Reimagining racism in Australasia

You would have heard a little while ago that Aotearoa, New Zealand to you old-fashioned folk, recently introduced a new medical triage policy. Other things equal, you go to the head of the queue if you are Maori. And, as medicine is often a judgement call, doctors and hospital administrators are bound to err on the politically-safe side. So, non-Maori sick children will be pushed down the queue. Apartheid, I think it’s called.

And the justification? Apparently, it makes up for Maori people suffering relatively poorer health outcomes. Could that have anything to do with them having a relatively higher incidence of obesity, drinking more, smoking more? Come on, that’s racist. Mea Culpa! I must start understanding that it’s racist to imply that it’s racist to give preferential medical treatment based on race. “When I use the word racist,” New Zealand’s health minister Ayesha Verrall might well respond in a rather Humpty-Dumpty scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

We aren’t far behind our Aotearoa southern hemisphere cousins when it comes to pandering to never-ending indigenous grievance. After all, an Aboriginal flag flies alongside the Australian flag; though, mercifully, the rainbow flag is not always flying gaily beside them. ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ tosh now tiresomely preambles all meetings and conferences. “I’d like to begin by acknowledging the (whatever) people. The traditional owners of the land on which we meet today etc., etc., etc.” That is, if Welcome to Country or ‘smoking ceremonies’ are not the order of the day.

Incidentally, is there is any meeting place In the whole of Australia which is not ‘Aboriginal owned’? Just asking, to clarify the position for those of non-Aboriginal descent who naively, and clearly racistly, believe that they hold exclusive legal title to a parcel of land. Apropos, consider the “Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act” which came into effect on July 1 in Western Australia. It appears that owners of land beyond 1,100 square meters, about a quarter-acre block, will need permission to do anything which in any way alters the topography of ‘their’ land; lest some spiritual-cum-heritage Aboriginal site is disturbed. Miners and farmers will face heavy fines and jail time if they don’t jump through a whole new set of hoops. You couldn’t make it up.

“Spiritual” connections to the land are increasingly stymying mining developments; adding to regulatory obstacles and endless green lawfare. For example, I saw Santos had a full-page notice in the papers recently, evidently trying to guard against some indigenous person or clan not being consulted over a particular development. Bitten no doubt by losing court cases to restart drilling at a multi-billion-dollar gas project off the Tiwi Islands. Santos thought it had jumped every environmental hurdle, consulted every indigenous group with a legitimate interest. It missed Tiwi Islander Dennis Tipakalippa who claimed successfully that he was not consulted over the company’s plans and should have been. “Our sea is like our mother; we are part of the sea and the sea is part of us. Santos and every other gas company must take note that this is our country and we must be consulted,” he reportedly said.

And we ain’t seen nothing yet if the Voice were to get up. Though to be clear, whatever happens in the referendum, this indigenous-land-rights horse has well and truly bolted. Resource development will become increasingly hostage to those with descendant-links to a race of people who made no economic progress to speak of during their tens of thousands of years of tenure of the land prior to British settlers arriving in 1788. It’s back to the future.

There is also a certain irony in any claims for reparations, which will almost certainly be in our future, based around land values which would be worth diddly in the absence of settlement.

Obviously, making these points about iniquitous racially imbued special rights and privileges is most certainly racist and probably means that I have enforced reeducation in my future.

23 responses to “Reimagining racism in Australasia”

