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Aussie Racism – it’s time to Stop. Think. Respect.

Political commentator Andrew Bolt said recently that Australia is fundamentally not a racist country.

He’s wrong. Ok, that’s hardly a phrase that’s in uncommon usage when talking of Andrew Bolt’s views, but in this case he’s really wrong.

The Anglo-Australian nation and culture was founded in racism, and racism is wound into the fabric of many of the artifacts that still hold Australia together today. Racism is arguably so embedded in the Anglo-Australian culture, that many don’t see it.

This was never made more clear than in the arguments recently around whether or not ‘booing’ Adam Goodes was racist or not. Here’s Charlie Pickering’s commentary on this from The Weekly:

Australia has a problem with racism

There. I’ve said it.  And so, according to a study done by the University of Western Sydney, have 85% of other Australians. We, as a country, have a problem with racism.

Here’s what Aboriginal Australian Stan Grant had to say about this recently in regards to Adam Goodes:

I may be overly sensitive. I may see insult where none is intended. Maybe my position of relative success and privilege today should have healed deep scars of racism and the pain of growing up Indigenous in Australia. The same could be said of Adam. And perhaps that is right. 

But this is how Australia makes us feel. Estranged in the land of our ancestors, marooned by the tides of history on the fringes of one of the richest and demonstrably most peaceful, secure and cohesive nations on earth.” (Stan Grant, 30 July 2015)

‘Estranged in the land of our ancestors’ – that’s the environment that the Anglo-Australian culture has created for Aboriginal Australians. And while most Aussies of non-aboriginal descent would undoubtedly consider themselves to be more enlightened than our forefathers, we still allow our blatantly racist infrastructure to stay in place.

And while we may be blind to the impact of this racist infrastructure, outsiders aren’t – maybe because it’s often easier to see faults in others than in yourself. In the words of British-American comedian and political satirist John Oliver:

Australia is “one of the most comfortably racist places I’ve ever been”

Comfortably racist. That’s a fairly accurate description. And the reason it’s so ‘comfortable’, is that it’s embedded in the Anglo-Australian culture to such an extent that it’s seen as normal or harmless. Like the chips in the paintwork of your home, you walk past them every day and after a while you stop noticing them.

Racism was embedded in the Anglo-Australian culture right from the get-go

The Anglo-Australian nation was founded in racism

The core principle behind the ‘colonisation’ of Australia in 1788 was a belief in the absolute superiority of the British race. England didn’t declare war on the Aboriginal people when they sent the First Fleet here – they might have undertaken plenty of war-like behaviour after the First Fleet’s arrival – but there was no official war declared. Australia was not taken by ‘conquest’. Furthermore, there was no treaty signed with the Aboriginal people – no exchange of goods to buy the land.

Instead, the English declared that Australia was uninhabited (or ‘terra nullius’) – and therefore up for grabs – ignoring the land rights of the people who had inhabited this country for more than 60,000 years. As historian Bob Reece once wrote about the British attitude at that time:

“The British culture was one with an unquestioning faith in its superiority and in its civilizing role. The whites expected the aboriginal to recognise their superiority and adopt an appropriately subordinate and imitative role.”

And this legal fiction, that Australia was uninhabited at the time the Brits arrived, was maintained for over 200 years. It was only in 1992, that the Mabo case in the High Court overturned this, and that our legal system finally recognised that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples owned the land prior to the Brits arriving. Two. Hundred. Years. That’s how long it took to overturn a racist lie from the 18th century. Are you beginning to get an idea of just how entrenched racism is in our nation’s make-up?

Racism in our national artifacts

There’s no doubt that over the last fifty years, there have been significant efforts to unwind the worst of the infrastructure that has held racism in place since 1788. These include that:

  • Aboriginals were finally given the right to vote (in 1962)
  • The ‘Great Australian Silence’ around Australia’s history was finally challenged by W.E.H. Stenner, which brought the frontier-wars and other aspects of history to the fore (1968)
  • Gough Whitlam adopted the first ‘self-determination’ policy for Aboriginals (1972)
  • Racism was finally outlawed & Aboriginals were finally free to undertake traditional practices on the land again (1975)
  • Aboriginal ‘Protectionism’ which took Aboriginal children away from their families, finally ceased (1970s)
  • Aboriginal right to Land Title in 1788 is finally recognised at law – Mabo (1992)
  • Paul Keating acknowledges past wrongs against Aboriginal Australians (1992)
  • Kevin Rudd, on behalf of all Australians, finally says sorry (2008)

These actions have gone at least some of the way to redress legal issues with equality, but only within the last fifty years, which in history is no time at all. But racism is still embedded in many of our national artifacts. In many ways we’re like an ex-Klu-Klux-Klan member, who after quitting the Klan, keeps all their Klu-Klux Klan posters, books, gear and other mementos and then wonders why people think he hasn’t really left the Klan. Here’s some examples of the racist mementos we’ve kept around:

Our Constitution

A constitution is arguably the most powerful legal document in any democracy.  It may seem like a boring document – and having studied constitutional law, I can tell you that it reads like a boring document. But in terms of its power, it sits above the Prime Minister, the parliament and the courts – making it very important indeed.

When the framers of the Australian constitution sat down at the end of the 19th century with the goal of bringing together the various states at the time of Federation in 1901, Aboriginals were not considered by them to have – and I quote – “the intelligence, interest, or capacity to stand on the same platform with the rest of the people of Australia” in order to have the vote. Nor were Aboriginals to be counted in the census. They were literally considered not to count.

Today, while issues with the vote and the census have since been resolved, the Constitution – the legal framework for this country – still fails to acknowledge Aboriginal Australians’ traditional sovereignty.

Our Flag

NewAustralianFlagdesignIt’s a small thing. But it’s a big thing. It’s what Australians flash around the place to indicate that they are Australian. And we are one of only two ‘colonies’ – New Zealand’s is the other one – that still retains the British stamp on our flag.  New Zealand is about to change their flag. It’s time that we did too.

Our National Anthem – Advance Australia ‘Fair’

Really Australia – ‘Fair’? ‘Young’? Why don’t we just sing the old “White Australia song” from the early 1900s and be done with it. (Yes – there really was a song.)

By way of comparison, the second verses of both the South African and New Zealand anthems are in Zulu and Maori respectively. It’s about time we found an anthem which recognised that our history didn’t start in 1788 and acknowledges and respects the traditional owners of this land.

Traditional language

OK – how many non-Aboriginal readers of this article know how to say ‘Hallo’ in any of the estimated 700 Aboriginal languages that existed here in 1788. I’m guessing it’s the tiniest of tiny percentages. By way of contrast, in New Zealand, the Maori language is taught in over 1000 schools, and there have been discussions about making it compulsory.

Australia day

It’s great to have a day where we celebrate the good things about being Australian. But it’s ridiculously insensitive and – you guessed it – racist when we do it on a day which is considered a day of loss by the Aboriginal people:

loss of their sovereign rights to their land, loss of family, loss of the right to practice their culture

(From Creative Spirits)

There are 364 other days we could pick – we should move it.

