Bennelong Papers

‘Reconciliation’, Twisted and Redefined

In 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued a “national apology” for the mistreatment of Australia’s indigenous people. Since then, evidence abounds that race relations, far from improving, have grown worse, with one infamous incident seeing an Aboriginal activist cheered when expressing her wish that “Australia be burned to the ground”. The latest despicable display of racial bitterness was NRL star Cody Walker’s unoriginal refusal to sing the national anthem before last night’s State of Origin opener. You would never have guessed that he announced his intention not to sing in the middle of National Reconciliation Week. Perhaps they should re-name it ‘racist virtue-signalling week’.

What the people complaining loudest about ‘white racism’ are actually demanding is obeisance. This week will potentially only serve to deepen resentment and widen divisions between Aussies who really don’t see any differences between us and those with varying fractions of indigenous blood who may or may not hold everyone else guilty for historical wrongs. Fortunately, most non-Aboriginal Australians are sensible enough to overlook these childish fits of racist petulance.

Merriam-Webster defines reconciliation as ‘restoring friendship or harmony’. Reconciliation has never been further from the national grasp than it is now, but there are profound changes that must happen and obstacles which must be removed before it ever can happen.

Genuine apologies need genuine forgiveness

I can’t tell whether it’s the majority or minority of Australians with indigenous heritage, but I do know far too many are clinging to victimhood in a way that makes reconciliation a buzz word, not an achievable goal. Just this morning, on one of the breakfast news shows, an Aboriginal elder nonchalantly mentioned there can “never be forgiveness”. Try reconciling with that attitude.

Nelson Mandela said a refusal to forgive “is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” There can be no moving forward while so many are hopelessly mired in the past. There can be no honest friendship with those who insist on reminding you of what people you don’t know did to other people you never met and holding you responsible for it.

No substitute for personal responsibility

The standard rejection of this sage wisdom by bitter blacktivists cites ongoing “injustices” as justification for constantly picking scabs. But that’s the problem: there will always be immature jerks of deficient character to legitimise the grievance industry. At some stage you’re going to have to put down the poison and stop waiting for the other person to die.

The only person you can control is you. The only attitude you can adjust is yours. Placing all your hopes for reconciliation in behaviours desired of other people is to abdicate your own responsibility and transfer all your power to those people.

There’s no such thing as ‘your truth’

One thing many are calling for in this year’s virtue signalling week is a foundation of truth. The obese elephant in the room though is the omnipresent imposition of a single perspective being offered as objective truth. The implication is that if you dissent from the status quo, you are the problem, and you must be re-educated to understand concepts such as ‘white guilt’, ‘white privilege’, and that all purpose cliche ‘pervasive, systemic racism’. Consequently, the logic goes, you must agree to whatever reparations, no matter how unreasonable, are demanded by the grievance industry. Never mind that frequent inter-tribe invasions, massacres and violence against women were at least as common in pre-white Australia as in the rest of world history. When whites do it, however, it’s unforgivable.

Any race-based solution is racism with lipstick

An objective truth undergirding Western common law is Imago Dei, a Latin phrase meaning every human being is made in the image of God and, as such, is of equal value before Him and before the law. That’s why slavery is wrong, the Holocaust was wrong, segregation and abortion are wrong – all devalue entire classes of humans. That’s why suffrage is right, as are equal-pay laws. There is no natural difference between any two persons’ inherent value, regardless of age, gender, religion or race.

To suggest then that our Constitution should honour one specific ethnic group and no other is to divide Australians by race, something we’ve rightly striven over time to erase. To suggest there should be extra recognition in our parliaments for certain voices, solely because of their race and to the permanent exclusion of all others, is to violate the sacred democratic value of one man/one vote.

Blacktivists hate Australia

There are some people who simply want no part of this nation; they have no affection for Australia in their hearts. They loudly decry the evils of the continent’s settlement by ignorantly branding it an invasion. Some athletes, revelling in the platforms and privileges which go with the elite levels they’ve achieved, even refuse to sing the National Anthem, bitterly claiming it doesn’t represent their “family”.

How are we meant to be reconciled to people who take great pride in utterly rejecting having anything to do with the rest of us? We have a flag that represents an invitation to everyone who wants to be included and which excludes no one. We have an Anthem that rejoices in equal opportunity for all. We have a government that grants every adult equal voice regardless of their identity.

There can never be reconciliation until the voices of mature Australians drown out those who prefer to exploit and prolong division. Maturity requires forgiveness instead of resentment, moving forward without demanding certain conditions from others, accepting that we’re going to have divergent opinions about who done what when, relinquishing a subjective notion of reparative ‘justice’, and happily choosing to be one of us: a functional Australian without a racially-weighted chip on the shoulder.

Whatever its stated intentions, National Reconciliation Week has evoled to target only one side of the racial divide. It makes demands only of white people, and it holds white people exclusively responsible for the rapprochement such an arrangement makes impossible by definition. As such, it dis-empowers black people, locks them in a prison of paternalism, and tells them they are entirely helpless victims dependent on the good will and character of others.

It’s another example of how the ‘progressive’ road is paved with good intentions yet leads nowhere but to traps and pitfalls.

  • padraic

    Resurrecting the past to define the present is the pits. At the end of the 19th century Australia was one of the most urbanised countries on earth and very few people in the cities had anything to do with Aboriginal people and the vote in 1967 showed that the vast majority of Australians wanted to move on and have a unified nation where everyone could reach their potential without race getting in the way. Racism is racism and wanting some ill defined “independence” is indicative of that.


