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March 03rd 2016 print

Peter O'Brien

‘Stand Up’ and Whine

Australians will likely have the opportunity to vote on amending the Constitution to 'recognise' Aborigines. How that vote goes may well be influenced by another recognition -- a weariness, perhaps even disgust, at the sort of unalloyed victim-mongering that animates the ABC series 'Redfern Now'

redfern nowDid you catch the re-run of Redfern Now episode ‘Stand Up’ on the ABC Sunday night?  No?  That’s a pity.  You missed the inspiring tale of plucky young Aboriginal lad Joel Shields and his courageous stand against oppression. Let me tell you more.

Joel, who lives with his parents in a modest but comfortable house in Redfern, is granted a scholarship at a prestigious private school.  The family, particularly Joel, are excited about the prospect and, on day one, head off across the Bridge in the family Camry to deposit Joel at the imposing sandstone façade of Clifton Grammar, replete with Aboriginal flag flying proudly centre stage.

But the gloss wears off in very short order when Joel finds he is required to stand and sing the National Anthem at general assembly.  He mumbles along for a few bars and then falls silent, which is noticed by Clifton’s head mistress, a cadaverous, heavily made-up, cigarette smoking harridan whose name escapes me, so let’s call her Cruella.

We next see Joel standing alone in the middle of the assembly hall awaiting the arrival of the sympathetic English master, who assumes he doesn’t know the words.  He asks Joel to learn them as homework. Joel returns home and lets slip to his Dad, Eddie, redfern now largethat he doesn’t want to sing the anthem.  Apparently, ‘it doesn’t feel right’.  Eddie proudly encourages Joel to stand his ground, noting that he, himself, has never sung or even stood for the anthem, ‘even at State of Origin’.

Next day, Joel duly complies and after further admonishment — including some sage advice from the school’s Indigenous liaison officer, let’s call him Uncle Tom, to just mouth the words — we see him rejoin class where his burgeoning love interest is giving a presentation on, you guessed it, global warming.  Joel’s parents are called in and Mum, Nic, is supportive of the school’s demand. She puts pressure on Joel to conform, but encouraged by Dad, next day Joel takes it to a new level and sits down as well as refusing to sing (at right).

To cut a long story short, Joel’s principled stand is rewarded with his expulsion, at which point Mum switches sides.  Eventually, all the other Aboriginal students go out in sympathy and refuse to stand for or sing the anthem.  Cruella is outraged but the sympathetic English master breaks ranks, supressing a wry smile and pointing out, with truly Solomonic insight, that ‘it’s only been the anthem since 1985’.

The recalcitrant students are corralled into the assembly room where, despite Cruella’s threats to expel them all, they remain adamant that they will stay out until Joel is re-instated. Cruella succumbs and, in the final scene, we see her arrive in her late model Mercedes at Joel’s house to personally escort him back to school. You get the picture. God forbid that Joel’s superior education should come at the cost of singing the National Anthem.

When I first saw this show a couple of years ago, it offended me in so many ways that I wrote to the ABC to complain.  I got the brush off, of course.  Seeing it again got me thinking about ‘racism’ in a somewhat different way, particularly in view of the push for ‘constitutional recognition’. I’ve argued previously that Australia is not a ‘racist’ country and that, individually, the overwhelming majority of Australians are not racist. But that does not mean that there is no undercurrent of animosity against, for want of a better term, the Aboriginal Establishment and certain of its individual members.

Many Australians are frustrated — indeed, fed up — with seeing, on the one hand, generations of traditional Aborigines falling further and further behind, despite untold billions of dollars spent, oceans of goodwill and the best intentions of legions of politicians, bureaucrats and volunteers. And on the other hand they are appalled by the burgeoning sense of grievance and victimhood on the part of urban Aborigines, even as they enjoy growing prosperity and access to funds and opportunities that are theirs by right of who their grandparents were.

