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January 15th 2017 print

Anthony Dillon

A ‘Treaty’? It’s Just a Sad Distraction

Other than empty cliches and angry slogans, what a pact between white and black Australia might achieve is never explained by its loudest and most insistent advocates. Before proceeding down this path, what about addressing alcoholism, abuse and dysfunction?

treaty IITowards the end of 2016, an Indigenous forum in Hobart insisted that preparations for a referendum on the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal Australians must be accompanied by treaty talks, with co-chair Pat Anderson rating a treaty “the No 1 topic.”  This treaty business has been on the agenda for a long time – more recently, “treaties”, plural. It is a topic, and a passion, well worth exploring.

I don’t outright dismiss the possibility of benefits that might flow from a treaty, but if we are to entertain the notion of proceeding toward this goal it should only be for the right reason. Will it improve the lives of Aboriginal people in a major way? And if it will improve those lives, how will it improve them?

There are many wrong reasons for wanting a treaty, but I will mention only two: First, consider this ridiculous headline on an online news site: “We don’t have a treaty, it shows how racist Australia is”  — more evidence that the victim brigade is, as usual, prefers to froth rather than think.

Second, pursuit of a treaty should not be for the oft-quoted reason pointed out by a sceptical Peta Credlin: “Supporters of a treaty always point to the fact other countries have treaties with their Indigenous people.” Treaty supporter Stan Grant, in the latest Quarterly Essay (issue 64), demonstrates her point with the following question: “Must we lag as the only Commonwealth nation not to have a treaty with Indigenous people?”

A treaty, adopted merely because other countries have treaties and “it’s the right thing to do”, hardly represents a good reason. Indeed, in diverting needed attention from child abuse and neglect, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, suicide and community dysfunction, the effort and distraction of treaty negotiations would be grossly counterproductive. How would a treaty put food on the table? Get kids to school? Get adults into jobs? Create communities that are safe, clean and vibrant places to live? A treaty would do nothing to address these problems, nothing whatsoever, and even less to remedy them.

Treaty Talk: An Exchange

And let’s not forget that thousands upon thousands of Aboriginal Australians are doing perfectly well without a treaty – including, ironically, many of those demanding one. These advocates and supporters have benefited from good educations and the benefits of living where there are jobs and functioning communities. Ironically, the situation is well summed up by Stan Grant in his recent Quarterly essay. “One thing is undeniable,” he writes, “tens of thousands of Indigenous people are transforming their lives through their own efforts: they are doctors, lawyers, teachers, plumbers and film stars.”

Obviously some see merit in pursuing a treaty. For example, 2015 NAIDOC Person of the Year Rosalie Kunoth-Monks has stated, “Treaty can bring us together.” But will a treaty foster that desired unity, or will it further underline the existing ‘us vs. them’ mentality between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians? Is this what is inspiring some Aboriginal-identifying people: affirmation of their Aboriginality? so one might conclude from the recent comment of 2016 NAIDOC Person of the Year Dr Chris Sarra, who challenged political leaders, including the Prime Minister: “When you are ready, and when you have the courage and you are bold enough, I am ready on behalf of my people, and my people are ready to speak with you about a treaty.” His 1,500-strong audience responded with a standing ovation. Are we to conclude that if someone is reluctant to talk about a treaty they must lack courage? Personally, I would rather hear Sarra talk about what has been his own formula for success. I am sure what has worked for him — work, study, dedication,  commitment — will work for other Aboriginal Australians.

Sarra is also quoted on an SBS website as saying, “Clearly we are not at a point yet where our humanity is being acknowledged and embraced positively by new Australians,” adding that, in his view, a treaty can help address this. It is unclear what Sarra means when he refers to not “acknowledging our humanity,” but if the ongoing statistics on high rates of violence and child neglect in Aboriginal communities are anything to go by, then shouldn’t it be incumbent on some sectors of the Aboriginal community to first acknowledge their own people’s  humanity by addressing the dysfunction and the abuses listed above? While Sarra talks about the purported benefits of a treaty, he also sees it as having benefits for white Australians because it will enable them to “move beyond living this lie that you’ve lived for the last 200 or so years.” So which white people are living the lie, Professor? All white people, one gathers. Stereotypes, anyone?

