Bennelong Papers

Culture, like Nature, Abhors a Vaccum

Many Australians, especially those under 40, are struggling to search for a new national identity. They may not realise it, but in the face of decades of multiculturalism we have lost much of our Anglo-Celtic heritage, now interwoven within a variety of races and cultures. Whilst this has brought many advantages, the question arises ‘Who and what are Australians now’?

What is Australia, and what does it mean to be an Australian in 2021? It seems that pictures of old Aborigines standing on one leg, and boomerangs made in China, just don’t cut it any more as symbols, however hackneyed, of Australian identity. Neither does the bronzed ANZAC of Gallipoli mean much to many New Australians who cannot identify with that distant period in our history. We have moved on. The restricted immigration policies that ended in the Seventies today go unmourned, but they nevertheless gave us a sense of cohesion and  belonging within a British heritage. However, over the last 60 years that sentiment has been in terminal decline and is now all but lost. Multiculturalism sealed its fate.

There is now a thirst for something more, especially amongst the young. It appears the understandable lack of any homogeneity between the vast array of Australian ethnicities and cultures means they seek a more inclusive future by identifying with this country’s ancient past. The remarkable popularity for Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu, adopted as a school text and honoured with awards and reverential author interviews, is perhaps a case study  in the need to fill the void with something, even if it be no better than a mountebank’s scam. Do we really need to throw the baby out with the bathwater? Do we need to toss aside our British heritage under the weight of multiculturalism? It appears so. Indeed, to be of British heritage, and an older white male at that, is to be earmarked as a member of one of the few groups in modern Australia against which any slander is not merely acceptable but guaranteed to hailed with admiration and applause.

In our struggle for a new identity to clarify who we are, both to ourselves and to the wider world, our search for meaning appears to be a retreat to our earliest origins, to create a new Aboriginal overlay to everything. As a result we now give serious credence to creation myths and legends that are somehow seen as significant to our heritage and culture. Whereas previously they were merely of curious interest with no literal or scientific meaning, they are now revered as our unique collective ‘creation story’ which we are all supposed to believe  and share, and which increasingly receive legislative protection.

That’s what the ABC, SBS and NITV are clearly trying to create – a new ‘Aboriginal’ identity for all Australians; to create a new place for us in the world, and forcing it upon all Australians whether we like it or not. This media-driven reformation makes us all identify, if not as Aborigines ourselves, but for and with Aborigines, as a unified ‘Aboriginal’ nation. Meanwhile, attempts to wipe away all vestiges of our once proud British ‘colonial’ past now divide the nation as activists and the media attempt to remake us into their idea of what our new image and identity should be. The new term is to be an ‘ally’ of Aboriginal people. And if you’re lucky enough to be a middle-class urban ‘First Australian’ then you’re in pole position to take advantage of the new largesse. Never has there been a better time to be an Aborigine.

In this new post-modern era, substantive history is ignored and revised, objective truth doesn’t matter because your truth is not my ‘truth’. Facts are juxtaposed against alternate ‘facts’, and objective analysis is of no consequence because it’s only your opinion. Only propaganda, emotions and the moral high ground matter in this battle for the remaking of Australia. The harsh reality of Aboriginal paleolithic existence in pre-European Australia must be suppressed and re-written, with fantasy peddled as fact, like Bruce Pascoe’s prosaic yet entirely erroneous claims that Aborigines lived in a settled organised agrarian ‘civilisation’ prior to the arrival of the British. These falsehoods are peddled to the unwary masses and proudly supported by ‘your ABC’, all in the name of inventing a new identity for a nation that has lost its way.

How are we to understand this? Purloining phrases like ‘First Nations’ from the Canadians, because in reality Australia never had any Aboriginal ‘nations’, and appropriating the Black Lives Matter slogans and campaigns from America that do not apply to Australia because our forebears never imported slaves from Africa, give the lie to these campaigns. And yet this overseas terminology is, ironically, being culturally appropriated by those who seek to strengthen their very weak case, erroneously applying it to our Aboriginal past.