Actually, it’s not the Redfern storyline per se, objectionable though it is, that really upsets me.  The plot is, after all, highly contrived.  There may be a Clifton Grammar-style school out there, and there may even be kids who won’t sing the National Anthem (Ahmed, perhaps?) but I doubt very much that its headmistress, gimlet-eyed though she may be, would make this such an issue from day one.  She would probably counsel the kid and let the influence of the school have its effect over time.  I  doubt it’s a situation that has confronted any real Aboriginal student in real life.  In other words, it’s a strawman plot.  No, what really gets my goat is that it was thought worthwhile to waste tax dollars producing this rubbish in the first place.

The whole tenor of the ‘Stand Up’ episode is an upright middle finger in the face of the very same Australians now being hectored to vote to give Aborigines, many of whom owe more of who they are and what they have achieved to their European antecedents,  a special place in our polity by way of a change to the Constitution. I’m willing to bet that the creators of Eddie and Joel, and all who collaborated in the making of this episode and series, are hot for Aboriginal ‘recognition’.  This is the very same Constitution that established the nation represented by an anthem whose lyrics could not possibly offend anyone, other than that they were penned by a ‘whitefella’.

Eddie, Joel and whoever else, you’re entitled to your ‘free speech’ denigration of the National Anthem, but don’t expect to be applauded, except by those who commission ABC dramas and their supplicants, who make grievance their meal ticket and stock in trade.

And never forget — please concentrate here because this is important — the reason you perceive animosity is not that you happen to boast Indigenous genes. No,  far more likely is that what you present as your victimhood is perceived by your fellow Australians as the whining and whinging of shameless bludgers.

Comments [25]

  1. Peter says:

    Great piece. That is all I have to say. Peter

  2. EvilElvis says:

    “But that does not mean that there is no undercurrent of animosity against, for want of a better term, the Aboriginal Establishment and certain of its individual members.”

    Hit the nail on the head right there Peter. Replace ‘Aboriginal Establishment’ with any number of other minority activist interests, LGBQT, gender diversity, green activism and you soon find out why people, normal people, have had a stomach full of whiners and consider anything coming from interest groups as white noise. I actually feel sorry for any person who these groups claim to represent as I can imagine like the rest of us, they just want to lead their lives the way they want to in society and not be subjected to the marginalisation that their caring, overbearing, activist brothers and sisters inadvertently bring down on them.

    The federal government could make instant savings by slashing funding to many of these groups, including the media spruikers (ABC), as it seems to be a perpetual cycle of more noise, bigger victim, more funding. Does this funding ever result in remote community health benefits for aboriginals or a counsellor who will help direct an LGBQT person through a difficult period? Rarely, if ever. The funds go to more noise, more activism, more taxpayer leeches.

  3. hwka says:

    ..your victimhood is perceived by your fellow Australians as the whining and whinging of shameless bludgers.”
    No addition necessary..or possible.

  4. Bill Martin says:

    I also remember that episode very well because of the outrage I felt at the time. The shameless gall of the ABC presenting strident disrespect for the Australian national anthem as something righteous and noble! I could hardly believe what I was observing. They gave me the brush-off too in response to my objection. It was all the more appalling for the fact that other episodes were quite even handed and enjoyable entertainment, mostly with a socially positive flavour. I was also very disappointed at the time at the lack of a loud outcry in the media to protest against disgraceful event.

    As for “recognising” that the Aborigines were here when the white man came, that fact is already perfectly well known and has always been recognised by all and sundry, it is well recorded in innumerable writings and documents, so what is the rationale for inscribing it into yet another document? Could it be that the aim is to secure special privileges for Aborigines, even if only 1/64 or 1/128 of “purity”, or simply based on “self declared” identity?

  5. Rob Brighton says:

    They would not trouble your viewing with this contrived rubbish if they had to earn a crust, instead to heap insult on insult they produce this drivel with your money.

  6. Lawrie Ayres says:

    Now I won’t have to watch on Catch up or whatever and it just reinforces my determination to vote no to anything the practitioners of perpetual grievance come up with. I also find the flying of the Aboriginal flag in pride of place offensive, It is as if Aboriginals are a different nation who just live in Australia but are quite happy to take whatever we give and then demand more.