So how, exactly, will a treaty help? This is a question I have asked many times and put to many people, yet never have I received an adequate answer. Most recently I have turned to the Treaty Australia website for some answers. What I first noticed on the page was the two slogans I have seen many times — two slogans which, in my opinion, are two of the most meaningless and often shouted clichés in Aboriginal affairs: “We never ceded our sovereignty to this country” and “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.” Such rhetoric substitutes for substance. Once again I searched high and low on the website for any explanation of how a treaty would help those Aboriginal Australians suffering the most. Once again I could find none.

One strong Aboriginal woman doing well without a treaty, author and lawyer Dr Hannah McGlade, is reported as saying, “Would indigenous women and children feel safer if constitutional recognition, or even a treaty, eventuated in Australia? The answer must be a resounding ‘No’ ”. McGlade’s unarguable and self-evident wisdom should be enough for us to abandon the pursuit of a treaty, at least until we eliminate these family violence problems.

Talking sense, Aboriginal politician Alison Anderson identifies who will benefit from ‘treaty’:

“A treaty movement will undoubtedly improve the lot of lawyers in cities and regional towns and provide fodder for debate by numerous pundits. Meanwhile, out bush, we are still seeking the practical measures that will allow Aboriginal people to thrive both culturally and economically.”

The best way to help Aboriginal people is the same way that works for all Australians, regardless of colour and heritage. The focus should be on strategies that bring social stability. Only then will people be safe and begin to thrive, be free to become all that they are capable of being. Warren Mundine rightly points out that social stability requires embracing the idea of contribution to communities. And meaningful employment is one of the most effective ways of ensuring this.

The focus must be on employment and education. Then, perhaps, we can consider a treaty.

Postscript: If a treaty is to have a reasonable chance of getting off the ground, one aspect in particular needs to be addressed: a small, loud group of Aboriginal commentators and ‘blaktivists’ bent on promoting hate and disharmony among the Aboriginal population. Question their stance, ask for a civil and rational debate and the snarling response will be to be branded “traitor”, “Uncle Tom”, “coconut” or “house nigger”. Those who resort to ad hominem attacks, rather than argument, do not represent the Aboriginal population or anything like it, but they are of sufficient mass to sow disharmony and rancour — so much so that the consensus neeed to develop a treaty is almost certain to fail.

A treaty is an agreement between two parties, in this case white and black Australia How is such a pact to be achieved if one of those groups is unstable and divided? Welcome to the world of Aboriginal politics.

Anthony Dillon identifies as a part-Aboriginal Australian who is proud of both his Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ancestries. Originally from Queensland, he now lives in Sydney and is a researcher at the Australian Catholic University. For more, visit www.anthonydillon.com.au

 

Comments [34]

  1. Warty says:

    I can only speak on a personal level (and possibly for all the wrong reasons) but this whole treaty issue simply makes me angry. Part of it is this sense of entitlement bit, and the affected ‘incomprehension’ on the part of the pro treaty people, that someone like me could even think of objecting to one.
    I am also particularly irritated by a sort of treaty via the back door behaviour we are seeing of late. The now established ‘welcome to country’ ceremonies before major events, particularly international sporting events, with some elder rabbiting on about the Gabba being on Aboriginal land, or the Sydney Cricket ground being on some other Aboriginal tribe’s bit of land (speeches that ramble on far too long anyway, but for some reason precede the national anthem, and that’s pretty crook). And then there is the ridiculous shenanigans about Australia Day being ‘invasion day’, obviously designed to warm the cockles of die- in-the-wool racists like me. To me (and I’m continuing to speak on a rather warped personal level) it all seems counterproductive, though I’m yet to hear anyone boo loudly, whenever a ‘welcome to country’ wafflethon takes place. I’ve yet to hear someone yell out at full lung “how come this one eighth part Aborigine in you is performing this welcome to country ceremony. How come the seven eights part isn’t feeling rightly alienated. How come I am not performing the ceremony in my 100% white identity?
    And then there is John Howard’s question: how can an Australian have a treaty with another Australian? It just doesn’t make sense.
    Please, can’t we borrow Donald for his first year of office?

  2. gardner.peter.d says:

    I haven’t followed this topic n great detail but when the supposed discrimination against Aborigine’s became a Big Issue – no pun intended – I thought I’d take a look at the Australian Constitution. I could not find anything that by commonsense could be construed as discrimination against Aborigines. Certainly it doesn’t prohibit it. But if Aborigines were given a special mention, it seemed to me it would create discrimination.

    One of the ironies is that Aborigines had the right to vote under the constitution, which the campaigners now want amended, until it was removed in the subsequent Franchise Act 1902.

