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Know your place

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.



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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  1. Phil Pryor

    Peter Duckwit-Futton is garbage in a skin instead of a bin. He represents a primitive touch of excremental Queensland culture (unfortunately) probably shaped by old white British imperialist supremacist attitudes in the former colony that held enslaved captives. For contrast, talk to South Australians who usually remain open, cultured, civilised, as residents of a place where no formal evil of convictism or any variant of slavery existed institutionally. Many residents of any part of this nation are fine ,or substandard, as you perceive, and no tar and no brush is needed or is desirable. But, Queensland suspects the twentieth century, through which is yet to pass, and collectively does not see a world or its people kindly, unless to be condemned quickly about anything peevy or sus. A former police officer of low attainments, low levels of qualifications, thin resume of achievement, experience, actual skills, P D-F is not suitable for high positions. Intrusive statements follow fumbling mumbling bumbling awkwardness, His skull’s interior is even worse…

  2. wam

    The pommie vestigial remnant, ‘know your place’ is the rule of conservatives that places are fixed.
    Dutton is no different from the norm in the police and armed services. Racism, sexism and homophobia used to be worn like medals. With the recent importance of women recruits, the latter medals are more often worn behind the lapel but the trilogy is still strong. (Kumanji Walker)
    The police in my family are lovely but they are no different to the norm

  3. Ross

    Spud isn’t saying yes or no but we all know where he stands on matters first nation. As John Lord reminds us, he doesn’t want to know and runs out the door.
    If the Murdoch muckrakers, the gnats, constable spud and his spudlite Liberal party are against it then it must be, by definition, extremely good so I’m all for it, show me where to tick the “yes please” box.

  4. pierre wilkinson

    There are factions already actively sabotaging the Voice because “it doesn’t recognise sovereignty” or “it doesn’t do enough” or “we want a Treaty first”
    but these groups fail to see that in having a Voice all these things can be addressed,
    whereas if the referendum fails, so too will all further action until a far distant time…
    as Albanese said “if not now, when? If not us, who?”

  5. leefe

    I hope Albo gave due credit for that line.

    RIP Primo Levi. You are still sorely missed.

  6. Terence Mills

    Let’s not forget that it was Spud Dutton who said that women detained on Nauru “have been trying it on” in claiming they were raped and needed an abortion as part of a ploy to get to Australia for medical treatment not available on Nauru ; he also claimed that some doctors doing medical assessments on Nauru for detainees seeking medical evacuation had “advocacy backgrounds” – I think he meant that these doctors were suspected of having humane traits.

    It’s interesting to note that all of Dutton’s outrageous statements have usually be delivered on SKY or 2GB and he has never been questioned or taken to task over them.

  7. Harry Lime

    Skull Dutton represents quite nicely why the LNP has tanked with the punters.A cursory glance at the robodebt Royal Commission this week, attests to the incompetent,dishonest and heartless hypocrites they are.Tudge the blameless,Porter the blameworthy and the various public servants who went along for the ride.No need to mention Morrison,who is in an untouchable class of arseholes.Will there be any justified retribution for these hateful arsehats? Probably not. If we’re going to be assailed with images of shithead Dutton, can you give us a heads up so we can get a bucket on standby?

  8. Andrew Smith

    ‘Knowing you place’, being ‘quiet Australians’ along with negatives views of indigenous and post 1970s ‘immigrants’ wink wink, are manifestations of ‘eugenics’ of race and social class or the pecking order; had a resurgence in past decades whether from our monocultural media or LNP etc. fearful of the ‘great replacement’, equality and liberal democracy.

  9. B Sullivan

    ‘The folk who are the original landowners?’

    Presumably you are referring to the first humans to arrive in Australia and make the preposterous claim that the land, that had been here long before they ever arrived now belonged to them. But they weren’t the First Nations because they weren’t born here. Nation, natives, nazi, They are all words that refer to birth as in the word natal, and are used to bestow privileges that are justified entirely by birth and nothing else. So the first humans who lived in Australia were not the First Nations people that contemporary aboriginals now claim to be.

