A Curt ‘Thank You, Now Get Lost’

The wheels of the defence bureaucracy grind exceeding slow, as we all know.  In response to many letters and emails regarding the proposed desecration of the Australian War Memorial, I finally received a response to my October 4 letter to the Chief of Navy, VADM Mark Hammond AM.

I was grateful to get even this, as it is only the second acknowledgement I have received from any of the Memorial Council member or members of Parliament to whom I wrote on this matter.  But that’s about the best of it. The response was actually written by Admiral Hammond’s staff officer, Commander Jorge McKee CSM. 

Below is my reply, but I must first note that I was somewhat miffed at the style of his letter.  Let me explain.  In the Army there is a discipline called Staff Duties. It covers, inter alia, the protocols around letter writing.  My letter was an official letter to Admiral Hammond – I addressed him by his full rank and name and signed the letter similarly.  His reply should also have been an official letter and, indeed, it is so stamped at the top and bottom.  However, Commander McKee’s salutation was a handwritten ‘Dear Peter’.  This makes it, if I remember correctly, what is termed a demi-official letter.  This might seem a small nit-picking point but what it told me is that I was not deemed sufficiently important to receive an official response from the great man himself.  That offended me, which might explain the somewhat acerbic nature of my response below:

Dear Admiral Hammond,
On 4th October I wrote to you expressing my concern that The Australian War Memorial Council chair, Dr Brendan Nelson, revealed the Memorial’s governing council had decided they would have a “much broader, a much deeper depiction and presentation of the violence committed against Indigenous people, initially by British, then by pastoralists, then by police, and then by Aboriginal militia”. 

On 20th October I received a reply from your Staff Officer, Commander McKee, in which he advised me that you had asked him to pass on your thanks for my letter.  That appears to be the sum total of your response to my concern.

Commander McKee told me that he was confident that I would appreciate ‘that there will be a wide range of views on this subject throughout the serving, former serving, and general community’.  His confidence in this was not misplaced.  I do recognize there will be different opinions, however, that does not mean that I accept that all of these views are of equal merit. 

Commander McKee also attempted to reassure me that it is his ‘expectation that these views will be communicated to and considered by all of the members of the Australian War Memorial Council’.  With all respect to Commander McKee, I have to say that his expectations are of no interest to me whatsoever.

What is of interest to me is how you, as an ex-officio member of the Council, can reconcile depictions of ‘violence committed against Indigenous people’ with the charter of the Memorial which essentially is:

to maintain and develop the national memorial referred to in subsection 6(1) of the Australian War Memorial Act 1962 as a national memorial of Australians who have died:

(i)  on or as a result of active service; or

(ii)  as a result of any war or warlike operations in which Australians have been on active service;

I would be grateful for your substantive response to this question.

Yours Sincerely
etc etc

You might wonder why I am so worked up about this issue.  It’s not just about the War Memorial, important though that is.  It is about the ‘aboriginification’ (for want of a better word) of every aspect of our society.

We see it in the display of the Aboriginal flag outside every public building in the land, in the constant welcomes to country, the acknowledgements of traditional owners and elders and so on ad nauseam.

Our nation, a British nation based upon British traditions and institutions, owes nothing whatsoever to indigenous or Aboriginal tradition or heritage.  Yet it is being brown-washed with a superficial ochre-tinged veneer of wokeness and virtue signalling.

An article by Noel Pearson in last Weekend Australian exemplifies this vacuous thinking.  Here are three extracts from that article with my reaction:

“Until the First Peoples are afforded our rightful place, we are a nation missing its most vital heart.”

 Absolute tosh.  What is their ‘rightful place’ other than citizens equal in opportunity to all others?  Which they are already.  And in what way are ‘first nations people’ the vital heart of our nation, i.e, an entity without which we could not survive?

“A Yes vote in the voice referendum will guarantee that Indigenous peoples will always have a say in laws and policies made about us. It will afford our people our rightful place in the constitutional compact. This constitutional partnership will empower us to work together towards better policies and practical outcomes for Indigenous communities.”

Absolute tosh.  The ‘constitutional partnership’ is between distinct political entities — the Commonwealth government and the state governments.  It is nothing more than a power-sharing agreement and a rule book for the Commonwealth Parliament. And if Aboriginal people find having special laws made to benefit them objectionable, why not campaign for the abolition of Section 51 (xxvi)?

“Mutual recognition will enable us to acknowledge three stories: the ancient Indigenous heritage that is Australia’s foundation; the British institutions built upon it; and the adorning gift of multicultural migration.”

Absolute tosh.  Australia as a nation owes a debt to Aboriginal people – primarily that all of them should attain at least the minimum standard of living that we would regard as First World. Australia as a nation owes nothing to Aboriginal culture or tradition.  We are a nation built on British traditions and institutions. 

