Know your place, you scum. Know your place!
I am furious with their treatment by the opposition and certain members of the fourth estate. To whom do I refer? Our First Nations folk and their treatment. A few years back, we lived in a house where my neighbour to the left and my neighbour to the right believed that Aboriginals took up too much space.
“Know your place” is a phrase used in the past by members of the Liberal Party when they observed, in their view, members of the Labor Party acting above their station.
It means to accept your position within society, an organisation, your family, etc. and not want to improve it:
“Know your place, Tanya.” The last time l recall that phrase so sarcastically being used was when Tanya Plibersek went to shake the hand of Governor General Cosgrove after he had shaken Bill Shorten’s hand at the reopening of Parliament in 2016. Plibersek’s shake was rejected, and a heckler is heard to say, “that says a lot. Know your place, Tanya.”
It continues to trouble me that the proposal for a First Nations voice is coming under such a sustained attack from the far right of the conservative side of politics and its supporters in the media.
The lessons of the last election should have left an indelible scar on those involved in the Luddite politics of the past decade. Have they not understood that the people, in their judgement, said they had had enough of their rancid unempathetic behaviour? Yet they go on unmoved as if nothing transpired while trying to give the Leader with a public image of a racist bigot a personality transplant. Queensland excepted.
But the attacks led by the Opposition leader Peter Dutton could have a fatal effect on the proposal. He knows that history tells us that without the support of the opposition, the referendum won’t pass. That is unless the people vote as they did in the election and decide to confirm their thoughts of May 21 2022, with a resounding yes vote that shatters conservative negativity for decades to come.
On the one hand, Dutton might pull the pin at the last moment and take the kudos for doing so. On the other, he might decide to kill the vote and accept the consequences of an outraged First Nations people.
Julian Leeser, the opposition spokesperson, has favoured a voice for Aboriginal folk for as long as I can remember. He is moderate, articulate and intelligent. He is also a tongue twister.
However, his following argument makes little sense:
“Shadow attorney-general Julian Leeser has crossed over to Peter Dutton’s side and is calling for Anthony Albanese to release more “detail.” He puts this view.
“It’s reasonable if you’re asking people to vote for an institution, that you explain to people how that institution is going to operate,” Leeser said.
Conversely, he adds:
“No one’s suggesting that the total detail of the Voice be outlined in the constitutional provisions.”
The point is, and he already knows, that whatever information and details Albanese gives them and in whatever form will only be backgrounding at best. And non-binding simply because it is the Parliament that decides the formal wording of the legislation, not the public, so the requests by them are nothing more than a political stunt.
And we all know that if the original owners of this great southern land are denied again, they will turn and turn hard after being told again to “know your place.”
A commitment to social justice demands the transformation of social structures and our hearts and minds.
The sewer-dwelling conservatives never explain why they oppose the original custodians having a say in their future. They fight and tell lies, never suggesting alternatives, never embracing a bold move forward.
The draft wording of the constitutional amendment to create a Voice says explicitly that it “may make representations” to Parliament and the government. “Parliament would remain sovereign.” The Voice would be advisory only. If people cannot understand that concept, they are guilty of being dumb and should abstain from voting.
That the masters of scare might win this debate is a reality.
When Australians in 50 years look back on us they’ll be astonished that we supported a national day that was an insult to the original occupants of the continent, did not mention them in our Constitution, had a British flag on our flag and had a head of state who was a foreigner.
— Craig Emerson (@DrCraigEmerson) January 27, 2023
They did it with the failed republican referendum in 2019. Then in 2017 – the marriage equality debate. And third was in 2009 – with the fight over a carbon tax.
All referendums were lost with lies, scare campaigns and misleading information. All is not lost, though.
Much water has flowed under the bridge since the last election. Recent polling tells us that the yes vote is at 30%, the no at 20%, and the undecided at 24%, meaning that the “No” vote has to pick up half of the 24% and win every state.
The much-respected George Megalognis, writing for the SMH, said:
“The conservative argument for the Voice understands the consequences of a No vote for social cohesion. The defeat of the referendum, by whatever margin, would split the country and damage the interests of Old Australians just as surely as it would crush the collective spirit of First Australians.”
And that is a fact. Dutton knows it and would revel in the slime he created. How would a man with his history know any better?
In an article for The Monthly on May 22, 2022, Rachael Withers described the Leader of the Opposition in this manner:
“It almost seems unnecessary to list it all, but Peter Dutton is the sort of politician who has done so many fucked-up things that it’s hard to remember them all (though perhaps that’s the point). He’s the man who walked out on Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations, one of the only MPs to do so. He was the minister caught on a hot mic joking about Pacific nations facing rising seas due to climate change, and who tore down Malcolm Turnbull for daring to do anything about it. He’s the guy – as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reminded us yesterday – who falsely claimed that Victorians were scared to go out due to “African gang violence”, and who incorrectly blamed teenager Laa Chol’s death on such gangs in a bid to score a point. He suggested that white South African visas should be “fast-tracked”, and described deporting a NZ minor as “taking the trash out”. He was slammed for accusing his Labor opponent of using her disability as an “excuse”, and had to apologise to journalist Samantha Maiden for labelling her “a mad fucking witch”, in a text message that he accidentally sent to Maiden herself.”
How do you rebrand a politician of Dutton’s ilk? Well, that’s a story for another day.
My thought for the day
We see what we think and feel but only sometimes what we look at.
Postscript: The folk who are the original landowners of this great nation and those who took it from them need to come together to take a small opportunity that presents itself. Some say you cannot trust politicians; I say you can trust the Albanese government, and you must. There is too much at stake to say no. Only a small window opens. Say yes in good faith, and a meaningful voice awaits. It will listen and act.
Someday a conservative government will inevitably regain power. Be prepared. Don’t allow them to say, “know your place.”
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