Tony Abbott was right: we really should move on

I am far from a fan of Mister Abbott. See most recently Populist crud Abbott’s unworkable asylum seeker policy. But in this case I think only the deepest died haters can deny that he’s been given a bum rap. Former NSW Labor premier Bob Carr agrees.

I agree with Tony Abbott and think his remarks entirely sensible. The tent embassy in Canberra says nothing to anyone and should have been quietly packed up years ago. The “activists” who run it would be better off investing time in youth programs in indigenous communities. Every government in Australia is aware of its responsibilities to Aboriginal Australians. The debate is how you narrow the gap not whether you should and the debate is as serious within the Aboriginal community as between it and the white.

The spawn of the radical chic of the 70s that fawned on people like Colonel Gaddafi and in its senescence still sees Robert Mugabe as an unambiguously good thing has fairly clearly done little but make at least some people a hell of a lot angrier and/or full of their own superior virtue. It’s all about politics and very little about really advancing the lives and conditions of Indigenous Australians.

So what did Tony Abbott say? I will let Legal Eagle explain:

The whole thing started when, earlier on Australia Day, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was asked about the significance of the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy outside Parliament House. Abbott said:

“I think the indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held by every Australian. I think a lot has changed since then, and I think it probably is time to move on from that.

Although some have seen Abbott’s comments as deliberately inflammatory, personally, I do not think he would have intended them to start a riot.

There isn’t a word there in that quote from Abbott that I find objectionable.  And it is not as if I haven’t been mulling these issues personally and generally for close on thirty years.

Jim Belshaw is admirably forensic on the incident, and gloomy about its impact – way beyond what the incident actually deserves. I fear I agree with Jim on this, even though I am far less drawn to defending and justifying my non-Indigenous ancestors than Jim is.

All the flack is making this necessary change less likely in the short term:

And speaking of moving on, and how we have moved on…

Let’s look at The Politics of Suffering, an interview: Peter Sutton with Marcia Langton. This is a MUST see!

And then, as a balance, one of thousands of stories one could quote — Rob Baiton: The Colly Crew on ABC TV’s 7.30 Program…  This also concerns a 2012 Australia Day event.

The Colly Crew are moving onwards and upwards. The things that we do are being recognised as making a difference. They are being recognised as allowing for change. They are being recognised for creating opportunities. And, they are being recognised for opening doors.

The Colly Crew grew out of a program called "Step-By-Step". It is a hip hop based program designed to engage kids with school and their education. It is worth noting that Collarenebri is a small, very rural and remote community. The school is a central school and there is a significant local Indigenous community with a very rich history. Consequently, the program is often referred to as being an Indigenous hip hop program. For me, perhaps a community hip hop program is a more accurate reflection of what we are actually doing.

About the program. There are elements of literacy and numeracy, but it is more than just about literacy and numeracy it is about understanding how the choices we make impact upon our lives. It is about how we can take control of our lives and make smarter decisions and achieve those things that perhaps others in our families have never had the opportunity to do. Any teachers out there looking for a spoken word, performance poetry, rap unit of work that incorporates what we have done so successfully in this program let me know, we are always happy to share.

I am not sure how to embed just the video. Nevertheless, the link to the 7.30 Program and their report can be found here.

I encourage you to watch it.

Here are The Colly Crew, students from Collarenebri Central School where Rob teaches.

"It’s a new age! React! Don’t look back!" Change the Game! Onya, Colleranebri kids!