Aboriginal Artwork and Traditional Sites

What would Paris be without the Mona Lisa and the Louvre? What would Egypt be without the Pyramids? England without Stonehenge? Florence without the Statue of David? Pisa without the leaning tower? I could go on – but I suspect you get the general idea.

Rock engravings at Burrup Peninsula

Rock engravings at Burrup Peninsula

Around the world great antiquities and ancient sites are valued, protected and appreciated. People queue up to see them. Museums and galleries around the world go to great lengths to identify antiquities and obtain items significant to their culture.

We, on the other hand, have a continent FULL of ancient works of art and sacred sites. But not only aren’t many of them protected, most of us don’t even know where they are. The Western Australian government just deregistered what is arguably the world’s oldest rock art collection so that the Mining companies can get their hands on the site. The site is dated at more than 30,000 years old – THE WORLD’S OLDEST ROCK ART – and there was barely a whimper about it in the news.

What do you think would happen in Egypt if they discovered coal under the pyramids?  Do you think they would allow them to be destroyed? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS. Well – unless Abbott was their Prime Minister of course – then the Pyramids would be gone in a matter of weeks.


The above are just examples of the many ways that we disregard and devalue Aboriginal culture due to the historically racist perspective that it is unimportant. With the exception of discussions around the Constitution – which have been in the news quite a bit recently – most non-Aboriginal Australians wouldn’t even notice that the issues above are problems, so embedded are they in the Anglo-Australian culture. And if you think these things aren’t important – think again. They set the tone, they set the framework within which values and behaviours are fostered and learnt – and make it hard for us to root out the racist attitudes that have been a part of the Anglo-Australian culture for so long.

More reasons why racism can be so hard to spot

Another key reason we may not immediatelly recognise behaviour as racist is that we often assume that racist behaviour is associated with overtly ‘bad’ actions like violence or abuse. But this isn’t always the case. Racism is an attitude rather than an action – which means it can also be expressed through actions and speech which might otherwise seem to be ‘good’ – like kindness or patriotism.

And the thing is, even when racism is expressed through kindness or patriotism, it can be just as venomous. Here’s some examples of different ways that racism has been expressed towards Aboriginal Australians over the past 225 odd years.

Racism expressed through violence

It wasn’t long after the British arrival in 1788 that the first massacres of local Aboriginal tribes took place. This violence – recently renamed ‘frontier wars’ – was seen as ‘unavoidable’ by the British, and continued to flourish in the 19th century. The exact number of Aboriginal deaths is unknown, but it was certainly in the tens of thousands, and possibly more than 100,000.

The attitude that allowed this to happen was the unwavering belief in the superiority of those from the British race. Here’s an example of a statement published in the Bulletin in the late 19th century which reflects the beliefs about the superiority of the British bloodline at that time:

“civilization marches over the bodies of inferior races….they are compelled to make room for the superior race” (Bulletin – 9 June 1883 pg. 6)

Racism expressed as ‘kindness’ or ‘protection’ 

Racism expressed as violence took Aboriginal life and land. Racism expressed as kindness, protection and good works aimed to take away what was left – their culture, their way of life, their families, their language, their history, their spiritual beliefs and their pride in who they were. Here’s how.

The British clearly did not see themselves as violent invaders – they saw themselves as as “enlightened and christian” benefactors of the indigenous inhabitants of the countries they ‘settled’. They looked upon the indigenous inhabitants of the lands they colonised – not just Australia, but other lands – with a degree of pity, and settlers were instructed to use ‘humane means’ to defend themselves when taking control of the land that they saw as rightfully theirs.

Of course, had the Brits been serious in their concern for the well being of the indigenous inhabitants, then they would have stopped their wanton ‘colonising’ – but the racist attitude behind their concern meant that this wasn’t going to happen. Instead, they set up ‘Protectionist’ boards and installed people with the title of ‘Protector of Natives’ to ‘look after’ and ‘civilise’ the ‘indigenous folk’. They also sent out truckloads of missionaries, which they saw as their greatest gift – primarily to educate and ‘improve’ the children.

This theme of ‘protection’ –  in various forms – continued in Australia right through the 19th century and into the 20th century, when in 1915 the NSW Aborigines Protection Board was empowered to remove Aboriginal children from their families at will. They had been able to do that prior to 1915, but only with a court order. Similar practices were implemented in other states which continued up until the 1970s. Once in ‘care’, children were instructed to no longer speak the language of their parents and taught to forget Aboriginal culture and practices.

Racism expressed as patriotism

Just as being kind to or protecting someone is normally a positive thing – so is patriotism. But it too can be incredibly destructive when it is driven by racism.

Take the policy of ‘assimilation’ – so admired by the Reclaim Australia folk – which was implemented by the Australian Government in the middle of the 20th century, as a tool of patriotism to ‘unite the nation’. The policy was designed to suppress and kill off the aboriginal culture, language and heritage – again, in the misguided belief in the superiority of the Anglo-Australian way of life. Aboriginals were offered limited citizenship at this time on the condition that they ceased practicing Aboriginal customs, did not speak their native language and did not mix with any friends or families who hadn’t also agreed to the same terms.


Looking at these three examples of different expressions of racism, it’s clear that while the outcome of racism is normally pretty bad for the recipient, the perpetrators of non-violent racist behaviour (such as kindness or patriotism), often believe – albeit misguidedly – that they are doing a good thing. Their racism blinds them to the true impact of what they are doing. And this is another reason why it is so difficult for Anglo-Australians to see this in themselves – because racism can be well-meaning, or at least not intended maliciously – like the booing of Adam Goodes recently.

The opposite of Racism is Respect

By @FirstDogOnMoon. Full cartoon at http://gu.com/p/4b464/stw

By @FirstDogOnMoon. Full cartoon at http://gu.com/p/4b464/stw

Ok non-Aboriginal Aussies – we don’t have a good track record when it comes to racism. In fact we arguably have a bit of a blind spot – often not from any malicious motive, but purely because of how embedded it is in our culture and a misunderstanding of what it is. But that doesn’t make it any less racist in the way it is experienced by those on the receiving end.

But it’s time now to do something about this. It’s time, as Adam Goodes says, to bite the bullet and have a conversation about racism so that we can:

Fix the remnants of racism in our National Artifacts

This includes the examples I’ve noted above, but there are others as well.  It’s not hard – it just takes the will to do this. Don’t believe the politicians who want to stall this for their own political motives. It may take some time to get consensus, but if we want to do this we can do it. It’s that simple.

Delaying the rectification of these issues is just more racism, as it undervalues the importance of these issues to Aboriginal Australians.

Stop. Think. Respect. 

This was a campaign designed by Beyond Blue to counter discrimination in our community – against a whole host of problems. And it is a key antidote to racism. The way to eliminate racism from our national culture, our national values is first to take the time to notice when it’s there and then to turn a racist attitude into respect.