    Kevin Rudd’s unvetted “national apology” helped maintain apartheid in Australia.


    Kevin Rudd’s “national apology” helped maintain apartheid in Australia.


    My turn to apologise. But take your pick.

  • Peter Sandery

    Love the bit about making demands of one side and not the other. Spot on for mine and in my lexicon the exact opposite of the meaning of the word ” reconciliation” – a bit like the word “progressive” has had its meaning changed by the social justice warriors

  • Geoff Sherrington

    My interaction with some of our aborigines started at Pt Keats in 1960. In later years as I worked in the mining sector, frequent visits to our operations at Jabiru (as we named the town we built) and Tennant Ck where we had mined for decades caused normal and inevitable interactions as we employed local people and naturally shared resources like school, swim pool, social club.
    At first, around 1974 for a few years, Jabiru was a non-racist place as we visitors exchanged life stories with the locals, be they cattle station imports or local aborigines or fishermen. We were visitors, me from Sydney, they were locals, blokes were blokes and women were women. It was accurate to use “harmonious”. We were treated to mythical tales of sites with painting, wax sculpture and so on at what are now named “sacred” sites and are often barred to white people.
    Then the academic do-gooders appeared. They seldom sought out the miners who had set up some workable local protocols over the prior few years. They spent a lot of time promising future benefits and riches to the local and regional aborigines. Land Councils were given some unexpectedly strong powers, some at the expense of the miners and their anticipated new wealth. Relationships quickly soured as the professors from Canberra promised cargo cult rewards while preaching hate of the white people who they said had repressed aborigines. Old stories of massacres were revived, some newly exaggerated. In less than a decade, hate replaced harmony. Concessions made by us as miners became expectations, with the cost going up at every turn.
    From about 1986 to 1992, as a part-time task, I was Pres or VP of the NT Chamber of Mines, with a near monthly commute from Sydney. The post involved a lot of communication with Canberra as the NT was not a full State. This post exposed me to a great deal of what really happened behind the scenes in aboriginal affairs. It was dominated by white people with far left views using token aboriginal leaders who lacked the education and intellect to lead, but were cunning enough to take advantage. It was a poisonous sham.
    To the extent that this Top End NT experience extrapolates to Aust overall, so much damage was done in this phase of my close familiarity until the mid 1990s that reversal and recovery are simply not possible in under a new generation. There are can be no new ideas for improvement because all of the classical structures have been tried and found wanting. The damage is deep and can be summarised by 3 catch phrases, grog, cargo cult and propaganda with leftist hatred.
    The big lesson is that ALL legislation involving race is RACIST. There can be no progress until all of it is repealed for a clean slate restart. Geoff

  • lhissink

    Adding to Geoff’s comment, aboriginal heritage surveys in northern Western Australia cost $1500 in 1988 to a prepayment of $40,000 to facilitate the grant of an exploration license, with no on-ground survey, after which additional expensive surveys were required resulting in, as I discovered for one tenement, a total cost of some $250,000 before any field work could be done. If a discovery of an economic mineral deposit was made,. expect the cost to be even greater.

    As for the instance when a prepayment of $40k was required, we simply dropped the tenement rather than pay up.

    As civilised cultures eschew the use of coercion to settle disputes, using legistlated regulations to extract money from the targets is simply euphemised piracy and gangsterism. The political left are simply moral vacuums.

  • Ed King

    In his excellent book, The Strange Death of Europe, Douglas Murray observes how Western peoples have been to made to feel by their own culture that they have been born into original sin. He notes that whereas colonialism is just one middle-ranking sin for contemporary Europeans, it has become Australia’s founding, original sin.

    In Murray’s observation, this guilt narrative, which rests on the premise that Anglo-European Australia was built on massacres and theft of Aboriginal land, is bizarrely welcomed and even desired by Australian society (or, at least, by the chattering class). The result, in this Englishman’s opinion, is that Australia has gone from an optimistic to a far darker place. Murray makes the point that perpetual apologising and self-loathing will achieve nothing in the end, stating:

    “Beyond an appropriate level of historical humility what can actually be achieved by the extremes of such a tendency? Even if Australia had been born in sin, there is nothing that can be done to rectify it, other than – centuries after its founding – for everyone in Australia to be divided out by race and those believed to have descended from the earliest settlers ordered to hand over their wealth to anyone believed (after appropriate genetic testing) to be descended from indigenous peoples. The genetic codes of those of mixed race would perhaps be adjudicated by a genetics court, which – depending on the findings – might then order people to give up some wealth, get a cash windfall or keep a precise amount, depending on their DNA results.”

  • Lawrie Ayres

    I am a month late but I’ve been to Britain and Ireland. I love the history of the place even though it is sometimes horrific. The original inhabitants were overtaken by successive invasions of the real sort where armies clashed and people died in their hundreds if not thousands. Where property was confiscated to pay off favourites and people killed for being the wrong faith. I did not see any reconciliation movement however but I did see a magnificent modern society where people took pride in their roots but also in where they now were.

    The Aborigines (part and partial) here do not realise they have the ability to enjoy a good life if they ever decide to embrace it. I’ll warrant Cody Walker does not give up the luxuries bestowed by sport nor does he eschew the white mans medicine when injured nor the white mans TV or any other of white mans inventions. In Bath I marvelled at the engineering ability of the Romans 2000 years ago and recalled the primitive humpies of the Aborigines long after the arrival of whites in Australia. They seem to have a desire to revert to humpies when given houses even today as floors are removed for firewood.

    Finally I think the Left use Aborigines to drive a wedge between sections of our community so they have become useful idiots of Marxism.

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