Friday 21 May 2010

BOB GELDOLF: Australia's treatment of Aborigines is 'economically stupid and absurd'

Sir Bob Geldolf is in Brisbane, making some bold calls about Australia's treatment of Aboriginals. He was speaking for the Generation One project, that is aiming to ensure that this is the last generation to suffer Indigenous disparity.

Cairns historian Dr Timothy Bottoms says maybe we should refrain from being parochially precious and take a serious and long look at our history and genuinely be proud of our Aborigines.

A massive national television campaign depicts eight out of ten jobless Indigenous people are unable to work because of illiteracy, alcohol or other psychological problems, and in some rural areas, 70% of children do not regularly attend school. The Indigenous unemployment rate is around three times higher than that of non-Indigenous people.

Geldolf labelled Australia's treatment of Aborigines as 'economically stupid' and 'absurd':
  • "Australia has exiled indigenous Australians from the nation. They were forced to be exiled from themselves and that must stop.

    You need to pull them back into themselves because you've acknowledged them as being. The spiritual core of yourselves will only be filled when this is done.

    Contribute wholeheartedly to [the] fight to end indigenous disparity.

    I said on the radio back in 1984 that to die of want in a world of surplus is not only intellectually absurd, it is morally repulsive. Well let's add economically illiterate to that.

    You've removed from your society of 'having a go' 500,000 thousand of your own. That is absurd. It's economically stupid.

    Just like those 44 million African children (given access to education from the Live Aid campaign) will be a massive driving force in the world economy, so your own Aboriginal people require to be allowed in. The access point is education."

Cairns historian Dr Timothy Bottoms says, that a foreigner like Sir Bob Geldof has the nerve to identify that ‘Australia has exiled indigenous Australians from the nation’ is not an effrontery, but an insight that we should have recognised ages ago.

"He’s absolutely bloody right!" Dr Bottoms says. "What he does not go into is one of the pivotal reasons for this."

"That is, the conspiracy of silence that pervades the 20th Century portrayal of Australian history disguised and hidden behind the ‘Pioneering Myth’ scenario," Tim Bottoms says. "Not surprisingly, white Australia did not, and does not, want to acknowledge the true extent of the carnage wrought on indigenous Australia."

Bottoms says that whether from guilt or shame, the traditional owners of Australia are portrayed as savages, simpletons, and horror of horrors outright cannibals.
"If you want to justify your actions, denigrate your neighbour and paint them as barbaric gustatorial eaters of human beings – especially little children. Without understanding local languages - which are negatively portrayed as ‘dialects’ - or cultural mores and perspectives, Europeans made judgements of Aboriginal people – as well as assuming that what they saw was indicative of local traditional behaviour, when in fact, they were seeing a society in major transition," Tim Bottoms says.
"When contemporary Australians bother to read the myriad of accurate and disturbing historical/anthropological or archaeological works, and realise how unfairly and negatively Aborigines have been portrayed, and that in fact their rich cosmology and utilisation of their traditional lands is truly magnificent."
Dr Tim Bottoms
"They are our indigenous people, and they were and are a remarkable people; it’s just that they are not appreciated or thought of positively by white Australia," Tim Bottoms says.
"This has to change."

"If an individual is treated in a negative way for a day or a week, then this can easily lead to depression and a negative self-worth. Try 150-200 years of this attitude and see how you would feel.

"Compounding this, trying re-establish a sense of value and independent thinking after 90 odd years of a system of total control, especially here in Queensland. White Australia inadvertently and in Government Department’s of Aboriginal Affairs quite deliberately, ran a policy which in practice was akin to a system of concentration camps which denied any opportunity for Aboriginal people to participate in mainstream society; from a social perspective and particularly from the systematic unbelievable stealing of indigenous wages, honestly earned," Dr Bottoms says.

Tim Bottoms cites the work of Dr Rosalind Kidd, to reveal see what dastardly deeds were implemented by a system that was ostensibly established for the benefit of indigenous Queenslanders.

"You will see that, it in fact worked effectively to keep them impoverished and ill-educated. The standard of education they was officially encouraged, was to that of the level of grade four.

"Thus when Geldolf slams Australia for it’s absurd treatment of Aborigines, maybe we should refrain from being parochially precious and take a serious and long look at our history and genuinely be proud of our Aborigines," Tim Bottoms says. "They and their intricate affinity with the land is a morally sound way for us all to come to a true understanding of who and what we all are as Australians. Thanks Bob for bothering."

Geldolf, who said in 2007, Australia's foreign aid budget was "pathetically embarrassing", praised the increased contribution. He called Howard's aid budget of 0.3% of GDP as one of the meanest countries on the planet. In this year's budget, an extra $500 million added, bringing our annual contribution to $4.3 billion a year.

Bob Geldolf has been seeking developed countries to pay 0.7% of gross national income in aid by 2015.
  • "Australia is coming up ... they're on track. The Prime Minister said they'd get to 0.5 by 2012 which is necessary for the millennium development goals they all signed up to.

    I know the economic situation down in NZ and I know the Australian one is a little more rosy, so it's an easier ask. Australia is a responsible country, you're a member of the G20, there's a cheque that you write to sit at the top table.

    Co-operation not competition has to be the political paradigm."


The Essence of Good Taste said...

I accept Bob's comments on Indigenous Australia. Therefore I cannot accept his need for Australia to invest more aid off-shore. Until ALL Australian children (black,white or brindle)are fed, sheltered and educated to a standard that allows them to meet their potential, I don't want to divert our meagre funds away from our core business - the next generation and our future.

Army Surplus said...

Very informative blog,lots of great info...

wilko said...

Good to see Tim is still carrying the flag.
Is there any progress on the publication of his history of Cairns?

Wil Ko