In comments below Dave Pellowe’s essay, “Reconciliation, twisted and redefined“, Quadrant reader Geoff Sherrington describes how everything went wrong. A mining-industry veteran who, among his other achievements, was part of the team that found the Ranger uranium deposit, he writes from personal experience:
My interaction with some of our Aborigines started at Port 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 Creek, 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 and 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 they 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 alternately president or vice-president 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 experience extrapolates to Australia 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 three staples: grog, cargo cult and propaganda imbued with leftist hatred.
The big lesson is that all legislation involving race is itself racist. There can be no progress until all of it is repealed for a clean slate restart.
There are further comments on Aboriginal grievance and manufactured “truths” below Marc Hendrickx’s Climb the Rock while you still can.
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