Insights from Quadrant

A gong rings true

The Australia Day honours list is out and the usual questions arise: how do they settle on those to be acclaimed, and what part of that process is driven as much by politics, perhaps more so, than an appreciation of a lifetime’s achievement and good works?

Consider, for example, Professor Tom Calma, co-author with Marcia Langton of the Voice blueprint, who scored Senior Australia of the Year — a timely nod in light of the coming referendum by a judging panel, one can’t help but suspect, very keen indeed to see race installed in the Constitution.

Then there is the Young Australian of the Year and its list of finalists, not one of which happens to be a representative of that currently despised demographic, the white male. Andrew Bolt has more on this curious omission.

Spot what’s missing from this year’s list of state winners of Young Australian of the Year.

The NSW one is a white female environmentalist. That much isn’t surprising.
Then come the rest. The ACT winner is a Ghanaian Australian man, the Queenslander a Torres Strait Islander woman, the Tasmanian a Muslim woman, the South Australian a male refugee from Kenya, the Victorian a man who identifies as Aboriginal, and the Northern Territorian a Tiwi Islander
That leaves just Western Australia to produce a white male winner but … no. It’s athlete Peter Bol, born in Sudan.

How can white males – more than 40 per cent of our population – not crack even one spot on the list of Young Australians of the Year?

The overall winner, ‘body image campaigner’ Taryn Brumfitt, seems a safe, no-fuss selection. Unlike, say, Adam Goodes, the 2014 AOTY winner, she is unlikely to begin her term with a speech decrying her compatriots’ racism.

So, another list written in the ink of woke? Not quite.

Among those honoured there is Bess Nungarrayi Price, Member of the Order of Australia, who shared some pointed observations about fellow honouree Tom Calma with the SMH:

“We have a lot of voices; many federal parliamentarians. I’m trying to grasp what are they talking about with this Voice? What more is it going to do for us?” she said.

“It’s always been the same people who’ve banged on about it. [Voice report co-authors] Marcia Langton, Tom Calma, these people who’ve got no clue about what’s happening outside Melbourne Uni or Tom Calma’s office in Canberra. They’ve lost touch.”

Unusual for Wikipedia, Bess Price’s entry is fair, honest and free of any political slant. If her candour in dismissing the Voice as a playground and power base for the Aboriginal elites promoting it isn’t enough to establish her worthiness, that summary of a life most certainly is.

— roger franklin


One thought on “A gong rings true

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Oh, yes indeed, Roger. I had hoped that her equally wonderful daughter, Jacinta, probably the single most impressive newcomer to the Australian Parliament in generations, might also have featured in the awards too. Still, Jacinta is one apple that did not fall far from the maternal tree. What a family!

Leave a Reply