Last week, after Adam Goodes had called out racism from the AFL crowds, we all stopped, thought, and then – it took a little while – but then we showed respect.

We need to do that across the board.

Stop. Think. Respect.

This article was first published on Progressive Conversation.

89 comments

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  1. M-R

    Dammit, woman – you’ve done it again ! … made me wish I were still blogging and had written this !
    Brilliant. Keep it up.

  2. Kate M

    Thanks M-R 🙂

  3. Gway

    a really easy to read analysis, hopefully, one that get’s under the defenses of many in the settler society.

  4. Matters Not

    Are Australian ‘racists’? Are Germans ‘racists’? Are Russians ‘racists’? What about the Chinese or the Japanese? The United States?

    Go to the Islands in the Torres Strait and see how the Islanders (in power) treat those other islanders who have less than pure blood lines. Yes the discrimination extends to the availability of power when it’s most needed as well as ….

    If you go to any of these countries and you want to apply the theory/filter of ‘racism’ as your (perhaps limited) way of looking at the world you will find plenty of evidence to support same. Yes the ‘racist’ way of seeing the world can be validated. The evidence abounds.

    But, in many ways, it’s an inadequate ‘theory’. Mainly because it’s superficial in the sense that it lacks ‘explanatory power’ when is comes to the ‘detail’. It fails to explain, in the Australian context at least, why certain (significant groups and individuals) are not discriminated against.

    Yes ‘race’ and ‘colour’ are important but not at the heart of the problem.

  5. mars08

    To me, quite often it’s the casual racism which infuriates me the most. The way some people mumble racist bullshit without giving it a second thought… and can’t fathom why people are offended and hurt.

    …we will decide what is racist behaviour in this country and the circumstances where it might offend

  6. Kate M

    Matters Not – Australians are definitely not the only racists in the world. But the fact that racism occurs in other countries doesn’t make it right here.

    That would be like saying that because crimes happen in other counties, then crime is OK here.

  7. mars08

    What troubles me is that, in the 21st century … it’s getting worse. For a while there our community, media and political leaders would speak out loud and clear against racial vilification. Now many seem to encourage it.

    And don’t try to feed me that crap line about how bad it was in the 60’s… i have extensive first hand experience…

  8. Anon E Mouse

    As new migrants settle in this country many, perhaps most, in their desire to fit into the mainstream society, will assimilate the endemic racism into their mindsets. Non-white migrants can be very racist towards Indigenous Australians.

    It is worth noting that the removal of Indigenous children from families continues, although no longer official govt policies, so that it is higher now than before Rudd’s Apology.

    Racism is endemic in Australia – the post colonisation Australia was built on racism.

  9. Michael Taylor

    Matters Not, the title says ‘Aussie racism’. Who cares about the Russians?

  10. Michael Taylor

    PS – and I don’t think it is flawed at all. My Honour’s thesis said much the same thing. And I couldn’t possibly be wrong. :mrgreen:

  11. Wally

    “In many ways we’re like an ex-Klu-Klux-Klan member” this is an insult to all Australians. I agree racism exists in Australia and as Matters Not points out racism exists in most countries but Australians do not condone the type of behaviour the Klu Klux Clan are infamous for. We do not go out on the streets in mobs to target and attack people with different skin colours and/or ethnic backgrounds to our Anglo origins.

    Racism and conflict still exists between different Aboriginal mobs (the preferred term for tribes) in many areas of Australia and the white peoples system has done much harm but the Aboriginal people in many ways have failed themselves. We have reached the point where the blame game is doing more harm than good, it is time for people to stop casting dispersions toward people who have little if any control over the future of our indigenous people and form alliances to force the hand of our governments at every level.

    If there is one thing that can be learned from the Adam Goodes saga is that people are sick of having political correctness shoved down their throats and in the main this is because no matter how polite, respectful and politically correct the public are it is not resolving the issues confronting Aboriginal people. We need to attack the root causes of the problem and I think Kaye Lee identified that recently. I cannot recall the exact wording Kaye used but the main message was that we must give the Aboriginal people the opportunity to fix their own problems. If the system (white peoples) continues to dictate how Aboriginals should live the resentment of white people will continue.

  12. Kate M

    Mars08 – I do think it has gotten a lot worse under this government. Abbott’s rhetoric has emboldened groups like ‘Reclaim Australlia’ – who should really be called ‘Reclaim White Australia Policy’ – because that’s what they want. And when a Liberal MP is the main speaker at one of their rallies, you know it has Abbott’s tacit approval – particularly when ministers weren’t allowed on Q and A at the very same time.

  13. Matters Not

    the fact that racism occurs in other countries doesn’t make it right here.

    Not suggesting that at all. Shock! Horror! At the suggestion. While discrimination on the basis of race should be abhorred then so should discrimination on the basis of any aspect of a human’s ‘condition’ that is devoid of ‘choice’.

    On the other hand, I have sympathy for those who choose to ‘select’, or not, on the basis of whether the applicants for a job (for example) are racists.

    I am not against ‘discrimination’. But I want to look closely at those who ‘discriminate’.

    What about yu?

  14. Kate M

    Wally – I think if you check, I didn’t say we were like the Klu Klux Klan. it was an analogy to illustrate a point.

    I’m also fairly sure I said nothing about dictating how Aboriginal people should live.

  15. Bilal

    Very impressive article which gives voice to what so many of us think. The remnants of white supremacist ideology still surround us in the unthinking racism of our culture. The example of our national day being the day that British law was imposed on the new colony is one case in point. The outbreak of Reclaim Australia for the white man indicates that the old ideas of the white empires are lying there, ready to be resuscitated by opportunist politicians. Adam Goodes made the issue come to the fore again and for that he must be thanked. The revival of these foul ideas can be laid at the door of those who see division and fear as pathways to sustaining their power.

  16. Wally

    @Kate M

    Sorry but I didn’t think it was a very good analogy to use in an article about racism.

    “I’m also fairly sure I said nothing about dictating how Aboriginal people should live.”

    I certainly did not suggest you did but I think that Kaye Lee made a very good point. Lets stop taking individuals to task over racism and do something proactive that will make a real difference to the Aboriginal people.

  17. Matters Not

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why people give meaning(s) to what I write as opposed to what I intend.

    Can’t understand whether it’s my inadequacy, the words I choose (or don’t), or the readers inability to understand what I ‘intend’.

    Or perhaps the reader gives ‘meaning’ to words rather than ‘receive’ same.

    I’ll bet on the latter.

  18. keerti

    An interesting discussion started on FB last week about australians ability to delude themselves… In response to a statement that australia is a rascist country, a woman involved said,”I am not a rascist, but I do have some rascist tendencies.” Until we can honestly face ourselves and what we are without believing we are our ideals, nothing will change.

  19. Anon E Mouse

    Racism is so deeply woven into the fabric of Australia, that even those who consciously reject racism can sometimes recognise it lurking in their psyche. This is why racism needs to be addressed, rather than pointing the finger at those who unwittingly absorbed racism from the surrounding culture they were raised in.