It is entirely understandable that the early settlers of the 1850’s to 1890’s thought that these poor unfortunates, these literally Stone Age peoples and their base culture, would naturally and inevitably die out – a distant anachronism to the modern world, and many Aborigines clearly felt the same way too, believing they as a people were doomed to simply fade away. It didn’t happen. Victoria’s census of  1877 counted 1,067 Aboriginal people (being 774 full-descent and 293 mixed-descent). By 1901 there were 652 Aborigines left, and by 1927 only 514. Yet by the early 1950’s there were about 1,300 Aborigines now remaining in Victoria.1 Indeed, in 1932 the Aborigines Board reported that “while the ‘full bloods’ were declining, the ‘half castes’ were maintaining their numbers.”2 In fact, the numbers of mixed-descent Aborigines was increasing. As of the 2016 Census, there were an astonishing 47,788 Victorians (.08 per cent of the population) who now identify as being of Aboriginal descent.

The resurgence of 46,500 Victorian Aborigines in the intervening 65 years, virtually all of whom of mixed-descent, has been nothing short of remarkable, greatly accelerating from the Eighties with the acceptance of the tripartite definition of who is an Aborigine. During that same period of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, immigration and Aboriginal growth and empowerment have neatly converged and coalesced in the search for a new Australian identity.

Further, early Australia’s education of Aborigines proved to be a two-edged sword. Whilst Aboriginal education was seen as vitally important to bringing Aborigines into the modern era, such education nevertheless brought new problems. The Aborigines Board candidly noted in 1902 that “it is a much more difficult matter to deal with twenty educated blacks than four times that number of the original and totally uneducated people.”4 Aboriginal people have had children with European settlers and become educated and organised, with mixed-descent Aborigines aided by their white allies proving to be a formidable political force in modern times. The rise in numbers and the activist nature of some Aborigines and their non-Aboriginal supporters has combined with post-modern Marxist education, immigration at saturation levels and a resultant Australian search for new meaning and identity.

Australia’s newly empowered middle-class mixed-descent Aborigines have spawned a multi-million dollar industry to ‘take back their country’. Having become increasingly educated and finding wide support within educational institutions, governments and their bureaucracies, they now want ‘their’ country back. ‘Always Was – Always Will Be’, ‘Aboriginal Sovereignty – Never Ceded’, and ‘Pay The Rent’, all heavily promoted by the ABC, SBS and NITV and eagerly snapped up, swallowed and supported by many gullible and naive people, are clear indicators as to where this is heading. State governments across the country are falling all over themselves to bring it about, most notably in Victoria.

In many ways, Aborigines have now become a pawn in a much larger game of power and control of which many are not even aware. Promoted by clearly socialist interests with a divisive anti-capitalist, anti-government, anti-white, anti-European agenda, guilt-ridden non-Aboriginal apologists are happily acquiescing to their demands, no matter how ludicrous or unreasonable. Unfortunately, over the last three decades most young Australians have been spoon-fed the ‘invasion = colonisation’ and ‘frontier wars/genocide’ mantra from primary school through to university. Education is a powerful thing, and whoever controls education controls the future. Is it any wonder why we are at this crisis point today? 

So how are we to understand the annual Australia Day fracas, which this year saw fewer flags and much more parading of victimhood and spruiking of Pascoe-esque piffle? We are in the midst of a clash of the old and the new, of the informed and the ignorant. One “respected Taungurung Elder” is quoted as saying “Captain James Cook took our people and slaughtered them. He was not a good person.” The truth is that Cook slaughtered no one, was indeed a remarkably good person and was himself killed by natives of another culture some nine years before the First Fleet even set sail. What are we to say in the face of such blatant falsehood and ignorance? Yet this is what is being taught to the young and believed by many, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike. How can this happen?