    • acarroll says:

      “It is as if Aboriginals are a different nation who just live in Australia but are quite happy to take whatever we give and then demand more.”

      They’ve always been a different nation or more accurately many different nations warring with each other. I think what you’ve written here sums up the situation pretty well, particularly the latter claim and the politics of the urban aborigines.

  7. Ian MacDougall says:

    An Aboriginal man I encountered a few years ago told me with obvious pride that he was a ‘full-blood’. (His own chosen term, used here in single parentheses; though I suppose a more appropriate [perhaps even PC] formulation would be “full-blood”, or even “’full-blood’”.)
    According to one authority,“…the native woman, only too eager to be away from the strict taboos of ancient ritual, mixed freely with the men who lived in a white-womanless society and, being natural hunters, they supplemented their white friends’ meagre rations of flour, sugar, tea and meat with the rich fresh bush-foods they gathered from their tribal areas.
    “The white bushmen… were only too eager to accept the welcome change…” *
    Many mixed-ancestry ‘half- caste’ children were born of such relationships (often called ‘combos’). Today, everywhere except in tropical Australia, people identifying as Aboriginal are routinely and almost without exception, of such mixed ancestry.
    Sometimes babies born to Aboriginal women and an itinerant white father were taken at birth from their mothers by male elders of the nomadic group and killed. And it created problems of identity for the survivors, particularly for the young Aboriginal men. They were caught between ‘two tribes’ and two identities. Some quietly passed themselves off as whites, but more recently the tendency has been to claim Aboriginality, even if are only a minority of their ancestry is Aboriginal.
    At the start of such a ‘mixed ancestry’ line, there was always a mating between a ‘full-blood’ Aboriginal woman and a white man. NEVER the other way round, because the mores of the white society and the power relationships in the bush of colonial Australia prevented it. So the transmission of Aboriginality was initially from mother to son, rather than from father to son.

    * WE (Bill) Harney: Tales From the AboriginesRobert Hale Ltd, London, 1959. xv-xvi.

    https://noahsarc.wordpress.com/kangaroos-thylacines-and-aborigines-1/

  8. Thank you Peter. I am one of many who is also annoyed about the waste of taxpayer money on the blatant propaganda and brainwashing by the ABC and by others.
    There has been a plethora of leftist ‘journalists’ labelling Pat Dodson as the ‘father of reconciliation’ – but I can only ask what on earth is that supposed to mean? Who am I supposed to be ‘reconciled’ with? What have I ever done that I need to be ‘reconciled’ with a subsection of the Australian population?
    On my father’s side I am an 8th generation Australian, on my mothers side 6th generation. None of my ancestors to the best of my knowledge ever knowingly did anything to deliberately harm any part of Australia’s population.
    Is it ‘racial guilt’ that I am supposedly guilty of? If so could somebody from the ABC/SBS/leftist academia please tell me openly.
    My father and two of his brothers fought in WW2 against that sort of insidious rot. Did they risk their lives in vain? One of Dad’s brothers is one of only 7 remaining survivors of Changi. Did he suffer and see many of his friends die for nothing, or so that some ill disguised Marxist ‘equality’ notion will be foisted unwittingly on Australia? If it wasn’t for the efforts of some my ancestors and people like them Pat Dodson, if he was allowed to live, might be speaking Japanese.

    • acarroll says:

      Very interesting points you raise denandsel.

      You can see that, across the western world, pushing racial guilt is the current weapon of choice for Marxists, and it is extremely effective. It is applied everywhere, including those countries that never had a colonial past (e.g. Sweden). For European nations, the racial guilt is expressed like so, “guilty: didn’t do enough to prevent the holocaust, or pogroms throughout history”. For Anglophone colonies, it’s the genocide of natives or “didn’t accept enough Jewish refugees”.

