Calma needs to keep his white views to himself: Blackman

Calma needs to keep his white views to himself: Blackman

'Uncle Tom' needs to keep his white views to himself and continue to operate in the mainstream where he appears to be accepted with all the honorary personal awards he receives for his oneness with non-Aboriginal Australians.


Gidarjil CEO Kerry Blackman, far right, with sovereignty campaigner, Ghillar Michael Anderson and Gidarjil Chairman,
Uncle Colin Johnson.
Image: Rhonda Hagan

Kerry Blackman First Nations Telegraph 16 July 2014

I reject Tom Calma's ideology, as espoused in his recent article republished in Monday's First Nations Telegraph, that the recognition in the Australian Constitution will create a oneness with non-Aboriginal people.

Calma's view is a nonsense and should not be entertained by the 'Owners' of this ancient land.

True reconciliation and recognition is about truth!

The NAIDOC theme for this year: Serving Country, Centenary and Beyond is a theme aimed at raising awareness of our history, a day to celebrate our achievements in all areas that affect our lives, a day to showcase our many~ achievements in the fields of
social, cultural, environmental and economic, to mention a few, in this beautiful country we call Australia. NAIDOC is about who we are and where we come from!

NAIDOC week is also about sharing a message about our culture and identity and the story of our survival after 226 brutal years of Colonisation.

The clever theme of NAIDOC recognises the bravery of our warriors who not only fought against the colonisers from 1788 but also fought along side their oppressors in the Boer Wars of 1880-1881 and 1899-1902 and every foreign conflict involving Australia since then. So we the traditional custodians today owe it to our brave warriors of the past that we pursue a "Treaty" as Sovereign Nations who have never ceded to the British Crown.

Before British settlement at Sydney Cove on the 26th January, 1788 Australia was owned and occupied for many thousands of years by First Nations Peoples.

Since 1788 all First Nations People, including my mob in and around Bundaberg, have been dispossessed and dispersed from their traditional lands so the coloniser could gain free access to our rich lands for pastoral and township expansion.

Loss of land has had economic, social, cultural and spiritual consequences for our mob spanning many generations. In addition, for more than 150 years many Indigenous people worked for rations rather than wages.

My Grannie Rosie's story is typical of many Traditional Owner stories, of being removed from her traditional lands put on Bogimbah Mission on Fraser Island, separated from her four boys and of dying of worm infestation and starvation. So yes, the Stolen Generation story is one that the majority of our mob share with bitterness as it affected not only immediate families at the time of the theft of our children but also the whole community.

When the balance and continuity of what we all treasure above all else, the family unit, is broken, we as a community become broken. It takes great leadership to keep what is left of a family together after such tragedy is violently inflicted on us.

Whether we agree or don't with what happened in the past continues to have consequences today. We can't tell lies about the atrocities of the past or sugar coat it like many social commentators and politicians do. Compared with other Australians, Indigenous people experience poorer health, limited employment opportunities, educational disadvantage, and greater rates of imprisonment than our mainstream counterparts.

Economic disadvantage restricts life's choices and is a major obstacle to our self-determination.

This has happened because just compensation has never been paid to the original land owners by way of a "Treaty".

Today our mob face prejudice when trying to rent a home, finding a job, flagging a taxi, gaining service in shops and banks, when doing the simple everyday things that most Australians take for granted.

Paul Keating's speech in Redfern Park on the 10th December, 1992 best summed up our predicament:

"It begins, I think, with the act of recognition. Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing.

We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the disasters.

The alcohol, We committed the murders, We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination and exclusion."

Racism is a learnt behaviour which starts in the home of every Australian and then practiced in the school playground.

Experts actually say racism is a sickness, not just an attitude. Sick people need help.

We must understand our history to go forward into the future! Our people are still the most disadvantaged group on every socio-economic barometer in Australia today and every effort must be made to alleviate this disadvantage. The cash, land and assets we have derived from our Native Title compensation benefits give some of us the greatest opportunity to move our next generation out of poverty forever!