    I don’t think they ever did claim land ownership. Nor their offspring who were born in Australia and consequently could be referred to as the First Nations. We know virtually nothing about them because of popular support for modern aborigines’ irrational opposition to archaeological investigation of prehistoric human remains in Australia. We don’t even know if modern aborigines are even descended from the first people to live in Australia. How many times did waves of human migrations arrive in Australia? How many times did they go extinct? We don’t know, and we don’t appear to be allowed to know. We do know that people of a completely different culture to modern ‘traditional’ Aborigines was established throughout the Kimberly region of WA at least forty thousand years ago, before they were displaced by ‘traditional’ aborigines, but this knowledge is not celebrated. Those people, who may have a senior claim to First Nation status, have been deliberately ignored, a whole vibrant culture cancelled from history because it is perceived as a threat to contemporary aboriginal land right claims.

    We also know from the first extensive scientific study of Australia by Banks and Cook that natives even in 1770 did not have the arrogance to claim that they actually owned the land. Land ownership is an artificial modern concept that only came into existence with the development of civilisations and all the ills that followed them. Like it or not, Australia belonged to no one until Cook annexed Australia on behalf of mad King George III, the original landowner of Australia.

  10. Karlo

    B Sullivan – what a load of tripe you offer. You do not support your erroneous claims in any way. You are correct in one thing, the original inhabitants did not have a concept of land ownership; they belonged to the land, the land did not belong to them. They were part of country which belief led to much of their downfall. They could not understand that people would settle in a land to which they did not have any connection. How wrong they were. (See Henry Reynold’s work on this issue). Don’t rely on the crown or Cook to authenticate your drivel.

  11. Michael Taylor

    You are correct, Karlo. The Aborigines never considered they owned the land, but that the land owned them. They were merely the custodians.

  12. Ken Chapman

    Sure it’s a stunt. After all, the opposition are nothing but cunning stunts.

  13. Terence Mills

    This question of ownership and sovereignty is quite vexed and will receive greater scrutiny as we delve further into the forthcoming referendum.

    Last week the government’s constitutional experts advisory group affirmed the referendum would not affect any group’s sovereignty. This was done largely to satisfy Senator Lidia Thorpe who has insisted, with others, that Aboriginal Sovereignty over this land was never ceded and that this should be recognised in the alterations to our constitution.

    The advisory group haven’t gone that far but they have recommended that the following words be added to the constitutional amendment :

    'In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the First Peoples of Australia'

    The question now is whether this form of words will satisfy those who demand that Aboriginal sovereignty be recognised in the wording of the proposed amendment.

    The Oxford English Dictionary definition of sovereignty is :

    Noun : Supreme authority in a state. In any state sovereignty is vested in the institution, person, or body having the ultimate authority to impose law on everyone else in the state and the power to alter any pre-existing law.

    Seems there is a way to go yet.

  14. Clakka

    Yes, Terence Mills, there certainly is a long way to go yet.

    Checked out Prof Gary Foley’s strident commentary on “Umbrella”. Conversed with him several times 30+ years ago as he bicycled and inhabited Glebe Point Rd in my Sydney years. Good bloke, with an uncompromisingly sharp intellect.

    Whether ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, “ will set us back 50 years.” It is not hard to understand where he is coming from, but hard to digest where to from now for him. It would seem that Lydia Thorpe and others are talking from his song book.

    I am unsure, but can only deduce that the ‘sovereignty’ issue in this matter has several prongs:

    That the Constitution holds that Oz is a possession of the Queen (and heirs and successors) under the sovereignty of the United Kingdon. Which the First Nations folk contest given that it was premised on “Terra Nullius”, which has since been adjudged false, and
    In addition to the adjudication “One” (above), that First Nations folk never ceded sovereignty to the Queen and/or UK, therefore they retain sovereignty, and
    That to properly establish Treaty (internationally recognised), it must be between two States (or International organisations), and therefore both “One” and “Two” above must be legally ratified.