    Wally, dislike etc between Aboriginal mobs does not make it racism – it can occur for a number of reasons, but not racism.

    The Torres Strait have a slightly different history of colonisation to that of mainland Australia. Pacific Island missionaries were introduced in a formal plan to pacify-in-order-to-colonise. Although socially positioned as inferior to whites,the Pacific Islander missionaries bought religion and changed many customs as they were positioned as superior to TS Islanders, and TS church-goers were positioned higher than non-church-goers. This social class structure in the small communities of the Torres Straits resulted in profound change to their pre-colonisation culture.

  20. Anon E Mouse

    Wally, you suggested –
    Lets stop taking individuals to task over racism and do something proactive that will make a real difference to the Aboriginal people.

    Perhaps rather than taking individuals to task over racism (except overt nasty racists, not the well-meaning but wanting to change racists), individuals need to do something proactive to unravel the sneaky racism that is endemic in so many ways in our society.

  21. Wally

    @Anon E Mouse I wasn’t suggesting that the differences between different mobs was racism, I was indicating that the lack of unity was not helping the cause. “the Aboriginal people in many ways have failed themselves” And that needs to be overcome so we can “give the Aboriginal people the opportunity to fix their own problems” and control their own destiny.

    The best way to overcome racism is to restore pride and instil self respect in the victims. Changes in attitudes will follow quite quickly.

  22. Wally

    Anon E Mouse I don’t like racism and I understand that it is the cause of some issues in indigenous communities but I am more interested in seeing kids have 3 good meals a day, live in a loving caring environment and receiving an education that benefits them for the rest of their lives. I have seen changes in outback towns over the past 40 years, some for the better and some for the worse but overall no major change has taken place. I want to see all Australians treated equally, we need to stop worrying about who is at fault and implement change.

  23. mars08

    If there is one thing that can be learned from the Adam Goodes saga is that people are sick of having political correctness shoved down their throats and in the main this is because no matter how polite, respectful and politically correct the public are it is not resolving…

    Oh that is precious!

    Or maybe… as stated in this article… racism is so deeply ingrained into mainstream Australian culture, that they are incapable of seeing it for what it is. So they get all shirty when someone has the audacity to dispute what is… for them… an obvious truth.

  24. Anon E Mouse

    Wally, so your answer to racism is to blame the victims – it is their lack of respect that leads to racism. Un-bloody-believable.

  25. mars08

    For my comment above… replace “racism” with “sexism”… and it’s the same deal.

  26. Wally

    @Anon E Mouse “your answer to racism is to blame the victims” where did I indicate that?

    For the sake of the debate I assume you are referring to “The best way to overcome racism is to restore pride and instil self respect in the victims.” Have you ever considered why racism directed toward some people has little effect on them? If you believe in yourself it is much more difficult for discrimination and harassment of any kind to affect you.

    You seem to have more interest in the racism debate than solving the problems facing indigenous Australians!

  27. Wally

    @mars08 out late trolling again?

    “Or maybe… as stated in this article… racism is so deeply ingrained into mainstream Australian culture, that they are incapable of seeing it for what it is. So they get all shirty when someone has the audacity to dispute what is… for them… an obvious truth.”

    I don’t think you know what the truth is, but you are good at taking part of a post and twisting the meaning to suit your agenda.

  28. mars08

    Fascinating insight Wally…

    I didn’t say I knew the truth. I was just speculating on another interpretation of your opinion.

    Or… in your mind…. is your observation that “…people are sick of having political correctness shoved down their throats and in the main this is because no matter how polite” etc blargle etc… an indisputable fact?

    So grand of you to take something I did not write and twisting the meaning to suit your agenda. Bravo.

  29. 61chrissterry

    Reblogged on 61chrissterry

  30. Pingback: Aussie Racism – it’s time to Stop. Think. Respect. | 61chrissterry

  31. Annie B

    An excellent and all encompassing article Kate M.

    Sadly I have to agree with it all – and have learned of a couple of situations I didn’t know before, from your writings.

    Makes me very angry – but was pleased to see at Geelong a week ago, the many placards held up denoting “Respect” towards Adam Goodes and indigenous people in general …

    Would hope that can continue, but sadly, would not hold my breath. !

  32. Kate M

    There’s been a lot of activity in comments since late last night! Thanks all for getting involved in the conversation.
    Good point corvus boreus. I do think that there are actually plenty of other examples in 18th, 19th and even early 20th century history as well – but since it wasn’t my intention to make a direct link between the two, I won’t take that any further.

    I think once of the biggest challenge we face in any conversation about racism is that because it’s an attitude, it’s far harder to identify than something like violence, which has an expression – not a pleasant one, but you will see or hear or feel violence directly, and an external observer can identify that this is what is going on. Because racism is an attitude, it is far harder to nail down – as it comes before the action or the words.

    Either way, we still have a way to go!! And talking about it is a start. The culture of silence around racism allows it to flourish. It needs rational cool-headed discussion to bring it to light.

  33. Kaye Lee

    The paternalism being shown by Tony Abbott in the constitutional debate is a prime example of our failure to understand the problem and our lack of respect for the people it concerns.

    Indigenous leaders Patrick Dodson and Noel Pearson had submitted a proposal involving a series of conventions to allow Indigenous people to come to a consensus position on constitutional change. Abbott won’t allow it.

    “My anxiety about a separate Indigenous process is that it jars with a notion of finally substituting “we” for “them and us”.

    I am in favour of building consensus, but strongly believe this should be a national consensus in favour of a particular form of recognition rather than simply an Indigenous one. The risk with an Indigenous only – or even an Indigenous first – process is that it might produce something akin to a log of claims that is unlikely to receive general support.”

    Pearson said Aboriginal Australians risked being sidelined from the recognition process and he believed the PM harboured a reservation about the idea Aboriginal Australians could reach a consensus position.

    “Burdened with a history of assumption that our mob can never unite and will never unite… as a result, I think the PM harbours a reservation about the idea we could go through a set of conferences and come up with something that is hard-headed, politically realistic, but also faithful to the history of Indigenous advocacy of recognition that is at least a century old.”

    Mick Gooda said “It is hard not feel despair right now when two of our greatest leaders put up a proposal and it is just shot down. I sometimes think to meet the definition of insanity: keep on saying the same thing, expecting different outcomes. The same thing, [they] keep saying is ‘you’ve got to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people respectfully’.

    “That is what was proposed here … but we get this response. For me it is one of those moments where I feel like curling up in the foetal position under the doona.”

    Senator Nova Peris said if the proposed conventions were not held, “then we are wasting our time”.

    “If we set the history right in this founding document, you don’t lose 200 years. You gain 40,000 years of history.”

    Marcia Langton said there was a voter base who would never understand the plight of Aboriginal people.