Australia’s search for a new ‘post-British’ identity is laudable; yes, it’s perhaps time that we moved forward, but at what cost? How do we build a common identity in which we all can share? Surely not by tearing down the past or reinventing it to be what it never was in an attempt to shape and control the future. We cannot become unified by handing over vast tracts of public land and assets to small groups of select people to be administered by newly formed and taxpayer-funded Aboriginal quangos. Nor can we be unified by giving both credence and influence to that same group of people, who are in reality just like the rest of us. This is a recipe for division and resentment that will poison us for decades to come.

Whilst Aboriginal separatism is widely lauded by many at the moment, all that can be said is ‘be careful what you wish for’. We are yet to see how all this will all play out once such developments become more widespread, more widely understood and more firmly entrenched. Given that most of us are indigenous to this country – we were born here and have nowhere else to go – are we all one people? Or will there now be two tiers of Australians – those with a slim genetic connection to ancient Aborigines, and then the rest of us?

Dr David Barton has been following and working in the area of Aboriginal affairs for the last five decades

 

Further reading:

Broome, R. (2005). Aboriginal Victorians. Crows Nest. NSW: Allen and Unwin. Pp 147, 194, 209 & 285.

ibid. p 216.

 https://vpsc.vic.gov.au/html-resources/aboriginal-cultural-capability-toolkit/

 op cit. p 195.

Marysville Triangle News (2021) Vol. 47. No. 3. (29 January). Marysville, Vic: Lions Club of Marysville. p 2.

11 comments
  • Doubting Thomas

    Dr Barton has described our situation well. However, I question his use of the term “education” in discussing the origins of the confusion of our national identity. To my mainly self-educated mind, our problem for many years now seems to be an almost total lack of education, if that word can be defined as the acquisition of knowledge, at least in the humanities. Judging by the mainstream and online social media, opinion is the main stock in trade of our tertiary education sector, and very little of that seems to be informed by relevant facts. Indoctrination is not education, and we really need to clean out those veritable Augean stables.

  • Petronius

    I propose that if you did a reckoning of the population of Australia which was of mainly Anglo-Celtic descent you would find it amounted to over 60 percent. When you add to this the critical national attributes of the English language, the British-derived institutions in politics, law, education and faith and the vital cultural connections with the UK and other Anglo-phone nations the reality is that Australia remains substantially Anglo-Celtic in style and substance.

    Besides this, as the other nationalities and ethnicities go into the melting pot they come up somewhat Anglo-Celtic as well. Despite the Left’s huffing and puffing to blow British-Australia down and establish a faux Aboriginal-styled nation (whatever that is) it will not succeed in the middle or long term.

  • Stephen Due

    This is what happens when you have a socialist (state) education system run (predictably) by progressive socialists. State education is inevitably the primary instrument used to indoctrinate children. It is wrong structurally because it transfers responsibility for the education of the child from the parent to the government. Conservatives ought to be building a bigger and stronger independent education sector, including home schooling, and working to limit and eventually dismantle state schools.

  • Farnswort

    Despite the claim that multiculturalism stands for the worth of each culture, it has always been a lop-sided, anti-majoritarian, anti-British movement in Australia. Eric Kaufmann has dubbed this “asymmetrical multiculturalism”: ethnicity and cultural attachments as wonderful for minorities, poisonous for majorities.

    A well-written and important piece – thank you Dr Barton. Anglo-Celtic Australia has indeed suffered a complete collapse in cultural confidence over the past half a century. Deprived of a positive, meaningful identity and largely denied knowledge of their own cultural heritage, it is hardly surprising that many younger (Anglo-Celtic) Australians now idealise the cultures and traditions of others.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I certainly idealise Italian coffee culture.

  • Farnswort

    Careful, Thomas. Expressing fondness for a European culture is basically tantamount to espousing “white supremacy” in the eyes of the woke left.