    I too listen to these speeches of obeisance to Aboriginal land rights, the continual almost worship of Aboriginal culture only to find myself wondering what Australia would be like today if the white settlement had never taken place? Surely now we understand Aboriginal culture better can we not also understand why, despite the brutality etc, Australia is now a far better place than it would have been. Personally, I do favour self determination so allocating parts of Australia to be ruled entirely by Aborigines and in which they can maintain their ancient culture is fine. the rest f us should mind our own business and stop wasting times and money trying to convert them into modern westerners against their will. Am I racist? No, I love diversity but I also understand that diversity of ways of life needs separate territories. Given that then we can freely visit each other and exchange ideas cultural and material.

    If I am missing something here, perhaps someone would enlighten me.

    • exuberan says:

      With the advent of a Treaty, will Reparations be demanded? I would this yes, that Reparations will be payable. This on top of the >$32 billion allocated to Indigenous peoples annually, some 6% of the Australian GDP.

      We really cannot afford a Treaty under these circumstances.

    • Warty says:

      I wonder if you’ve thought the self determination bit through, Peter, and I don’t mean to be rude here. As you probably know, Aboriginals currently have exclusive landholding rights to over 30% of Australia. Those that do indeed live on ‘Aboriginal land’ are the ones that are deemed to be the most disadvantaged; the same groups that experience child abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence and chronic welfare dependency.
      Now, correct me if I’m wrong. Some, amongst these same people, do a bit of fishing, a bit of eating, and when the odd fact-finding SBS film crew comes over the horizon, eat a bit of bush tucker. When Mike Willesee and film crews disappear back over the horizon, it is back onto the junk food, alcohol, high sugar diet, highly inappropriate diet, chronic diabetes, fetal alcohol syndrome, dental decay, diabetes related blindness, petrol sniffing and all the other things I forgot to mention, and too extensive to mention anyway . . . oh, yes and self determination.
      Now, again, correct me if I’m wrong. A strict definition of self determination surely means just that. Now what happens if the government of the day becomes all weak-kneed and says ‘self determination, but with government assistance? Is that still self determination? And how does self determination work if your level of dependency (and I mean at every level imaginable) is such that you can barely stand on your own two feet?
      The other bit that leaves me scratching my head, well just a bit, is your semi detached statement ‘given that then we can freely visit each other and exchange ideas cultural and material’. My understanding is that my culture is rather on the nose, well so the left tell us. So it would have to be a one-way exchange. But then, what is it of their culture, I’d want to adopt, or you, Peter? The ‘freely visit each other’, on the other hand, is in the way-over-the-head, to hard to understand part, for me, but my youthful idealism has been dealt a death knell by advancing old age.

      • PT says:

        Whatever “inquiry” is held on issues like aboriginal Heath, the “answer” is always whatever the existing favourite push issue happens to be, plus loads more money without any direction on its use. As an example, the major inquiry into the problems with aboriginal Heath concluded the issues were all about land. The landrights issue was at the heart of the dire condition of aboriginal health. Yet the same report indicated that the best Heath was amongst urban aboriginals, who had no landrights, and the worst in outback NT, with the most landrights. How did they come up with a conclusion the opposite of the evidence?

    • PT says:

      Peter, the arguments against the “racist section” is disingenuous. The relevant section gives power to make special laws applying for one race of people to the Federal Government and prohibits the State Governments from such (hence the SA and Vic shenanigans have no valid force of law, especially after the Australia Acts). The opponents of this say it’s “racist” but actually WANT the Feds to be able to make special laws for them! I think the whinging comes from the court decision that said the section didn’t say it had to be for the “benefit” of the group concerned. But this begs the question: was the “Intervention” for the benefit or detriment of aboriginal people? Clearly it benefited some and was to the detriment of others.

    • Hi Peter,

      80 % of Indigenous people live in towns and cities. Any who wanted to go and live in remote areas, where there may be a majority of Indigenous people, has always had that right. Population flow is around half a per cent per year to the cities. All Indigenous people are Australian citizens, entitled to all the rights of citizens. One of those rights is not to be moved somewhere against their will merely on ethnic grounds. Now THAT would be discrimination.

      Aboriginal society seems to be currently differentiated into working people, usually in urban areas, a welfare population in remote settlements, rural towns an outer suburbs, and an elite. The elite has always sought power, primarily over other Indigenous people, and have a sort of de facto deal going with the welfare population under the rubrics of ‘culture’ and ‘rights’, and, on reflection, have always, on the whole, supported the enshrining of ‘difference’, separateness’ and the encapsulation of the entire Indigenous population to that model. Although very few of them have ever lived in a remote settlement, and fewer still would want to, prattle about doing so comes easy.