    “Those people vote for the Liberals and the National Party, they’re the tradies who turn up with their eskies and who like nothing better than to show each other how racist and sexist they are,” she said. “We can’t expect leadership from that camp in those circumstances, so therefore it is up to all those good Australians who understand the enormity of this issue to stand with us and be the leaders.”

    Who the hell does Abbott think should be reframing the Constitution – George Christensen and his band of bigots who want to Reclaim a country that was not theirs in the first place?

  34. Zathras

    There is no generic term to quantify domestic racism – opinions come down to personal experience.

    As the son of European refugee migrants I experienced it first-hand growing up in the sixties but my children have not.
    In Primary School we were read “Little Black Sambo” and taught that the aborigines were a dying race and would be gone within a few generations. The only experience we had were Jolliffe cartoons that veered between the noble savage and ridicule.

    The only difference now is that the targetting has moved on from Europeans. It moved onto Vietnamese in the seventies and partly onto the Lebanese (depending on where you lived).

    It was only about 10 years ago that we were going to be “swamped by Asians” and that debate was never concluded – it simply moved onto Muslims and “the danger” just evaporated.

    As each previously targetted racial group joins the attack on the new “enemy” it becomes accepted as part of “the tribe”.

    It’s also a historical fact that Federation came about largely due to the unpopularity of the Chinese and massed demonstrations at the ports against incoming settlers and the introduction of citizenship was the only way to keep them out.

    It’s “in our DNA” but basically the same inherent tribalism that controls our society – from your local sports team to the type of car you drive we all need to belong to some sort of group.

  35. Kate M

    Great comment Kaye. And I love the quote from Nova Perris.

    “If we set the history right in this founding document, you don’t lose 200 years. You gain 40,000 years of history.”

    That’s exactly how I feel. We are cutting off our noses to spite our faces. We gain so much from this.

  36. Kaye Lee

    Wally,

    I have always believed our mistakes come from our belief and continuing practice of telling Indigenous people what would be good for them rather than asking how we can help. Abbott’s focus is on punishing them into co-operation with what he and Twiggy think would be best. Whilst I agree that education and employment are very important, I don’t think more truancy officers and gaols and imposed welfare management and intervention schemes carried out by white bureaucrats is the answer. We show no respect for culture, no appreciation of the wealth of history and knowledge, no belief in the right of self-determination, little recognition of traditional ownership, and a lack of responsibility for the damage we have done to community. (we brought the drugs and alcohol and tobacco and disease – we took away their self-esteem – we isolated and marginalised them)

    When Abbott and Hockey stripped over $500 million in Indigenous funding in the budget from hell, they took $165.8 million from Indigenous health to put into their Medical Research Future Fund. They defunded the National Congress ($15 million) and the Indigenous language program ($9.5 million). While cutting $15 million from Indigenous legal aid, they provided $2.2 million legal aid for farmers and miners to fight native title claims, $54 million for police stations to be built in seven remote Indigenous communities, $18.1 million for truancy officers, and $26 million for Indigenous teenage sexual health programs.

  37. Michael Taylor

    “You don’t lose 200 years. You gain 40,000 years of history”.

    What a wonderful statement from Nova Peris.

    But Nova needs to learn a bit about our history herself. She belongs to the 99% of our population that thinks Aborogines have been in this country for 40,000 years.

    For decades the oldest carbon dating of archeological remains came in at 40,000 years. It was later discovered that there was a fault in the dating methods used. Carbon dating (C14) couldn’t go beyond 40,000 years. Better methods are now being used, and the oldest archaeological remains ever found were from a rock shelter in Queensland which have been dated at 63,000 years.

    Older sites will eventually be found, I’m sure, closer to coastal areas. And given that since occupation 17% of the continent is now submerged because of the melting of the ice after the last glacial maximum, older sites are now buried beneath in the ocean.

    So I think it’s safe to say 65,00 years, without proof of course.

    Sorry to be off topic.

  38. Pingback: Aussie Racism – it’s time to “Stop. Think. Respect.” | Progressive Conversation

  39. eli nes

    The heading is spot on!!! Aussie racism has gone from the 1788 cartoon of an Aborigine spearing a white being hanged and a white shooting an Aborigine being hanged to 1838 myall creek massacre when 7 murderers were hanged through countless unpunished and often lauded murders of Aboriginal men, women and children to temper and harden the Australian unique racist steel with the last massacre in living memory.
    The Aussie style is constantly reinforced by media and actively taught to immigrants.
    The majority of Australians are immigrants or with immigrant parents who are taught Aborigines are cunning thieves, untrustworthy, on the dole or on walkabout..
    This belief is rife in Australians who have never met an Aborigine but stare when ever the see anyone of Aboriginal appearance.
    Until we unteach racism in teachers and the media, the Aborigine will be always subjected to the racisn seen in the AFL the boos were.by people who consider themselves not racist. qed

  40. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    They have also done DNA studies.

    “ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIANS ARE descendents of the first people to leave Africa up to 75,000 years ago, a genetic study has found, confirming they may have the oldest continuous culture on the planet.

    Professor Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, who led the study, says Aboriginal Australians were the first modern humans to traverse unknown territory in Asia and Australia. “It was a truly amazing journey that must have demanded exceptional survival skills and bravery,” he says.

    Studying DNA, the researchers found that the ancestors of Australian Aboriginals had split from the first modern human populations to leave Africa, 64,000 to 75,000 years ago. Dr Joe Dortch, a scientist at UWA, says the discovery turns on its head the existing theory that Aboriginals arrived here less than 50,000 years ago.

    “This new DNA study powerfully confirms that Aboriginal Australians are one of the oldest living populations in the world, certainly the oldest outside of Africa,” agrees evolutionary biologist Professor Darren Curnoe of UNSW. “Australians are truly one of the world’s great human populations and a very ancient one at that, with deep connections to the Australian continent and broader Asian region. About this now there can be no dispute.”

    http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/news/2011/09/dna-confirms-aboriginal-culture-one-of-earths-oldest/

  41. Kaye Lee

    Could I add that sexism is also alive and well. For two of our most ‘powerful’ women, Julie Bishop and Michaelia Cash, to publically state that they are not feminists and “women should stop casting themselves as victims” shows an appallingly privileged ignorance of the discrimination and abuse many women face.

  42. jimhaz

    Well if it is racist it is now the least racist it’s been in my lifetime. Considering just how much immigration we have had in the last 15 years, by rights we should have double or triple the level of racism, so I can say Well done Aussies, a gold star for you.

    As a reward for your meekness, I’ll give you the most expensive housing in the world, preventable boganism, unemployment, increased religious stupidity, lower wages, poor public transport, dud suburbs and environmental degradation – but at least one can have a range of different cuisines.

  43. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, I see that article is dated 2011. Those DNA studies were first known in the early 90s, but it’s good to see that people are catching up.

    As an aside, every ‘race’ on the planet has African DNA.

    Even Tony Abbott would have African DNA. (I think) most humans also have Neanderthal DNA. Tony’s would be around 5%.

