Choices for First Australians: Honest History miscellany

This is our fourth miscellany this month on matters affecting First Australians and the relationship with them of settler Australian-based governments. Some of the items repeat familiar themes. One could ask who has most control over why these themes do indeed persist, rooted in our history.

Echoing remarks of the former prime minister about the ‘life-style choices’ of Indigenous Australians living in remote countries, Federal Liberal member, Dennis Jensen, said he did not believe that ‘noble savages’ living in remote communities should be subsidised by taxpayers. (The Hansard gives the full version of his remarks; it should be read.) The Western Australian government has plans to shut down some remote communities.

Jonathan Rudin, a Canadian visitor involved with Indigenous legal services there, finds similarities between issues affecting Indigenous Canadians and Australians while former Federal and NSW Minister, Bob Debus, targets the over-incarceration of Indigenous Australians and ways this issue might be addressed. (Includes link to full text of his address.) Now, an Amnesty Australia report is critical of Australia’s incarceration of Indigenous Australians and asylum seekers. (The full report.)

Then, on New Matilda, Liam McLoughlin sets out recent examples of settler Australian racism, what has been called ‘casual racism‘. Cameron Smith has more on the same subject, also in New Matilda.

Finally, for those going in depth into aspects of Australia’s Indigenous history, there is Mura Gadi, an online data base at the National Library of Australia. Mura Gadi provides ‘a guide to manuscripts, pictures and oral histories in the National Library of Australia relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’. It is a massive resource, now part of the Library’s broader holdings.

25 February 2016


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