      The path to that separation, via a treaty (or a multitude of treaties), a separate state within Australia, a separate state outside of Australia, ‘sovereignty’ etc., has ‘innocently’ started with a demand for an undefined ‘recognition’. This is diametrically opposed to any move towards ‘reconciliation: one will lead to separate and hostile societies, the other to one inclusive society.

      Urban working Indigenous people, I’ll bet, have no intention of leaving the cities. They’ve often grown up there, expect to develop their careers there, have inter-married there. So have the elites, as it happens, who also often send their kids to private schools. Not too many private schools out in the remote settlements. Still, while innocent prattle comes easy, the ambitions of the elites are becoming obvious: power over other Indigenous people. After all, it’s no fun being small frogs in big ponds.

      But since they have little else to ‘offer’, even to their own people, well, especially to their own people, they have no agenda to move towards an inclusiveness society, in which they will remain little frogs, only an agenda which insistently moves in the wrong direction, as they have done for at least forty years. So, effectively, the Indigenous population is largely – with honorable exceptions – leaderless, which is probably how most urban people like it.

      Around forty four thousand Indigenous people have graduated from university, overwhelmingly urban people, at degree-level and above, and in mainstream courses. Those numbers double every ten to twelve years. Currently, that’s about one in every eight adults, one in every six urban adults. How long have the elites got before they are laughed off the stage by their own people ?

  3. Trog says:

    In total agreement Warty.

    I used to be obliged to suffer this waffle pretty regularly. When game enough and after enjoying perhaps a little refreshment, I used to let my own views slip out occasionally in mild conversation. My fellow workers in the main were alarmed at my wrong-headedness and sought to correct my clearly racist tendencies.

    That is till I informed them that each welcome ceremony cost us $200. In the main they had all thought it was a voluntary endeavour in the best charitable spirit of reconciliation.

    My experience was very minor and I tremble to think what the sliding scale of charges runs to now? The opening of a parliamentary sessions must be thousands and I’d love to know the actual cost. No doubt it will all be explained away as only right and proper in advancing a much needed, vitally worthwhile cause and nothing whatsoever do with the cash.

  4. Doubting Thomas says:

    Humbug is humbug, no matter what percentage of Aboriginal blood the perpetrators claim.

  5. Peter OBrien says:

    Two of the oft-quoted mantras in support of a treaty – ‘a treaty will bring us together’ and ‘always was, always will be aboriginal land’ are mutually exclusive. On that basis alone it should be self evident that a treaty is a bad idea.

  6. Alistair says:

    Thanks Anthony.
    The questions that I would like answered are – just who is the Australian Government to sign a treaty with? And what status does that bestow on the signatury organisation?
    Can the Australian Government sign a treaty with a women’s basket ball association for example without somehow elevating that association to something akin to a soveriegn State? I would like to see who the Australian Governement is going to sign a treaty with – what defines their membership, and what the “constitution” of that body is. Does it respect human rights conventions? Why would we sign a treaty with a body that doesnt respect human rights. David Price wrote a lengthy description of how Aborigianl Law was at odds with Human Rights conventions. Does the constitution of this body acknowledge the primacy of Australian National law ? … If a sovereign nation signs a treaty with someone – does that not implicitly elevate the other party to sovereign nation status.

    • Warty says:

      I like the treaty with a women’s basket ball association part: it highlights the ridiculousness of it all. Incidentally, when and why did we start to uses nouns as adjectives, and in particular, why has it become more politically correct to talk of ‘women’s teams’ rather that ‘female teams’? There is now a sort of cringe factor to the mention of the good old fashioned adjective ‘female’, but just why I don’t know. Did Madam Germaine Greer determine this (or is she mademoiselle, or simply maddi)? Ah, ’tis a strange screwed up world.

  7. Jody says:

    I’m so bored with this whole issue. We are harking back to 1770; let’s see what happened of significance then:

    Cook sailed into Botany Bay;
    Beethoven was born;
    14y/o Marie Antoinette arrives at the French Court
    William Wordsworth born

    Gosh; was it THAT long ago!!!!??? Yep.

    Time to move on; you’ve had two centuries to get it together, aboriginal Australians.

