By Jane Salmon
Eight generations ago, my dirt-poor Celtic ancestors were colonisers. They logged trees, eroded the land. They brutalised animals. They farmed, fought, bred and built for themselves.
They probably also abused Aboriginal women or stockmen and participated in genocide. The evidence is well hidden but pops up in hints such as Aboriginal families bearing my surname across the rural area where my great-grandfather worked.
This has been minimised by subsequent generations determined to steep their identity in middle-class suburban “niceness”. They claimed to be “self-made” bankers. Land ownership has been an obsession for all of them.
The same Aborigines who were told by my forebears that they didn’t polish the silver properly could not have any level of dominion over their own lives. They were only given the vote in 1967.
“Money spent on them was wasted,” said the same patriarchs who stole their wages.
Perhaps white women should identify with Aborigines more. Yet Aborigines have always been welcoming to refugees, hospitable to me. The Aboriginal passports sent to refugees on Manus are a case in point.
So why should new migrants care? Because erasure and homogenisation keeps happening. You may have come here to escape discrimination, but you also want to protect your own precious cultural heritage.
And where was the equality Jacinta Price speaks of, that day in 1993 when we saw an Aboriginal woman turned away from a half empty church-run women’s refuge in Eastern Sydney? White hookers who had actually injected drugs in the waiting room of Childrens’ Court (while awaiting custodial hearings) were treated better.
Where is the equality when the nearest petrol station is many hours drive from where you were raised and where a handful of green beans costs $20?
The level playing field does not exist. The LNP are the first to claim every advantage or opportunity for themselves before kicking the ladder away. They socialise their losses while privatising profit. Then they whine about red tape … when not tangling lowlier Australians up in it.
I will be voting Yes proudly. Affirmative action of any kind is not handicapping the rest of us. It is redress.
And no matter how hard or tedious the dialogue is, it is honorable and necessary.
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!
Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.
You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969