Peter O’Brien’s latest book, Villian or Victim? A defence of Sir John Kerr and the Reserve Powers, can be ordered here

25 thoughts on “A Curt ‘Thank You, Now Get Lost’

  • Peter Smith says:

    Great polemical stuff Peter. When Putin refers to the decadent West, you have to think he has a point.
    ‘aboriginification’ is simply one aspect of it in Australia. It wouldn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s part of a general malady undermining who we are, our pride, values and traditions, our history and peerless accomplishments, the family, Christianity, free speech…
    Maybe it can be called cultural Marxism? I don’t know. Personally I think it’s demonic.

  • NarelleG says:

    Thank you Peter – you have put pen to paper to express how may of us feel.

    [ Australia as a nation owes a debt to Aboriginal people – primarily that all of them should attain at least the minimum standard of living that we would regard as First World. Australia as a nation owes nothing to Aboriginal culture or tradition. We are a nation built on British traditions and institutions. ]

  • Blair says:

    “…the ancient Indigenous heritage that is Australia’s foundation”
    Perhaps a reader can give me some or at least one example of this heritage which affects the the ordinary lives of Australians.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Well done Peter and spot on as usual, thank you.
    On the picture of W.C.G. Saunders above, It is my understanding that no full blood aborigines were ever allowed to enlist in the 1st world war, as it was feared the casualty rates would severely reduce their population. Only later was this rule relaxed to allow those who had at least one parent of European ancestry to enlist,and there were not many of them.
    Does Saunders fall into this later category I wonder ?
    Of course it was different for those of Malay or Chinese ancestry who were allowed to enlist and there were also very few of them.

  • vicjurskis says:

    The idea of an Aboriginal flag is equally ridiculous as the concept of ‘First Nations’. The notion of A Voice is stupid racist and Un-Australian. Although Australia as a nation owes nothing to Aboriginal culture, Australia as an ecological landscape owes everything. Unfortunately wokeism is perversely being used to stuff up our current forest management.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Thank you all above for your support.

    What I call ‘aboriginification’, Gary Johns, in his terrific new book, calls ‘aboriginal colonization’. And he is dead right.

    And kudos to Marc Hendrickx for calling this out in relation to our natural environment – Uluru and Mt Warning. I wonder how long it will be before Gulaga (near Narooma in my neck of the woods) will also be affected?

    • vicjurskis says:

      Good onya Peter,
      i didn’t realise we are neighbours. Mt. Dromedary/Gulaga has already been affected by wokeification. I don’t mind the name change. Captain Cook had no way of knowing the Aboriginal name when he put it on the map. Surveyor General Mitchell always used Aboriginal place names where he could, for the simple reason that whitefellas coming along later would have the advantage of being able to get directions from the locals. Mitchell helped to develop the colony that became Australia by promoting the best of both worlds. Changing the name of Mt. Dromedary, taking it out of multiple use for all and handing it back to Aboriginal people has done nothing to improve its management. As Australians, we should celebrate its black and white history including Aboriginal management, mining and forestry. It is now ugly – dying eucalypts and viney scrub consequent to our Lock It Up and Let it Burn conservation paradigm endorsed by the divisive green ideologues and blacktivists who are destroying our society.

      • NarelleG says:

        @Vic Jurskis – thank you for this – such a simple way to explain all the aboriginal placenames.
        It does amuse me how current descendants change some yet again as they say it wasn’t an aboriginal name – with a slight change to the spelling!

        [Surveyor General Mitchell always used Aboriginal place names where he could, for the simple reason that whitefellas coming along later would have the advantage of being able to get directions from the locals.]

  • rabel111 says:

    After a decade of having indigenous culture and beliefs shoved into every part of their education, many Australian students are fed up with a culture that demands so much, but offers nothing but scorn and hate in return. A culture that insists that all other Australians are not true Australians is nothing to be proud of.

    • rosross says:

      There is no Aboriginal culture. There are various tribal cultures which are hybrids of Aboriginal and European developed across more than two centuries, found in remote communities but they are plural not singular.

      There never was an Aboriginal culture in any unified sense other than stone-age and after two centuries there most certainly is not now. We have now thousands of variations on those original themes and all of them are more Anglo-European than Aboriginal.

  • Another Richard Harrison says:

    “You might wonder why I am so worked up about this issue.”

    No, I don’t wonder that at all. I wonder why so few people are worked up about this latest attempt to destroy our nation’s heritage, to desecrate the memory of our ancestors, and to deny the living the opportunity fully to express gratitude to the people of previous generations who did so much for us.

  • Paul W says:

    Excellent work, Peter.
    But the correct word is Aboriginalisation – to make something Aboriginal.

    I believe there are many who are fed up, but we simply have no central political authority to fight for us, ironically that makes us like the Australian Aborigines, the real prehistoric ones that is.