    • Don A. Veitch says:

      Jody, don’t confuse ephemerata with boredom. This is not ephemerata (‘lasting just a day’).
      Much of the ‘middle east’ has been destroyed by ‘colour’ revolutions. This top down colour revolution could destroy Australia, and it is not a ‘left wing’ plot, it is a long term divide and rule strategy.
      Egypt and Syria (and Russia) are the first to fight back and win!

      • Jody says:

        Perhaps my last comment is the strategic way to go with this!! Move on; you’ve had 200 years and it’s game over. I suspect a large number of people feel as I do. The only way in which this black-armband victimhood continues is courtesy of the Left; they’re on the run at the moment, thanks to Trumpism.

  8. PT says:

    An interesting article from Anthony Dillon, as usual.

    My take on this…

    This “treaty” stuff has been around for a long time, occasionally raised by PM’s keen for a “legacy” (Hawke’s most obvious example). I think it has two main roots. One is looking across the Tasman at New Zealand. There is no doubt 50 years ago (at any rate) the Maori had a much better social status than the aboriginals. I think many simplisticly put this down to the Treaty of Waitangi, ignoring things like the settled nature of Maori culture, the fact they’d achieved a high rate of literacy in the 19th century etc. If only we had a treaty, so the “reasoning” was, the aboriginals would be like the Maori.

    The other strain was the “Nugget” Coombs one. I don’t know if he originated this, or was just an early promoter. But the scheme runs thus: aboriginals are poor and despised. With a treaty, we could give them “dignity” and include clauses to guarantee them 7 to 10% of the national GDP! This, according to Coombs, would transform the aboriginals from the poorest demographic to the richest! Whilst Coombs gave obvious monetary reasons for aboriginals favouring a treaty, he had to find reasons for the rest of us. His solution: we needed a “treaty of cessation” to legitimise our presence here, and our government. I am fairly sure this is where the “aboriginal Soverignty movement” comes from.

    I don’t know how Coombes squared this support for what would, in reality, be a landowning caste with his socalism. The “treaty of cessation” really plays into Australian fears of being overrun (ie without such a treaty, the “yellow hordes” will have an excuse). What I suspect he didn’t realise is that the idea would develop a life of its own. Now I suspect many activists would refuse a “treaty” that surrendered sovereignty, as opposed to allowing non-aboriginals to live here on leased land. The ongoing “protest” in Perth over the settlement of Native Title claim over Perth is an example of what we could expect.

    In reality, the “Treaty” if ever eventuated would be much weaker. A 10% of GDP is 40% of the Federal Budget. No chance any government, no matter how PC, could get that up. Will activists accept this? I have a nasty feeling there’d be “buy offs”. It is already the case that much money for aboriginal programmes are “syphined” off. Any treaty money would be no exception. This is the issue. More money and power for certain “leaders”, the change for others an incidental.

    The solution? I don’t think there’s a single one. But I think aboriginals have to be assimilated into the modern economy. Assimilated economically, not culturally BTW. They, and they alone, can determine what it means to be an aboriginal in the modern world. But pre contact, aboriginals were self supporting. They need to be self supporting now. . Coombes and his ideas are just more sit down money. This “treaty” talk is a blind alley. Like imagining if the French had stopped the Germans on the Meuse in 1940, or if Britain had created House of Commons and House of Lords seats in America in the 1760′s. Any treaty that may do aboriginals any significant economic good will not be passable.

    • Don A. Veitch says:

      PT, you have hit the nail on the head. Coombs, the central banker, was the master, (evil??) genius behind Whitlam. That’s where it began. Coombs was a ‘spiritualist’, etc, etc (see his Boyer lectures of 1971(??)

  9. Dallas Beaufort says:

    Sleeping rough, be it in the bush or city, its time to clean out the fleas, cockroaches and blindness dogging the political and public sector self-interests.

  10. Ian MacDougall says:

    In my experience in the bush, there is a real apartheid in this country. But unlike the South African situation, it comes from the blacks, not the whites.

  11. Bill Martin says:

    I have a great deal of respect for Anthony Dillon and this article is yet another feather in his cap. Nevertheless, I vigorously disagree with him when he writes “I don’t outright dismiss the possibility of benefits that might flow from a treaty” because I most certainly dismiss it without caveat. The idea is not only preposterously ridiculous, it is also perilous and sinister.

    Not having, or claiming to have any trace of indigenous blood in my veins, I can afford to be more brutally forthright concerning Aboriginal issues.