  • Harry Lee

    Yes well, nothing can be done to save place, can it.
    First, there’s the people who always say something funny to divert their own and others’ attention from the looming collapse of the civil order.
    But more significant, there’s those who reckon that the Rest will mostly embrace Anglo-Celtic ways.
    Listen, one reason why Australia is in the bad situation it is in is this:
    Too many Irish in Australia have devoted themselves to gaining power by expressing their ancestral grievances against the English.
    And while Indians, here or anywhere, would be nothing without the English/British occupation of India, they are not, in sufficient numbers, embracing the Anglo ways -they are carrying on with Indian ways, incl arranged marriage -and also with rather more corrosive behaviours.
    When we add in the Chinese and other Asians, the black Africans, the PIs, and Muslims from everywhere, what we have is:
    Certainly not citizens seeking to build the nation, but rather, mobs of residents seeking to gain everything they can for themselves, for their families already here, and for their extended families which the ALP-Green alliance promises to bring in, just as soon as they gain full control of the immigration/refugee systems.
    Making jokes about this is OK -if the jokes do not divert attention from the pressing need for Anglos -and other whites who comprehend the importance of the Anglo order of things- to wake up and fight like hell, if they want a decent place for their descendants to live in.
    But hey -who cares about their descendants, if in doing something hard to ensure their descendnats’ future involves not making jokes, and/or giving up their own time and their own money, giving up their their boozing, their TV viewing, and their international sight-seeing when the Chinese plague is brought under control.

  • Harry Lee

    Yes, many/most members of the mixed descent Aboriginal mob have embraced full parasitism.
    But this is just one expression of the ideology pushed for many decades now by the ALP, the Greens, and by their allies in the public services, in Big Media (starting with the ABC and SBS), in the state education systems and universities. And this anti-human-flourishing ideology is now fully-powered by Big Tech.
    The various forces of the Big State declare that parasitism must be accpeted as the legitimate and correct way of life not only for persons with a single drop of Aboriginal blood, but for everyone who applies -of any race, colour, creed.
    And anyone who does not embrace parasitism is demonised as being a member of, or a slave of the white patriarchy.
    Note that all of this is enabled by Big Law -there is nothing in the Constitution that provides for non-parasites to protect themselves from parasites.
    Note the consequences:
    Not only are there increasing numbers of native-born Australians embracing parasitism, but foreign-born Anti-Westernists are also flooding into Australia, securing wealth-transfers from the public purse (that is, funds created by non-parasites), are given protection by the AHRC and other Big State agencies funded by non-parasites, and are now well-advanced in the project of putting Australia under the control of foreign and transnational political and/or cultural and/or religious forces.
    The Australian Constitution does not provide for remedy -if indeed a remedy were seen necessary by non-parasites who are yet to wake up to the imminent loss of Proper Australian sovereignty, and full and final confiscation of their personal wealth and freedoms.
    The Dummy Country.

  • Harry Lee

    It is obvious that Aborigines, of whatever admixture of other races, are going nowhere good.
    Awful, but that is the inevitable consequence of choices made by Aborigines-of-influence and their white guides.
    Meanwhile, it is now necessary for whites to come together in groups -and later in an official society- aimed to promote and to protect white flourishing.
    There are many factors that limit white flourishing.
    Some impedients to white flourishing are based in badly-conceived anti-Pom sentiment.
    Others are results of corrosive, destructive multiculturalism and its enforcements in law and in govt agencies, starting with, but not limited to the AHRC.
    Yet others derive from the propensity among many white Australians to avoid learning anything much about what is involved in the flourishing life, and what must be done to ensure that whites have a future of any merit.
    Whites must now sober-up, wise-up, toughen-up -or be enslaved.

  • lhackett01

    Dr David Barton, an excellent article.

    Multiculturalism in Australia is destroying what was once a cohesive society. It is divisive. Many immigrant communities since the middle 20th century now live in what are essentially cloistered groups, interacting with other cultural or racial groups only as necessary.

