the permit system contained in the Land Rights Act, which required people wishing to visit Aboriginal freehold land in the Northern Territory to first obtain permission. It was cheered on its efforts by its ideological fellow-travellers, who were happy to…

Continue reading →

Suffer the little children

I have been reading a book by Rosemary Neill called “White Out – how politics is killing black Australia”. It was published back in 2002 but its core message is even more valid now than it was then – that the desire of people from across the spectrum to use Indigenous issues to reinforce their preferred…

Continue reading →

The Apology

As soon as you arrive at Parliament House this morning you can tell this is a special day – much more so than the formal opening proceedings of the day before. It had its usual pomp and ceremony, with the extra frisson from having a new government, plus protests outside.  But today is not just…

Continue reading →

Liberals’ Separated Hearts

I doubt anyone has stolen the hearts of Brendan Nelson and some of his Liberal colleagues – they probably decided to separate themselves from their own hearts.  But separated or stolen, their hearts are obviously off in cold storage somewhere, because they’re clearly nowhere to be found at the moment. If ever there was a…

Continue reading →

A narrowing for Queensland

I’ll wait until the Senate results are officially finalised before commenting more fully on what the ramifications might be. There are a lot of votes still to be counted, and I think there is a reasonable chance in Victoria that the Greens will catch up with the Liberals to take the final Senate seat there…

Continue reading →

Labor Party Campaign Launch

According to the word count on my computer program, Kevin Rudd’s speech at the Labor Party’s campaign launch today contained four thousand, three hundred and fifteen words – slightly fewer than the four thousand four hundred and four words in the corresponding speech by the Prime Minster two days earlier. The only specific reference in Mr Rudd’s speech to…

Continue reading →

Liberal Party Campaign Launch

According to the word count on my computer program, the Prime Minister’s speech at the Liberal Party’s campaign launch today contained four thousand four hundred and four words. The only words that referred directly to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people were the following: …. I want to be Prime Minister again so that we…

Continue reading →

Some Bringing Them Home Truths

I chaired the final session of a conference organised by the UNSW Faculty of Law, entitled “Ten Years Later: Bringing them home and the forced removal of children,” reviewing developments (or in some cases the lack of them) in the ten years since the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report into the Stolen Generations…

Continue reading →