Welcome to Country, Farewell to Australia

I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which I drink my coffee and write today. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past and present.

I understand that this kind of mawkish acknowledgement of country “is a demonstration of respect for the traditional custodians of the land on which a meeting or event is being held. It is recognition of the continuing relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Country.”

It’s become ubiquitous and extremely tiresome. It’s cant, pure and simple. I have a citizenship certificate issued in 1972 which says that this is my country. I know many people who were born in Australia and it is certainly their country. Many Diggers died protecting this country. It is most definitely theirs and their descendants’ country. We share it jointly and severally in national fellowship. I appreciate being welcomed into someone’s home or place of business as a visitor guest or customer. I have no respect at all for some nebulous made-up concept of traditional custodianship of every piece of Australia’s landmass and increasingly, no doubt, seascapes.

A first point to make. It’s popular, I know. Tony Abbott and company support it. Aboriginal people should be especially honoured as the inhabitants of Australia before 1788. I simply don’t agree. With a name like Smith I dare say my forbears may have been in Blighty before the Romans, Vikings and Normans. I didn’t notice being paid any deference when growing up in England. And, it would be plainly ridiculous to expect it.

Aboriginal people deserve to be treated kindly and supportively, as do all Australians whatever their ethnicities and backgrounds. And in equal measure. In absolutely equal measure. To have favourable welfare benefits and preferment for Aboriginal people is already way out of line. Why should someone of equal disadvantage be treated less favourably because they cannot claim Aboriginal forbears? It is a blot on the fair-go egalitarian society which attracted people like me and many others down through the decades. As the UN Declaration of Human Rights puts it:

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

A second point is that self-identification does not an Aboriginal person make. This whole business is fraught with genealogical conundrums. How Aboriginal is someone whose father is English and whose mother’s father is Dutch and whose mother’s mother is the progeny of an Aboriginal woman and a white fella whose ancestors can be traced to the first fleet. Clearly this person has the choice of English, Dutch or Aboriginal or why not plain old Australian. Only the latter has the ring of certitude. ‘We are one’ also has a valuable harmonious ring to it in a society made up of people with many different racial backgrounds and nationalities.

A third point is to do with creeping, now galloping, balkanisation. Identity politics is a plague on national cohesion. It’s bad enough when people are divided into groups based on their sexual preferences. It’s much worse when race is the dividing factor. I’ve heard tell that giving favourable treatment to Aboriginal people is not a racially-based thing but an indigenous-based thing. This is simply playing with words. Aboriginal people were a distinct race of people. There were no blue-eyed, fair-haired Aboriginal people when Captain Phillip landed. They came much later when the rewards for being Aboriginal induced self-interested self-identification.

By 2021, according the Gary Johns (The Burden of Culture), Native Title covered 33 percent of the land mass of Australia. According to Keith Windschuttle (The Break-Up of Australia), it’s on its way to 60 percent. This is balkanisation on stilts. There is no basis in history or logic for giving rights to so much land to the descendants or part descendants of itinerant small tribes (not remotely nations), who even on the basis of gross over-counting in the last census, form only a subset of 3 percent of the population. Where will it lead? Nowhere good.

Here, for example, in The Australian newspaper are the reported views of the general manager of the Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation in western Queensland.

A priority for a future treaty with the state would be the right to block resource projects on traditional land…He flagged that individual treaties could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars apiece, reflecting the devasting impact of British colonisation on the state’s indigenous people…Asked how much compensation his people would seek: “How do you put a value on cultural loss? We’ve lost a lot our language, song, dance, ceremony stuff, purely because of colonisation.”

For the 97 percent plus of Australians to go along with this kind of maudlin claptrap is beyond all reason. Quite simply we have a very small subset of the population with varying hereditary connections to a defunct primitive culture which made no material progress over centuries and would still be making no progress had it been left alone. Was this envisaged when terra nullius was effectively overturned by the High Court in the Mabo case in 1992, and when the Native Title Act was passed in 1993? It should have been. Watch out when the ignoble Left is complicit.

It’s no accident that those on the left support Native Title. It appeals to their inner Marxism: communal rather than individual ownership. It undermines property rights and strikes at the foundation of capitalism. That’s quite apart from the motivation of the radical green left which wants to displace Western civilisation as part of some god-awful Great Reset. And, what we all should know by now is that the Left never stops. It is indefatigable, at least while any Judeo-Christian value propping up Western civilisation remains to be torn down.