      This is, in my opinion, the major weapon of the Marxists and their multicultural agenda. I can’t see any sense in why they take it so far and persecute it so hard, unless the end-goal is end “racism” and inequality forever via the complete destruction of the West and its people’s genetic dissolution and replacement.

      Britain is expected to be majority non-indigenous within the next 20 or so years. How many Brits — indeed all Europeans — would have fought in WW2 if they knew that was the future for their respective lands and peoples?

  9. Jody says:

    This current generation and their politically correct apparatchiks are boring beyond belief. I find it soporific having to listen to their tedious strains of victimhood, droning on and on and on. Life is too short for this garbage. Why don’t they get out and work a 15 hour day like my son does, 7 days a week, trying to build a company and a successful life. It takes guts to do this instead of perpetual moaning and looking toward the taxpayer. Meanwhile, the multitudinous Quangos and instrumentalities funded by government are fuelling a kind of blow-back to give themselves more rights, more airtime, more moaning and complaining. Good God! Beethoven was deaf and he wrote one “Testament” during a low period when he came to terms with this but he still managed to write the exquisite Symphony No. 2 during this critical period.

    These whiners are joyless, non-imaginative, surrender-monkeys and bottom-feeders who know that when they get a Labor government there will be ever more money to fill their bloated sense of grievance and entitlement. I’m over the lot of them.

    VOTE ‘NO’ FOR ABORIGINAL ‘RECOGNITION’. I want nothing to do with any of them, unless they work a 40 hour week and contribute.

    • I get the feeling that you have forgotten where the ‘change channel’ pad is on your remote control, Jody. It’s on the right; the left one is ‘volume’. Like you, I’ll be voting NO. Twenty years ago I was sympathetic to their cause but the ABC has changed that.

  10. Patrick McCauley says:

    The AWU and Frank Hardy ‘organised’ (colonised ?) Aboriginal people during the 1960′s and 1970′s into becoming communists and their communal lifestyle supported such communal decision making. So the popular progressivist urban Aboriginal is now more communist than they are Aboriginal .. and demand sovereignty…. as per the Aboriginal flag (developed by Gary Foley and one of his mates in the late 1980′s)…. and the Aboriginal Revolutionary Provisional Government which had people like Geoff Clarke on it. The word ‘Australia’ (Great Southern Land) is a whitefella word. The country was unnamed by the Aboriginal people, who were not federated and remained a couple of hundred warring tribes who did not know the shape of Australia or its geographical position in the world. So Aboriginal people are definitely not ‘The First Australians’ because they did not know their country as Australia … they were the Indigenous people who occupied the land on which Australia was built. Most Aboriginal political thinking still does not wish to be Australian… they want sovereignty, the Aboriginal flag and Aboriginal land with an Embassy in Canberra.

  11. Richard H says:

    As I’ve said before in this space, thank you for enduring the ABC’s hard-left propaganda so the rest of us don’t have to.

    With tongue firmly in cheek, may I suggest a compromise that might have resolved the issue in this episode? Perhaps Ms de Ville, the headmistress, could have offered young Joel an alternative hopefully less offensive to his all-too-delicate cultural heritage: instead of being forced to stand and sing ‘Advance Australia Fair’, he could stand for and sing ‘God Save the Queen’.

    • Jody says:

      What I demand to know is why I, a taxpayer of 40 plus years, have to PAY to be comprehensively propagandized by the ABC and organizations like it.

      The people – mostly Gen X and Y – who have taken Cultural Marxism with both hands as their own, are too inexperienced and unintelligent enough to understand the damaging consequences of it. The ideologues of the USSR started out looking pretty good with their peculiar brand of social engineering 100 years ago, but they pretty soon rounded up all those who disagreed. Actually, we have the same thing happening here already; social ‘gulags’ (like Cory Bernardi) who disagree and who are rounded up by the “progressive” (ha!) Left media for special corralling! Like herding cattle, Cultural Marxism is every bit as comprehensive in its broad sweep and possibly leading us all to the same place: the abattoir!!