    How ridiculous is it that the Government needs to advertise important information about Covid19 vaccinations, for example, in 30 or so different languages in the hope that enough Australians will get the message. The English language should be sufficient and a working competence in English must be a prerequisite to immigrate to Australia and people living in this Country must be expected to converse mostly in English. Being in a public space surrounded by people speaking a variety of foreign languages is isolating and now typical of the fragmentation of our society.

    The Aborigine and his ascendancy to supposed racial and cultural superiority within Australia is based on deliberate distortions of fact by Pascoe and most of the ‘intelligentsia’ and other post-modernists. It relies on a maxim of Joseph Goebbels, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    This is what is happening with respect to the Aborigine. Anyone trying to counter the populist propaganda is shut down. A case in point is the article in The Australian newspaper, “A long way from the Stolen Generations but still further to go”, The Australian, February 13-14, 2021, by Ken Wyatt. My response, not published, was “The distortion of Aboriginal history continues. Deconstructionists produce stories of stolen generations meant to tug at heartstrings but avoid the overlying truth.

    By the 1800’s, the British had adopted a policy of establishing officers as Protectors of Aborigines. It was the duty of a Protector to exercise a general supervision and care over all matters affecting the welfare of the aborigines; to distribute materials and food; to ensure shelter for sick, aged and infirm aborigines; for the custody, maintenance, and education of the children of aborigines; including to protect Aborigines against immorality, injustice, imposition and fraud.

    It was in accordance with these duties and the justifiable concern about the welfare of Aboriginal and mixed race children that the British removed some children from their families. The concerns were three-fold:

    a. If the children were left to be absorbed into Aboriginal culture, to be declared Aborigines, then the Aboriginal population would expand at a high rate and would need ever increasing special treatment. This was in the context at the time that Aborigines were thought to be dying out. Their number had reduced from about 700,000 at the time of settlement to about 75,000 largely because of disease. It was also in the time when a homogeneous racial society was considered best; that is, at the time of the White Australia Policy.

    b. The Aboriginal lifestyle, when compared with that of the British, was seen to be impoverished and undesirable. Given that half-caste children were half white, the decision was made to improve the lives of these children by removing them to institutions that would care for them better. Many ‘removed’ Aboriginal children were trained for domestic service. The question needs to be asked, did this improve their lives when the alternative was likely to be malnourishment, abuse, neglect, or death?

    c. Many Aboriginal groups killed babies, often girls, when the baby was sickly or malformed, when food was scarce, and for other reasons related to survival of the group. Half-castes were killed too within some groups. A half-caste baby meant that the mother had broken customary law by mating outside permitted relationships. Literature from that time suggests infanticide may have occurred reasonably commonly among Indigenous Australians in all areas of Australia prior to European settlement. An 1866 issue of ‘The Australian News for Home Readers’ informed that, “the crime of infanticide is so prevalent amongst the natives that it is rare to see an infant”.

    Children of any race in Australia are removed from their families if they are assessed as being unable to live safely at home because they are at risk of being physically or emotionally abused or neglected, or their parents are unable to provide adequate care. Today, Aboriginal children are 8 to 10 times as likely as non-Aboriginal children to have received child protection services.

    The time has surely come when Aborigines should stop blaming other than themselves for their plight.”

    Try getting this message publicised.

  • Harry Lee

    lhackett01, you make strong and valid points.
    The group-think -of the anti-reality/fake/false virtue variety- that now animates Aboriginal communities and their White/Other guides/enablers, is destructive not only for Aborigines, but also for the rest of the Australian populace.
    When added to the anti-Reality policies and resource-destruction driven by immigration/refugee inflow of anti-Westernists and the consequent, inevitable parasitism and security costs, and the ALP’s embrace of China/the CCP, Australia is well and truly sunk.

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