  44. jimhaz

    [Until we unteach racism in teachers and the media]

    Nope, it will be until they become enough like the mainstream to be seen as like us, together with being non-aggressive as a group.

    Racism here is more of a Catch 22 scenario – we love the singers and sports people because they give to the whole, whereas mostly one hears of aboriginals wishing to take as they are on welfare.

  45. Kaye Lee

    Our expensive housing is due to rich investors and government policies that encourage property investment. Our unemployment and those other issues are also due to inadequate government policy. Religion has been doing its damage for thousands of years.

    The immigration started almost 230 years ago. Why does immigration necessarily cause racism? If it is because it puts a strain on our resources, do you also hate people who have large families? Our society has been enriched by immigration – sadly our racist attitudes have not. That is greed pure and simple. We used to resent Greeks who worked so hard in family businesses. We resent Asian students who work so hard to achieve outstanding results. Australians don’t like being shown up for our laziness.

    “until they become enough like the mainstream to be seen as like us”

    What an appalling statement. I most definitely am not part of that “us”. Diversity is an advantage that allows for new ideas, growth, and appreciation.

  46. jimhaz

    [Why does immigration necessarily cause racism?]

    It doesn’t when immigration is moderate (not Oz) and when the immigrant groups are varied (Oz).

    The deepest racism lies in the minds of the bogans – it is a result of these people wanting to attach blame for their circumstances. The blaming is correct (immigrants take over the poorer areas they live in and take the jobs they would have had), but it should be targeted at the policy makers who plan for excessive immigration to benefit the few.

    [Diversity is an advantage that allows for new ideas, growth, and appreciation]

    Only when the mainstream is powerful enough to force the diversity into working for it.

  47. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    The DNA study was published in 2011.

    “We present an Aboriginal Australian genomic sequence obtained from a 100-year-old lock of hair donated by an Aboriginal man from southern Western Australia in the early 20th century. We detect no evidence of European admixture and estimate contamination levels to be below 0.5%. We show that Aboriginal Australians are descendants of an early human dispersal into eastern Asia, possibly 62,000 to 75,000 years ago. This dispersal is separate from the one that gave rise to modern Asians 25,000 to 38,000 years ago. We also find evidence of gene flow between populations of the two dispersal waves prior to the divergence of Native Americans from modern Asian ancestors. Our findings support the hypothesis that present-day Aboriginal Australians descend from the earliest humans to occupy Australia, likely representing one of the oldest continuous populations outside Africa.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6052/94.abstract

  48. Kaye Lee

    “immigrants take over the poorer areas”

    Our Prime Minister and much of his Cabinet are immigrants. Frank Lowy is an immigrant. Many of our most esteemed surgeons and scientists are immigrants. Many of our most famous artists and authors are immigrants. Many of our best sports people are immigrants.

    I really think you need to examine your sweeping generalisations. Poverty and unemployment are NOT the fault of immigrants and wanting them to be like “us” whatever THAT means shows your fear of difference rather than any economic concern.

    “Only when the mainstream is powerful enough to force the diversity into working for it.”

    Now THAT is truly scary. You sound like the Borg.

  49. jimhaz

    [What an appalling statement. I most definitely am not part of that “us”]

    It is why the majority of people like Walid Ali – he is like us, whereas Goodes was, but then was not when he became more aggressive in his portrayal of his aboriginality. The same goes for Christine Anu or Cathy Freeman or Geoffrey Yunupingu or Nova Peris etc – they all do things we like, so we like and respect them.

  50. Michael Taylor

    Interesting that you should mention that, Kaye. I did Aboriginal Archaeolgy as a unit of my first degree, and the theory we were taught was that modern Aborogines are the descendants of two ‘races’ of earlier Australians.

    There were the gracile types, such as found at Lake Mungo, and the robust types found at Kew near present day Melbourne. They, in appearance, would have looked like the popular ‘cave man’ depiction. I’m not surprised they were found near Melbourne. They haven’t evolved yet.

  51. Michael Taylor

    To put it into context, gracile, by the way, would be a good description for Asian people.

  52. Michael Taylor

    I come from a family of immigrants too.

  53. Kaye Lee

    “Aggressive in his portrayal of his aboriginality”

    He objected to a racial slur. He did a celebratory traditional dance to honour some 16 year old Aboriginal boys who had taught it to him. And you want to call that aggression.

    What would you call it if someone came and took your children from you? What would you call it if a group of immigrants rounded up everyone you knew and shot them? What would you call it if someone came and forcibly removed you from your home where you and your family have lived for thousands of years? What would you call it if they incarcerated your child for stealing a packet of biscuits or forcibly sent your child off to boarding school where they are desperately unhappy (as they are doing now)?

    If we are going to decide how we all must behave based on who has been here longest then perhaps you better start learning how to do Goodes’ dance.

  54. Michael Taylor

    If immigrants take over the poorer areas, I wouldn’t say it’d be by choice. A large number of them are provided with public housing. It’s some bureaucrat who decides where to place them.

    For example, some bright spark in Sydney decided that it’d be a good idea to locate a lot of Somalian refugees in Lavington (a suburb of Albury). They didn’t just hop off the boat or plane with the ambition of moving there themselves.

  55. Harquebus

    That was an interesting fact Michael.
    “modern Aborogines are the descendants of two ‘races’ of earlier Australians.”
    Is it still considered to be so and could you provide a reference for me. Just to save me some time. Thanks.

    “Cooperation always prevails, not only when one group of humans encounter a different group of humans, but also when humans encounter a non-human species. Not only are humans unselfish and generous, but they are infinitely clever, which has allowed them to dominate all life on Earth.”
    “Scientists are certain that our modern human ancestors interbred with Neanderthals, suggesting that the species didn’t go extinct so much as blend in.”
    http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2015/06/love-at-first-sight.html

  56. Kaye Lee

    You like and respect Cathy Freeman and Nova Peris? Perhaps you would like to hear their words….

    “[Freeman] recalls the first time she became aware her race was an issue was in primary school Mackay Far North Queensland.

    The young runner kept winning races, but never received a trophy, instead watching non-Indigenous girls who came after her receive the glory.

    “I think at the time I didn’t really know what was going on,” she says. “Goodness gracious I didn’t really need to get a gold medal or a trophy because to me, all that mattered was that I crossed the line first.”

    “What did upset me at time was my parent’s reaction; they were more upset than me.”

    Her then training partner and now Northern Territory Senator Nova Peris recalls both her and Cathy receiving hate mail.

    “The position that both Cathy and I were in as Australia’s two elite indigenous athletes – we certainly had our moment where we received mail and that wasn’t nice it wasn’t pleasant,” she says.

    “You know at the end of the day both Cathy and myself, we ran for all Australians and to receive racist hate mail was something that was absolutely disgusting.”

    Now, more than 10 years after she hung up that famous suit, the 41-year-old is moving on to a new stage in her life that includes motherhood and building her very own foundation.