    Whoa, therein lies a Pandora’s box that would seem, prima facie, would likely never be cracked. So many ‘cart before horse’ issues.

    Given the above, (as Terence cited) the advisory group’s, “In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the First Peoples of Australia”, may be a can of worms within Pandora’s box.

    I thought perhaps adding something along the lines of ” …. with the objective of establishment of Treaty.” But probably yet another can-o-worms.

    Anyway, I’ll be voting YES.

    Speaking out: Gary Foley lends his voice to the Indigenous community opposing the Voice

  15. Michael Taylor

    What would have it been without the 1967 referendum giving citizenship to Indigenous Australians?

    Would the Indigenous people now be a nation within a nation?

    So many dynamics to consider.

    Gawd, I could do a PhD on that.

  16. Andy56

    Know your place and go back to where you come from. As a child of immigrants, i have had both thrown at me. I still feel the white hot anger. It still stings because at the time i didnt have the knowledge or ability to fight back. Scratch the surface and its still there hiding. Strangely, even other children of migrants have this tatooed on their brains. The brits certainly cant claim monopoly on this, ironically. Your parents got treated like shit yet thats what you want to do to others? Not sayng all aussies but a great big rump of them. Enough for me to reflect on how i feel about a society that voted for liberal scum for the last ten years. Anyway, i sense that i have an issue, i am becoming a grumpy old man. The more i know, the greater the fire i want to set under the system. Lets start with the outright fuckups that we vote into parliament, the libs and nationals, because they prove time and again that they dont have our interests at heart.

  17. Jack sprat

    All politics is local, Dutton seat of Dickson was always marginal until a large influx of white South Africans began to reside there and become very active in the local LNP branch ,with one part of Albany Creek now known by locals as Little Johannesburg. Dutton plays to his base and will always play the race card less his seat becomes marginal again.When Dutton first got elected in his seat of Dickson and it was still very marginal he strived to exchange it with a safe seat on the Gold Coast where he mostly resides but the local branch of the LNP would not stomach him

  18. leefe


    I still recall the first time someone threw “Go back to where you came from” at me.
    The parent of a classmate, at the end-of-year awards, Grade 2. I was seven.
    And no-one said anything to him. Quite a few people sniggered – including my teacher. I was just confused. It took years for me to understand what was meant.
    All because one little child had a non-Anglo name. And the attitude behind that is still present in this country, and remarkably common in certain demographics. Yet they’ll insist they aren’t bigots, aren’t racist …

  19. Terence Mills

    Senator Lidia Thorpe has now quit the Greens to pursue from the back-bench her campaign for Black Sovereignty.

    The Greens are being very adult about this in public but in private they are very pissed off that having secured a record twelve senators in the 2022 election they are now down to eleven. One thing the Greens have prided themselves on has been their party solidarity.

  20. Stephengb

    I was told to “go back to where you came from” on the day I arrived in Sydney 4th August 1978.

    It has been repeated ad neusium.

    But I am a very very English man ?

    So who where these people telling me to go home (oh so politely)

    It was, and remains, those 1st and subsequent generation Brits whose parents emigrated.

    And for the last 42 years it has not stopped, the constant denigration of the British has been relentless, except when the Italians came, the Greeks came, the Vietnamese etc, that is the time when the Brits were given some relief.

    The fact is that the LNP still has over 35% support, does that mean that 35% of Australians are racist, yes I think it does.

    As for me I have not made up my mind to say Yes or No, I have some disquiet not for me but for the Aboriginals, these racist are not going to change their spots, and the voice is already being touted as divisional, and racist in itself.

    As for the word Soverign- I have highlighted this word and what it means before now – to me if we truly wish the aboriginals true sovergnty then we would reserve the possition of GG (Head of State) for an Aboriginal

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