But despondently not all Aboriginal people have this opportunity to benefit financially through a positive native title outcome; it depends where the group is geographically located.


Graphic by Sovereign Union

In relation to a "Treaty" it rates a perfect 10 compared to Native Title Consent which is a negative minus 10 along with Recognition in the "White Australian Constitution".

My approach in the context of community development has no hidden or pre-planned agendas, no politicking, rather encouraging the freedom to participate fully, to put into thoughts and words and actions the anguish and urgency needed for the establishment of a just, participatory and sustainable society, that through self-determination, our people can make decisions that affect their lives.

We ned to be able to share in Australia's land, wealth and political life. We need to be given the opportunity to contribute equitably to Australia's economic and social life and in turn have the nation fully recognise that we were here first and to respect our cultural heritage.

The wider Australian community is inclined to blame Aboriginal people for not getting themselves out of their horrible quagmire of palpable disadvantage. But when our people attempt to raise their own standard of living history repeats on them and they suffer from discrimination and racism.

The government has created the welfare monster in Australia for all its citizens, black and white, and now it is up to them to kill it and put some wothwhile and positive programs in place that replaces welfare with diginity and a hope and a purpose to live for the future!

Welfare is a demoralising negative policy for any race of people.

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey stated Australia is based on equality of opportunity. I just hope I live long enough to see it.

I do not want to speak with a broad brush as we have different aspirations to mainstream society. The oppression from that difference reflects negatively on the motivational attitudes of our people, so don't condemn us to the rubbish dump of beyond redemption.

Australia's slogan is a "fair go for all" then why have we got a bigger "Gap" to close than the "Gulf of Carpentaria".

Reconciliation is not about assimilation. It is not about sympathy, but about empathy. It is about a change of attitude where race is no longer a barrier where we truly practice a "fair go for all" and equality is practiced to help "close that gap".


Tom Calma, with former PM Julia Gillard, said constitutional recognition will create oneness with non-Aboriginal people.
Image: reconciliation.org.au

Let's fix the moral debt in this country (True Reconciliation, True Justice) before we fix the financial debt. There is a saying in business if you look after the cents the dollars will take care of themselves! Two key recommendations of the report "Unite All Australians" that I was involved in many years ago state:

5. Each government and parliament:

  • recognise that this land and its waters were settled as colonies without treaty or consent and that to advance reconciliation it would be most desirable if there were agreements or treaties; and · negotiate a process through which this might be achieved that protects the political, legal, cultural and economic position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  1. That the Commonwealth Parliament enact legislation (for which the Council has provided a draft in this report) to put in place a process which will unite all Australians by way of an agreement, or treaty, through which unresolved issues of reconciliation can be resolved.

Australia is supposed to be a signatory to the instrument "International Law" on every other issue except their obligations to the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights.

We need to put the true test to the whole of Australia and see if they're ugly enough and old enough to manup to the challenge and deal with the issue or to live in the past and maintain the lie which they've become accustomed to.

Australia is the only Commonwealth Country in the World who does not have a treaty with the original owners, the First Australians.

Tom Calma's assimilation viewpoint is the most dangerous and damaging philosophy to undermine our special identity and significance as Aboriginal people. Recognition in the Constitution and oneness with Non-Aboriginal people will not help us economically 1 iota.

Kevin Rudd said Sorry 3 times and Aboriginal Affairs have gone backward 3 steps since!

Warren Mundine, Prime Minister's Advisory Council Chair, and his advisory council condoned the slashing of $500 million from the Indigenous Programs. You just have to read the news to see the ramifications on our people on a daily basis around Australia of this shameful support of those damaging cuts by those leaders.

Calma's oneness Recognition in the Constitution will give some blackfellas a warm fuzzy feeling for about five minutes. But it won't empower us economically or give us self-determination. We all need to renew the call to negotiations for 1% of the GNP as part of our inherent rights by way of a "Treaty" as sovereign owners of this ancient land.

"Uncle Tom" needs to keep his white views to himself and continue to operate in the mainstream where he appears to be accepted with all the honorary personal awards he receives for his oneness with non-Aboriginal Australians.