The only answer is to restore terra nullius. Fat chance. The genie is out and it’s a particularly nasty troll-like version. And the Voice? Yes, it would make matters worse. But be assured the damage is done. And much more of the same is in the offing with or without the Voice. Option: Join the gravy train? Is there a forbear of mine in England who might have had it off, so to speak, with some travelling Aboriginal person in the nineteen century? Could I grow a flowing white beard, à la Bruce Pascoe, get a sun tan and don a loincloth? Or, could I get away with simply claiming Aboriginality? After all, it would be racist to challenge me, wouldn’t it?

28 thoughts on “Welcome to Country, Farewell to Australia

  • Brian Boru says:

    It was “Australians all let us rejoice,
    For we are young and free”
    Then it became”Australians all let us rejoice, For we are one and free”.
    If the “Voice” passes it will be “Australians all let us rejoice, For we are two and free”.

    • Brian Boru says:

      PS; I voted for Waltzing Matilda.

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      As to Brian Boru’s first comment, whatever other descriptors may apply, I can guarantee that we’ll all be a whole lot less “free” if this referendum does not fail, as it so richly deserves. Furthermore, anyone born here is indigenous to this country.
      End of.

  • Tony Tea says:

    Is there a Voice equivalent in the US? Maybe there is, but I get a gut feeling the Yanks would give short shrift to any similar separatist shenanigans in their far-more revered Constitution.

    • john mac says:

      Yes TT , it’s called blm or the ‘1619″ project and many Dem Govts, or Mayors and Biden himself are pushing to award trillions to America’s blacks for slavery reparations , without asking the taxpayers of course ! California (no slavery there) is at the forefront with the wily Newsom try to foist it on his state and reap 100% of the black vote instead of 94% . Talk about a new debt ceiling !

  • padraic says:

    Your comments are spot on, Peter. In relation to the comment – “Identity politics is a plague on national cohesion ” – I could not agree more but I have been mulling over what I would call myself if having a separate identity becomes mandatory for us all in the Constitution. One option for me would be “A proud Canterbury-Bankstown Municipality man of the Australian Nation” which would enable me to give welcome to municipality orations when next visiting the area.

  • AML1618 says:

    I am, You are, We are, All, Australian !

  • Lonsdale says:

    Terra nullius? Oh Peter … Jesus wept

  • Daffy says:

    No Aboriginal today was living before the British popped in, so I don’t see how any living Aborigines are worthy of any special treatment in any sense whatsoever. Some of my forebears came from Argyll in Scotland, so am I suddenly and inexplicably an Argyll man…perhaps I should ask Torquhil if I’m really the Duke and not he. Maybe I’m on the list for some cash as well.

    • Daffy says:

      P.S. “…it strikes at the foundation of capitalism”. Au contraire, it strikes at the foundation of free enterprise, equality before the law, privity of contract, property rights and the engine of wealth that benefits all who wish to participate.

  • Stephen says:

    It’s worth mentioning that it costs about $1,000 to have a Welcome to County ceremony performed. It’s a nice little earner for a few minutes work. Certainly no one does it for a cup of tea and a biscuit!
    Depending on the subject matter of the occasion. and the venue, one can be effectively blackmailed into paying up for the Welcome to Country to ensure a mob doesn’t show up.
    So it’s a nice little earner and a bit of a protection racket. Who said down with capitalism?

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      Everything that pertains to Australia’s racist and publicly-funded Aboriginal industry is a racket, a rort or an outright scam. Money & resources straight down the drain, it cries out for abolition – all of it.

  • lbloveday says:

    For anyone interested in reading the article in The Australian re Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation, copy and paste:

  • brandee says:

    From the election of his Labor government in 1972 PM Gough Whitlam worked with former Reserve Bank Governor HC “Nugget’ Coombes to replace the equal rights and integration program for aborigines with one of communal land rights and self determination. The former program of equal rights espoused by Paul Hasluck in the Menzies Government became evidently successful in urban areas where Indigenous Australians -many of mixed race- are successful in all fields of endeavour.
    This success is not matched in Outback communities which live closer to traditional culture and where that culture of demand sharing becomes “humbugging” on communal land facilitated by ‘sit down’ money.
    Fifty years after the election of the far left Whitlam government the election of the far left Albanese government has opened the way to continue the socialist way of communal rights and self determination with separate sovereignty and reparations.

