... Last week Gooda was appointed by the Rudd government to take over the highest paid role in the indigenous bureaucracy, that of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. The Queensland-born Gooda's appointment to the $240,000 a year commissioner's role came after Sydney academic Larissa Behrendt, a Harvard-educated barrister, withdrew her application for the position.
Behrendt, an outspoken opponent of the federal intervention who sits firmly within the rights lobby, was eminently qualified for the position but was reportedly considered politically unsuitable.
Given Gooda's views on human rights presented so passionately in September 2005 at that Alice Springs symposium, the Rudd government might have been hoping it had in its new appointee an advocate who would echo its own indigenous policy mantra
Michael Anderson Media Statement
Goodooga, northwest NSW, 28 December 2009
Having read The Australian article about the newly appointed Aboriginal Human Rights Commissioner, Mick Gooda, I am concerned that this Commissioner will be just like the others, maintaining the status quo.
Why is it that we can never get anybody who has the (backbone) to take it to the governments, state or federal, about their continued violations of the basic human rights of a group of people they say are Australians?
The federal and state governments are up to their necks in human rights violations and it seems nobody wants to know about it.
How can Gooda say he supports the Noel Pearson proposals for home ownership when Minister Macklin is demanding government take over ownership through 40-90 year leases of Aboriginal-owned land before they are prepared to build houses to address the housing shortage in Aboriginal communities throughout Australia?
This is not the pathway to home ownership, this is government-sponsored socialism. No other Australian is coerced into accepting a socialist structure in terms of service delivery and we Murris, Goories, Yamatjis, etc. have no need to accept it either.
Then there is the question of education. Gooda says that education is the way. Yes, this is the case and we all agree, except that we have a point of departure on this issue.
Gooda says that education is the way. We all agree but we have a point of departure on this issue. That point of departure is that Australia was not found by Captain Cook and was not explored solely by Oxley, Wentworth etc; there were people nations living out there and these explorers were in fact invaders. It is imperative that the education modules be re-assessed to put the records right. Our children do not relate to the educational system. Let's face it, our kids feel different and see themselves as different so let us begin at this point and have them understand who they are and not continue with the pathway to forced assimilation.
Moreover, there are all those matters that cause dysfunctionalism in our families and communities that must also be addressed. We cannot isolate one matter without dealing with the other at the same time.
We need a Human Rights Commissioner who understands the international laws that relate to human rights, especially those about genocide, denial of religious rights and freedoms, economic and social rights, and the rights to a life of one's own choice.
Mick Gooda should attend the New Way summit of Elders on 30 January and 1 February to listen to the people for whom he is supposed to be responsible through his office. To listen to Noel Pearson and Marcia Langton is to go through life blinkered. He needs to open up his mind a little and listen to the people who are hurting and suffering under the laws that have been in place in part because of the advice of Marcia Langton, Noel Pearson and Sue Gordon.
I would say that I am not alone in hoping that Dooda is able to distance himself from these people and come back to earth and listen to the calls of his people. It appears from what was said in "The Australian" article he finds blame in the representative and not the administration. It is easy to kick when people are down.
But from a community point of view of the former ATSIC they failed to provide the essentials for our communities and continued the age-old tradition of funding organizations who lacked the appropriate administrative skills at the community level and then blaming them for not being able to live up to their part, instead of trying to work with them and providing them with the appropriate training in the areas that they lacked.
If Gooda also listened to the communities he would find that his role in ATSIC was not one of oversighting any of these failings. Therefore, I guess, we would have the right to question his abilities to oversight the human rights of Aboriginal people instead of agreeing that the government has the right to act as parents of Aboriginal children.
Maybe he needs to just acquaint himself with the genocide convention that speaks of removing children from their own group to be assimilated into another group, in particular into the mainstream white Australian community.
I do not envy Gooda's position but Gooda can make an enormous difference if he listens and removes himself from being a government good guy. We need human rights commissioners who can understand the need to uphold human rights as they are meant to be.