    • Lawrie Ayres says:

      He could have been sent outside to wash black boards or something useful as happened in the old days. Good schools have rules and good rules instil discipline, a quality seriously missing in society, which aids the development of good character. As Martin Luther King reminds us all men should be judged by their character not their skin colour. The ABC would have little to talk about if that were the case here.

      As an aside; the lack of discipline in schools and the sliming of good character by the left ensures Australia will never have the sort of men and women who secured victory in two world wars. The me me me syndrome effectively prevents the formation of self sacrificing mateship.

  12. Bran Dee says:

    In this tribal land prior to 1788 indigenous people were hunter-gatherers. It was a hard life lived in a hard land and survival would have seen the occasional feast for some and famine for others except for the survival convention of demand sharing. The principle is so ingrained in aboriginal culture that the modern word for the demand sharing is humbugging. By humbugging young bullies can demand any tribal member with money share it on demand for use as drinking money, gambling money,smoking money or food money or whatever.

    Could some of the drive for Constitutional Recognition just perhaps be another manifestation of demand sharing? ‘Recognition’ then becomes the formal commitment of one racial group to support all the demands of another racial group. Humbugging for sure!

    • Peter OBrien says:

      Hi Bran, I remember meeting a young aboriginal guide at Purnululu. He was a quiet rather shy young man who told me he wouldn’t be going home (Halls Creek from memory) on his days off as they would just take all his money and ‘piss it up against a wall’.

    • Now they are just gatherers — of taxpayer dollars. In losing their hunting skills, they also lost their pride.

  13. Rob Brighton says:

    On the north coast of NSW there are a number of first peoples communities. In the one nearest to my home one can see the full gamut of possibilities. The guy with a painting business who employs 6 people from all manner of decent, the guy who works for the local council driving earth moving machines. The nice old duck who works behind the counter at 7-11.
    There are the drunks, the abusers, car thieves who exercise the police’s attention on tediously regular basis.
    My neighbour is the local sgt, a general duties policeman who tells me booze and drugs are the problem not the ancestry, he is forever picking up the pieces of white and black lives.
    Its all so repetitive, groundhog day esq.
    If for the billions spent this is the best we can get then we need a new approach, this one hasn’t worked other than create a industry out of difference.
    Recently I read about a community in NT who applied to the NT government to convert some of the crocodile cull licences to hunting licences that they could sell to US hunters for astonishing amounts of coin, they wanted to start a business guiding hunters to better their own community. The NT parliament refused permission and we wonder why they would like their own control, cant say I much blame them.

  14. wisernow says:

    Occasionally I have to pull apart an old framed picture in search of the title or location and any other information that’s been hidden away for more than a century. The painting to undergo the treatment this morning was an 1895 coastal scene with a village that looked vaguely familiar. Could be Albany I thought, but it wasn’t, darn. A Division 1 hope becomes a division 5 consolation very quickly.

    However an interesting discovery between the painting and the backing board was a copy of the English Daily Mail dated April 19, 1901 and, within the contents of that paper was an article titled The Lingering War, how the Boers continue to blow up our trains. The article was written as a firsthand account of Boer tactics and the British response to the train attacks.

    One of my colleagues, an expensively educated private school girl and recent University of WA graduate, was on hand to assist with the picture dismantling. She was surprised at my interest in the Boer war article and, to my amazement I discovered that she had never heard of the Boer War, nor knew of Australia’s involvement in that conflict.

    I inquired. What did you learn in Australian history? Mainly about the colonists hammering the aboriginals was her response. She then went on to explain that when subjects became elective in upper school she dropped Australian history as she found it too confronting.

    The ABC drama Redfern Now never graced my screen but I found Peter’s article entertaining and informative and, I’m pretty confident that I know where the seeds of whine are sewn and, who’s providing the fertilizer and water. Them and us again.

    • Peter OBrien says:

      Thank you, Wisernow. I too am constantly amazed at the lack of historical (and general) knowledge on the part of the younger generation. It’s no wonder they are easy prey for every leftist thought bubble that appears on Twitter