  • Greg Jeffs says:

    I have suggested we could have “Welcome to County”. Get the ‘r’ word out of Welcomes. A Welcome to County could be delivered by any resident of that County whether born there or not. Race, religion, skin colour etc. wouldn’t come into it. We never had Counts but I assume all residents in Australia live in a County. The boundaries would be well recorded which cannot be said for the current Welcomers, who argue about the rights to do Welcomes. I am indigenous to County Murray in southern New South Wales as I was born there. I live in a different part of it today. I would be happy to welcome all to County Murray – but there would be thousands of other “Welcomers” who could do the same.
    Let’s get race out of Welcomes.

  • Citizen Kane says:

    ‘I’ve heard tell that giving favourable treatment to Aboriginal people is not a racially-based thing but an indigenous-based thing. This is simply playing with words. Aboriginal people were a distinct race of people.’

    Indeed. In Chris Kenny’s piece published in the Australian on 28 April (and the subject of a previous article here on QoL) , Kenny had this to say;

    ‘Still, the crucial point is that Indigenous issues and an Indigenous voice are not predicated on any racial characteristics or preferences. The voice is about the original inhabitants and their descendants, a cohort now including myriad ethnic backgrounds interwoven with Indigenous origins. What matters is people’s generational and cultural connection to the original inhabitants – that is not race.’

    If not ‘Race’, then what? As Peter points out, this is simply playing with words – ‘Indigenous’ (which can only have a racial basis) is inserted as a proxy for race – apparently that is problem solved for the likes of Kenny. What replaces a racial definition in Kenny’s rationale is ‘firstism’. Based on this, Peter has good cause to seek reparation from the current UK government for all the cultural tyranny reaped by Romans, Vikings, Normans etc. It’s as equally a jaundiced view of the world as the racial balkanisation that Peter points to. In essence it is no different.

    But Kenny’s cognitive dissonance does not end there. Note how he states that ‘…What matters is people’s generational and cultural connection to the original inhabitants. that is not race’ Oh yeah! And how is generational (hereditary) and cultural connection (kinship) defined then? Through the usual racial definitions – of course. If not, then it is just a free for all process of self-identification and self-appropriation. It takes a special kind of warped logic to arrive at the conclusion that Kenny has above.

    I can’t help but think that Kenny and his ilk, arrive at this confused logic because they don’t understand the basic science behind biological race. Again Kenny states;

    Why harp on about race? It is such an ugly and unnecessary distraction when we are all members of the human race.’

    This oft repeated claim “all part of the same human race” is fundamentally incorrect. We are all part of the same human species – Homo sapien, of which geographically distinct sub-groups are defined as seperate races. Even the Spectator Australia ran a whole article last week perpetuating this fundamental misunderstanding.

    For Taxonomic clarification;
    Hominidae = Family
    sapien =species
    Australian Aboriginal = Race

    It may be the case that in an ever increasingly intermingled world that Homo sapiens will be deemed all one race in time to come, but the racist voice to parliament is one sure fire way of preventing that and what Kenny claims is already the case. Of course we could always start a new taxonomic category – Firstists, Secondists, Thirdists etc etc.

    Where will that end? as Peter says – No where good!

    • rosross says:

      Aboriginal people were not a distinct race even in the times when people made such racial classifications. The records clearly show the British considered the peoples found here in 1788 to be distinctly different as often as not. They talked about Negroid, Polynesian, Indian features and more. They also talked about some parts, WA coast for instance, where Aborigines appeared to have Caucasian influences. The botanist and zoologist, Augustus Oldfield makes reference to this.

      We also know that migration and colonisation of Australia prior to 1788 occurred in different waves of different peoples with the Indian migration around 4,000 years being one of the most recent. The Tasmanian aborigines were noted as being Negroid in appearance and it would appear they were driven south, while a landbridge still existed, by later arrivals.