    The Cathy Freeman Foundation supports more than 600 kids each year in Palm Island and the Wurrumiyanga community on Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory, striving to close the gap in Indigenous education.”

  57. Michael Taylor

    I can’t provide the proof, Harquebus, as they were taken from my lecture notes. However, if you contacted a Professor Keith McConnochie at UniSA he should be able to confirm it.

  58. Kaye Lee

    You like Waleed Aly? Perhaps you would like to read his article titled “Curse of Australia’s silent pervasive racism”. It begins…..

    “As opening lines in letters go, ”I find you deeply offensive” is pretty direct. Fair enough. I suspect lots of people do. It’s a natural consequence of media work. But then my anonymous correspondent decided to explain why: ”You are foreign, you shall always be so. Piss off back to whatever Middle Eastern sink hole you blew in here from.”

    There’s nothing surprising about this. There’s nothing even particularly rare about it. Some version of that letter arrives every few months or so. This one was particularly unvarnished – complete with references to my wife and ”half caste kids” and cheerful threats of the inevitable return of the White Australia policy – but the message hardly varies: this isn’t my country and my public presence is unwelcome, either because I’m a Muslim, or because in some racially determinable way not a ”real” Australian.”

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/curse-of-australias-silent-pervasive-racism-20130404-2h9i1.html#ixzz3j2Ilf8wl

  59. Kaye Lee

    Indigenous singer-songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, on tour in Melbourne with Missy Higgins, was refused a taxi in St Kilda after performing at the Palais Theatre.

    Gurrumul’s manager Mark Grose says he cannot see any other reason than racism for the fare being refused.

    Mark Grose says he went out and hailed a taxi following a ‘fantastic show’ by Gurrumul at the theatre.

    He got the taxi to pull up by the stage and went in to get Gurrumul and his girlfriend Bronwyn.

    “The taxi driver looked at him, said no, locked the car and drove off,” says Mark Grose. “He refused to take the fare.”

    Much as you may think jimhaz, these people who you see as just like us, doing things we like, are treated very differently to “us”. And that’s the point.

  60. jimhaz

    [likely representing one of the oldest continuous populations outside Africa]

    Like all things human everything consists of both positives and negatives.

    The above is not necessarily a good thing for present day aboriginals. Mixing (both in terms of fighting and cooperation) with other groups over many centuries was one thing that has made the Europeans so technologically powerful.

    [I come from a family of immigrants as well]

    We all do, even “indigineous” Australians if you go back far enough.

    When a cultural takeover occurs, it just becomes a question of where one arbitrarily decides to draw the line. 50 years is about enough for me…..lol…this allows me to support the Israels over the Palestinians.

  61. Kaye Lee

    Thankfully civilised people realise the value of cultural preservation and cultural heritage and cultural awareness and tolerance of differnce. Sadly, bigots prefer cultural takeover.

  62. jimhaz

    [Thankfully civilised people realise the value of cultural preservation and cultural heritage and cultural awareness and tolerance of difference].

    I presume this does not apply where the culture is non-aboriginal Australian culture. Are not the people like me who complain constantly about the level of immigration also trying to preserve their own culture/life experiences.

    Tolerance of difference should not apply when the difference is one of inferiority, when it is negative to us – like many of the Muslim cultural viewpoints. Don’t go pretending that all aspects of all other cultures are good and suitable for the modern Australia. Many cultural differences we regard as negative exist purely because of the limitations of poverty or the political system in the home countries means they are less educated and less sophisticated. I’ve no intention of being “attitudinally tolerant” of cultural traits I and the bulk of Australians find irritating (I may just be behaviourally tolerant in not reacting). Civilisation comes about by the intolerance of irrationality.

    Why should I be tolerant of something like this from today’s news for instance.

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/behind-the-scenes-at-auburn-deputy-mayor-salim-mehajers-wedding-20150817-gj0iow.html

  63. diannaart

    Like the majority of Australia’s human inhabitants I am descended from immigrants seeking a better way of life – Irish 1800’s. AKA economic immigrants – just like our Prime Minister over 2 hundred years later.

    I agree with many others’ comments here the current Federal government has, wittingly or unwittingly, permitted a zeitgeist where in-the-closet-racists now feel safe to march and protest for their rights to bigotry. Ironically – LGBTI people still have to tread carefully in our open nation, but bigots are welcome:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-24/brandis-defends-right-to-be-a-bigot/5341552

    I am also fed up to the gill’s with the phrase “political correctness” whatever happened to “treating people with respect”?

    While on this line of thinking; WTF is “incentivize” supposed to mean? Cannot people be motivated, encouraged, enthused or inspired any more? My opinion is not off-topic because speech is how we call people to arms, to freedom or to abuse others. Anyone who has read Orwell or Huxley understands the power of words.

    My mother (RIP) would tell me “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” – this is nonsense and I know many people far more successful than I’ll ever be who would agree, right Adam? Stan? Nova?

    Now that I have got that out of my system:

    The design for a New Australian flag – I sooooooooooo like this design, says everything that needs to be said, thank you Kate for another most excellent and informative article.

  64. jimhaz

    [My mother (RIP) would tell me “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” – this is nonsense]

    It would be a great achievement if enough people could do it as it would negate the bulk of bullying attempts (any bullying would then be physical and treated as assault and dealt with).

    I think it is a worthwhile saying. Not emotionally reacting to unjust harsh words is a skill and a sign of maturity. Easier said than done though, especially when one is young, where bullying can cause suicide.

    As for the flag – it is actually just as racist as the existing one.

  65. Kaye Lee

    “Are not the people like me who complain constantly about the level of immigration also trying to preserve their own culture/life experiences.”

    Can you tell me how your culture is under attack in any way? How has your life changed? You want to impose your culture on others but no-one is doing that to you.

    “I’ve no intention of being “attitudinally tolerant” of cultural traits I and the bulk of Australians find irritating”

    I find drunken yobbos booing at football matches extremely irritating. I find calendars of naked women in workplaces very irritating.

    If you are talking about practices like child brides and FGM you will find that they are illegal in this country.

    And as for your link….what is its relevance to this discussion? Some rich guy had an extravagant party????

  66. diannaart

    @jimhaz

    Completely disagree that simply not reacting to abuse stops bullying – WHY? Many people have the maturity to try not reacting to abuse; does not work often enough to eradicate bullying.

    Now, I am very interested in your reasons for your opinion: As for the flag – it is actually just as racist as the existing one.

    Just making an unsupported statement does not mean anything at all.

  67. Anon E Mouse

    Harquebus, the date on that pdf is rather old, and the website you posted a link to has a lot of make-believe stuff or debunked stuff on it. It is not reputable in any academic way. An example of the make-believe or myths, is the claim that there were no towns or villages in Australia prior to colonisation. Based on early journals by colonisers/explorers there were most certainly houses, villages, farming, trading etc across the continent of Australia.

    From my studies, the gacile/robust notion has been debunked. What is clear is that there is a lot of unknowns about Australia and even more myths.