    The overwhelming aspect of the matter of recognition and treaty is the disgraceful attitude of the educated Aborigines advocating and supporting it. The degree of their reprehensibility is inversely proportional to the degree of their “aboriginality”. All such people enjoy all the benefits of contemporary Australian living standards as the result of the education gifted to them by our society and live according to the cultural values of that society. More than that, they enjoy special benefits and privileges on account of their racial origin, often deriving most or of all of their income as the result of it. And they have the hide to clamour for additional privileges?!

    Further, these people know full well that neither recognition nor a treaty would make the slightest of difference to the wretched lives of those living in remote Aboriginal communities, as was the case with land rights legislation, Rudd’s apology or any other symbolic event. Nor do they want that shameful state of affairs to change, lest they lose the “legitimacy” of their ceaseless demands for ever more money being wasted on perpetuating a sad and lost cause.

    The hypocrisy of such Aboriginal “activists” is beyond words. Admittedly, in some cases it is probably augmented by a large dose of blatant stupidity, but the loudest and most prominent of the cadre can’t even hide behind that excuse. They are simply the lowest form of low life in the world.

      • Bill Martin says:

        You’re welcome, Anthony. Any time.

      • PT says:

        I sill think, Sir, that this “Soverignty” notion was largely promoted by Coombes. He did this to give the reason why non-Aboriginals should back a treaty that would earmark 40% of the Federal Budget for Aboriginals (about 1% by claim of the population at the time). For him, it was a political slight of hand. But he was not able to see others would view it as a fundamental right which should never be surrendered. His claim was always disingenuous as no nation did not recognise Canberra! It was a confidence trick to con people into signing away money they might otherwise refuse to do so. What he refused to see was that activists would see this as a fundamental right, not a negotiation gambit. They will refuse to “sign away” such “Soverignty” no matter the inducement!

  12. Macspee says:

    Macspee
    An aspect of this discussion that I have not heard dealt with ( I may be simply unaware) is that of “sovereignty”. Exactly what is asserted about aboriginal sovereignty? The concept of sovereignty is one that has varied over time having been connected with the personage of a king or emperor, or tsar other similar person having individual control over an area or of a people. Today it is attached to the State, the sovereign state. But at what time was there any sovereignty of any kind in Australia before the arrival of the British? The short answer is there never was any and talk today is by people who want to be the ones to get to control the “sovereign machine”. Who will they operate it for after they have arranged their very reasonable remuneration? Does anyone really believe that sovereignty (or whatever they like to call sovereignty) will bring any benefits and will such benefits as might appear be enjoyed by the indigenous people with only indigenous ancestors or will it go predominantly to those with one or two such ancestors and who have been educated at non-indigenous schools and universities? Is it not time to cease pandering to “extremists” and begin to talk openly and forcefully about responsibility rather than listening to specious demands and replying with abject pandering?

  13. iain says:

    Education, employment, opportunity, blah blah blah – i can’t believe how people fail to see the root cause. In the aboriginal community i associated with, it was the children of the stable families that did well – they had jobs and didn’t drink themselves into a daily stupour – the others with unknown fathers and incompetent mothers drank daily and were dead by 50. The basic family unit is the buiding block of a stable productive society and the breadown of it is why western societes are now falling apart.

  14. Homer Sapien says:

    It all simply comes back to a bedrock of a Christian/Jewish foundation. Problem solved, too easy perhaps?

  15. Anthony says:

    I encourage you to click on the link “Treaty Talk: An Exchange” that appears in the middle of the article to see a Q&A session between myself and Indigenous affairs commentator Gerry Georgatos.

    • Warty says:

      Having clicked on your ‘Treaty Talk: An Exchange, your response to his initial question suggests you understand where he is coming from when he stated ‘so it is understandable there are calls for greater autonomy’, because you deflect his call for self determination (a more common understanding of autonomy) pointing out the need for the same rights and opportunities as the rest of Australia. My feeling is they have the same rights but perhaps not the same opportunities, because of the remoteness of their settlements. I can only begin to imagine the frothing outrage amongst the left if they were indeed ‘relocated’: it would have shades of ‘stolen generation’ writ large all over it.
      You don’t seem to engage with say a Dodson understanding of a ‘treaty’. Forgive me for being brutally frank, but you have actually managed to slide way from these two crucial questions about ‘autonomy’ and ‘treaty’. We all know what the terms mean, and we also know what activist Aboriginals mean when they talk of ‘autonomy’ and ‘treaty’.