      So, there was never one unified aboriginal race and today, modern genetics says, with minimal difference, less than 1% between what were once called races, that there are no races beyond the human race. This is not to say there are not variations on those themes but they are not races. We are all humans, or to be correct, Homo Sapien Sapiens.

      The differences which have been called racial are variations on the theme of being human, involving body and facial shapes, skin colour and hair differences, as one finds in any family. These genetic markers do not make a new race. The major difference between peoples is culture and they certainly are marked and distinct.

      The use of the term race in our Constitution comes from the fact that, when it was written, people believed in races. It is a term which should be completely removed in the modern age.

      • Citizen Kane says:

        The same muddled thinking that Kenny displayed, confounding the term Race with the concept of Species.

        ‘So, there was never one unified aboriginal race and today, modern genetics says, with minimal difference, less than 1% between what were once called races, that there are no races beyond the human race. This is not to say there are not variations on those themes but they are not races. We are all humans, or to be correct, Homo Sapien Sapiens.’ – I clearly stated that we are all Homo sapiens, and those ‘variations on the theme’ as you so scientifically termed it, are Races. Hence those from Mongoloid backgrounds are readily discernable and distinct from Caucasian backgrounds.

        Genetic differences define Genus and species not Races. Hence different species cannot interbreed but different Races can. Dogs belong all to the same species yet the different breeds are similar to races (only more pronounced). Race is used to describe distinct morphological and other traits such as skin colour that represent adaptions to geography, climate through relative isolation. Skin colour is a racial differentiation, and these genetic expressions DO constitute racial differences. Race is a sub-group of species – pure and simple, just like kelpies and poodles are a sub-grouping of Canis familiaris displaying different morphology, colour of coat etc etc.

        Furthermore, I never stated that there wasn’t differences across the group broadly described as Australian Aboriginals as is the case across the broader Causcasian group.

        Best you know what you are talking about before trying to lecture others.

  • john mac says:

    I’m 1/16th Canadian Cree/Ojibwe – just wondering if there are reciprocal rights here . If so I can retire early !

  • rosross says:

    If the settlers who created this nation, the first to ever exist on this land, and built the first world nation we have today are asked for rent from descendants of the stone-age hunter-gatherers who were living here in 1788, then surely,


    What a gift the modern democratic nation has been to those primitive peoples called Aborigines and their descendants.

  • Davidovich says:

    Well said, Peter Smith. If only your words could get wider dissemination because there must be thousands, hopefully millions, who would agree with you.

  • Brian Boru says:

    “Aboriginal people deserve to be treated kindly and supportively, as do all Australians whatever their ethnicities and backgrounds.” Yes Peter, could not be more simple. Anything else is racist.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    I read that the Americans have succumbed to the feelings of the very very virtuous, with their own versions, at least the usual culprits, environmentalists, young university students and their radical professors have.
    ‘Indian’ has of course been replaced by the nice sounding ‘Native American’ and ‘land acknowledgements’ when they speak on campus where they imagine that once upon a time Native Americans held sovereign sway. Columbus Day is giving way to observances of Indigenous Peoples Day and there are Indian Tribal types appearing in peoples ancestry, real or imagined, like Blackfoot…..no doubt a ‘cool’ sounding one .
    Haven’t read if they’ve got onto real, revenue earning ‘welcome to country’ ceremonies yet, but as they have a lot more material to work with than our aborigines it’s probably on its way.

    • Daffy says:

      Hilariously, even ‘native American’ is eurocentric. America being named after Amerigo Vespucci. Even the woke seem to be unable to escape history!

  • Jack Rosher says:

    Over my dead body!

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    “‘We are one’ also has a valuable harmonious ring to it…….”. A cutting and succinct letter and congratulations Peter, I enjoyed reading you. I do have one comment, which is why I have taken the liberty to ‘paste’ the line at the start of this poor excuse of a reply. It never ceases to amaze me when people quote what they believe to be our National Anthem and it disappoints me somewhat. A simple question will suffice: Is it even possible to believe that the Socialist government we have now will be so arrogant as NOT to play God Save the King if and when he ever visits our land as our Sovereign. Yes, God Save the King is our National Anthem and it will remain so until either we become a republic or a Queen ascends the throne. Advance Australia Fair is merely our National Song, and certainly not our National Anthem. As the bard said, “What’s in a name?”

Leave a Reply