  68. Harquebus

    Anon E Mouse
    Thanks for that. It is appreciated. This is not my area of expertise.

  69. jimhaz

    [Now, I am very interested in your reasons for your opinion: As for the flag – it is actually just as racist as the existing one]

    It focuses on one group of people who are very much a minority. Aboriginals alive now are not *representative* of the modern Australia, they are 1 segment of it only. A county’s flag should never put one group of people over another.

    As it has been 230 years since the invasion, that they were here for thousands of years before others is not something that gives them more significance or importance than any other person born here. They have no more entitlement to Australia than Irish descendants here are entitled to Ireland. The only thing that gives them more importance (as a priority for funding) is the differential in the level of suffering – alcoholism, medical problems, early death.

  70. Michael Taylor

    Anon E Mouse, how can it be debunked? There were clearly gracile types and there were robust types. It doesn’t mean to say of course that the modern Aborigine is descended from them, as like I said, it is only a theory. But you can’t possibly debunk their excistance.

  71. Kaye Lee

    Persons born in the UK represented 5.3% of Australia’s total population at 30 June 2013 and yet we have their flag as part of ours.

    Aborigines are the original owners of this land. They have a damn sight more claim to be represented on our flag than the poms! That furphy about the Irish makes no sense. This wasn’t their homeland. They invaded it and stole it from the traditional owners. Acknowledging the traditional owners on the flag is appropriate.

  72. Anon E Mouse

    From the more recent academic literature I have read, and the scientific reasoning behind the papers, apparently the most current theory is that the difference is nothing more or less than normal variation. It is just like some people are tall and some short – some have fine features and others more robust features.

    I am not going to dig out the research papers but I am sure if you search you would find up to date thinking on the matter with the scientific data behind it.

    I must admit I was surprised when I read the first debunking paper, but the subsequent ones I read clarified the issue.

    Other oddities that stand to debunk commonly held ideas are the 40,000 year old Aboriginal artifacts uncovered in Tasmania, exactly where the local Aboriginal people said was a sacred site – a place of their ancestors.

    Archaeology is a side interest of mine, that feeds into my area of focus, but older theories are constantly being challenged, rethought, and sometimes debunked.

  73. Michael Taylor

    Thanks Anon. That makes sense.

  74. jimhaz

    [Can you tell me how your culture is under attack in any way? How has your life changed? You want to impose your culture on others but no-one is doing that to you]

    Yes it is changing, but it is very gradual and subtle and indeed all circumstantial or ancedotal. Some of it is mixed in with the effects of globalisation or Americanisation making it difficult to determine the true cause.

    It’s a slow cooking cultural change mostly felt in the work environment where I do not find the immigrant managers (from poorer countries) I have to be any good at all, they are actually fairly stupid, overly self-protective and too bureaucratic (only 1 good one out of 4) and they achieve very little.

    With immigrant colleagues a lot of the jovial or joking fun at work seems to have disappeared, and I find communication with new migrants from poorer countries less stimulating – overall they are just not as free and open as would be the case were they 3rd generation or more.

    Then there are the Obeid, Tripodi, Sinodinos, Dastyari, Mirabella types who over-represent as a percentage the darker side of politics.

    The more people we get from poorer countries the more dog-eat-dog we become. Politically in both work and politics immigrants allow this more so than long term Australians. I believe immigrant workers are allowing autocratic managers to be autocratic.

    Some of it is opportunity cost related – as in what we could have done and have been were it not for excessive immigration.

    I find excessive immigration to be a bit like C02 in the atmosphere. If moderate the Co2 will be depleted from the atmosphere over time, and is not a problem as the earths environment copes with it in the standard way, but if not the Co2 continues to accumulate and causes problems.

    [And as for your link….what is its relevance to this discussion? Some rich guy had an extravagant party]

    He is an Auburn deputy mayor who looks up to criminals like John Ibrahim, displays a pistol as part of a wedding somethingorother and thinks it is all fine. This is arrogant cultural display by a muslim male – he is not some Hollywood star. It is not something that should be tolerated just because he is not a whitie.

    [Acknowledging the traditional owners on the flag is appropriate]

    Nope, and doing so would do no-one any good. Anti-aboriginal feeling would increase.

  75. Roswell

    This is racism at its worst. A dickhead who goes by the name of Jeffrey Hepenstall (a real Aussie name, that one) posted this on Senator Nova Peris’ Facebook page:

    I am racist and I’m proud of it. I am sick and tired of hearing about the stolen generation. White women had their babies taken from them in the name of keeping everything in society just right and above board. You are just another bleeding heart coon. You people are a Stone Age race that should have died out, but the British didn’t have the backbone to do it. You pricks are lucky that the Dutch or the Spanish didn’t get here first as they would have done a better job of it.

    I feel sick.

  76. diannaart

    @Roswell

    I feel sick too. Unfortunately, I am sure Nova and many more of her people receive this sort of disgusting abuse all the time.

    People will say anything won’t they?

    Take Jimhaz (please) s/he claims that because a design for a new Australian flag acknowledges the original inhabitants, the flag is racist. WTF? Well, at least I received a reply, even if it is lacking in any thought.

    I thought the combination of Southern Cross and dot-style sun rather inclusive – maybe a dot-style motif is a little stereotyping, but any flag would need approval of both First People and subsequent immigrants (the non-indigenous people) before replacing what is undoubtedly a imperialistic flag – excluding many people living in Australia. Removing the Union Jack has to be a given, the rest is up to the creativity of our artists.

  77. jimhaz

    [the flag is racist. WTF?]

    It would be. it would make one group of people have more intrinsic importance than another. Modern aboriginals do not have any more right to Australia than other born here or made citizens. It is only your desire for affirmative action that makes you want to help them via this method.

    “First People” – lets put an African image on it then.

    Doesn’t matter in any case as the design would never get up.

  78. Matters Not

    jimhaz, your thoughts and expressions of same are ‘interesting’.

  79. mars08

    Modern aboriginals do not have any more right to Australia than other born here or made citizens…

    Fascinating.

    So what about an Islamic crescent moon in the top corner?

    Oh sure, they’re a tiny minority NOW… like the Brits at Sydney Cover in 1788. But that could eventually change. Especially if Australian Muslims start shooting, poisoning and relocating anglo-Australians. In that case the crescent moon would make sense, right?

  80. Mark Needham

    Booooo kyrgios.

    Racist.?
    Mark Needham

  81. Kaye Lee

    “they are actually fairly stupid, overly self-protective and too bureaucratic (only 1 good one out of 4) and they achieve very little.”

    A perfect description of our politicians.

  82. Pingback: Political commentator Andrew Bolt said recently that Australia is fundamentally not a racist country. He’s really really wrong!!! | olddogthoughts

  83. mars08

    Booooo kyrgios.

    Racist.?

    Probably not. Just disingenuous and facile.

  84. Pingback: The Con in constitutional reform - Aussies 4 First Nations People

  85. Pingback: The con in constitutional reform in Australia | vanessakairies

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