  • rosross says:

    I think many Australians are tired of having the generally fake Aboriginality shoved down our throats. Yes, there were stone-age peoples living here when the British arrived and yes many of them assimilated and played a part in the founding of this country but nothing out of Aboriginal societies created this nation and the hybrid remnants which remain in Aboriginal communities are backward and destructive.

    There was nothing about Aboriginal cultures in 1788 which was any different to any other stone-age culture in human history and very little, if anything, worth retaining. Yes, it was interesting and we must thank the literate Europeans for recording languages, beliefs, systems, images of this world, which the
    British saw as a fascinating insight into primitive human origins.

    Just as we work today to help less developed peoples join the modern world, so that was the goal of the British from 1788. The first Aborigine to accept an iron axe, or steal one, was assimilating. Some were too lazy or unintelligent to embrace the new world which entered their existence, but most were not.

    Just as the Britons had to ask, ‘what did the Romans do for us,’and the answer was a great deal, so too must those pushing the invented Aboriginality of today, ask, what did the British do for us, and the answer is a great deal indeed.

  • call it out says:

    Peter, perhaps there is another way to approach this.

    Prior to, and for awhile after British settlement, many aboriginal tribes were at war with each other, protecting their land and tribal interests, in this place we have come to call Australia.

    Let’s ask the wise heads at the AWM to offer their plans to acknowledge all the dead who fought in Australia, before British settlement. Many more died fighting in the pre-colonial period that during the post colonial conflicts.

    And if not, why not?

    • pmprociv says:

      Good point. Should the AWM go down this track, why not then include all the wars fought between all the different tribes? Most of these obviously were never documented, but references to some particularly nasty ones still survive in oral histories. They should at least be generally acknowledged, for lots of “soldiers” (and their victims) died in them. In fact, such ongoing traditional warfare explains some of the violence in remote Aboriginal communities even today.

      • Greg Jeffs says:

        Would it not be true that the convicts, settlers, native police etc. who engaged in conflict were simply acting in accordance with customary ‘payback’ law? You do something to me or mine and I can retaliate against you or yours as I see fit. The ‘massacre map’ could then be seen as a celebration of the triumph of customary law until such customary law was eventually overcome by modernity.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Well done, Peter. I share your contempt for the Admiral’s apparent ignorance of the need for those little courtesies that were drummed into us back in the good old days when the JSPs(AS)101 and 102 were holy writ.
    I despair.

  • Nullius in Verba says:

    The problem with Aboriginal brownwashing is that there is basically no substance to wash with.

    A challenge for you: Name me an aboriginal invention or any piece of aborigine-derived knowledge that wasn’t already possessed by Captain Cook before he arrived.

    OK – I’m buying the boomerang.

    Let’s try again then: Name me an aboriginal invention or any piece of aborigine-derived knowledge (that you don’t routinely live without) that wasn’t already possessed by Captain Cook before he arrived.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Not even the boomerang which was neither invented by Australian aborigines nor exclusive to them.

  • john mac says:

    If we wish to connect the dots , as I always do , the full court press for “The Voice” is well underway – A tram in Adelaide covered in dot painting with the words “Our culture , our voice” or to the like , a govt car also festooned with aboriginal art , and actually working for the “Reconciliation” (nice gig if you can get it!”) , The ABC led AFL non-scandal at Hawthorn , with a “woman to be named later” now in the mix , the supressing of 11 and 12 y/o’s identities after a police chase joyride also here in Adelaide , the ABC’s insistence on naming all suburbs or states with “Traditional ” ones , as apparently the indigenous way back referred to to them this way , the insertion of aboriginal content into the ABC Classical channel, The AFL Grand Final Farce etc etc . We are being gaslighted daily to soften up our hard hearts to “Heal’ the nation while land and moral authority is headed in one direction.

    • pmprociv says:

      Yep, this incessant, mindless deluge of “acknowledgement of original custodians etc.”, “welcome to country” and so on can have only one end-point: “Well, when are you going to hand it all back?” Or at least start paying rent for its occupation and usage? Like an insidious, spreading and metastasising malignancy — and it’s not like we didn’t see it coming (what’s that road they paved with good intentions?). I suppose one could take personal advantage of this trend by preemptively changing race and ticking the indigenous box . . . oh, someone else has already thought of that?

  • 27hugo27 says:

    Yes pmprociv, and the income streams will be myriad. “Welcome to country” may as well mean “Hand us your wallet” as entrance fees to all parks and sites will be charged, or denied access out of spite, sit down money even more accessible, they will be well paid to lecture us unto the future. What ever happened to “To the Victor, go the spoils”?

  • Louis Cook says:

    Thank you Peter. I am going to share this article, complete with comments wherever I can. It is discussion like this that makes QUADRANT a very worthwhile subscription.

  • Tony Tea says:

    Peter, if you are at all worried about your blood pressure, don’t listen to last night’s Little Wireless Program in which the man in black interviewed Rachel Perkins about her TV series series The Australian Wars.

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