  1. Wally Dalí Avatar
    Wally Dalí

    Righto, anecdote time. I was going to try to shape this into a post of its own, but anyhoo.
    My family has been farming here since the dawn of time. By that, I mean that the farm landscape as we know it was created by my ancestors- cleared, levelled, drained, fertilized, fenced, planted, measured and documented. It is more or less unchanged, apart from small patches of pre-European bush untouched in difficult areas. I say pre-European, because the genome of the native forest here, and just about everywhere else, is a deliberately selected, man-made fire sensitive ecosystem, ageing back maybe 12 000 years at the most, at the release from the holocene ice age. And I make a point of saying this, because if there is any evidence that pre-European man in Australia cultivated anything other than fire and dingoes, then I certainly can’t see it. I don’t care what fantastic truths Professor Bruce Pascoe might dream up- as Dr Henry Jones (Jr) says, archaeology deals in facts.
    So, by hand, horse and diesel, the only shaping of the landscape has been done by europeans. In the Good Old Days when every family was the first to distil whisky or churn unsalted butter or produce open-fermented raw milk goats’ cheese, we did every damn dirty thing, every beast and vegie. My great-great grandfather grew Portugese winegrapes and milked Freisians- my grandfather held Berkshire pigs and brassicas- by the time I was born in the 70’s we specialized on spuds and Hereford cattle- my wife and I (thankyou, thankyou) have Spanish sheep and lambs and grow Frechy-Eyetie winegrapes.
    All this stuff, major changes over time, left marks on the landscape which you’ll need a few clues to really untangle. Afghan mulberry trees stand in a paddock where the pigerry ran, mulberries being high protein leaves that apparently stop pigs setting fat; some rough citrons, rootstrock from a stand of oranges; quartz sand where there was once a dairy. Every second paddock has a patch to be wary of, because it was once a spud culvert filled in, or has reinforced cement lurking where a windmill was before the well ran dry. In a maritime-medditerranean climate, 800mL rainfall mainly coming down in four just months, the challenge of finding water and getting water away are the twin rocks of Scylla and Charybdis which you have to watch in turn, and both at once, lest your ewes miscarry or your spuds flood and rot.
    A winter creek runs through our place, churning down in July, a gorgeous clear stream through the early summer, and trickling out to the volcanic flow bedrock by new years, to remain dry until May, June, July, or even Ausgust, whenever the combination of groundwater level and overland flow up enough. But it’s a flat landscape- the riverbank is the highest point in the landscape for miles, and so the few houses of us and the neighbours sit along it. Loamy river silt, sitting inside the curves of the river, is the real star for spuds, clover and vines- that drains away into the grey clays of the marri-melaleuka-blackboy coastal plain which sits all over from Esperance up to Exmouth. Drains were dug by hand, by backhoe, spilled out with a single mouldboard behind the Massey 135. Big holes were dug to bury horses and cows and the inevitable lambs. Trenches have been dug through for 150mm subterranean drains- power to the house has been sunk when we had young kids. Trees have been cleared, and planted, and have been ripped out of the ground by storms.
    If any human dug any deeper in my hundred hectares of dirt before European farming did, there is certainly no evidence of it.

    But, I know exactly where I could find human artefacts. I’ve found them before, regularly. What can only be described as stone-age tools used to occasionally come up the rack of the spud harvester. Some paddocks, in one corner I know, reliably once or twice in a season (with a very long four-year fallow rotation). And when burying a back line of poly pipe along the blunt bank of the river, I watched as the ditch witch turned up ten or more in twenty yards. In the chocolate red colour of the river dirt, a hard pale lump fairly sticks out. They are the only bit of XXXX in a soil profile which is nothing but old, old, fine dust which has been ground down and carried from east to west since Gondwanaland times, and probably before. Australia is the oldest landscape on earth, remember. The rocks we find on the farm are from the granite horst block coast around Yallingup and Wyadup, pre-rolled by the Indian ocean.
    Some of these rocks are just lumps, the same mass a cricket ball, but smaller of course- I can only guess they were thrown projectiles. More excitingly, some have a burnished face, from grinding and polishing- some even hug into the hand. I have some very cool ones, about the size and shape of an old double pencil sharpener, with two or more smooth facets for precision grinding of- well, of what? There are two rocks, both hoarded by my dad, which are mortars to smaller pestles, a big lump with a concave divot on the top- for grinding- what?
    What were these toolstones used for? Grinding volcanic riverbed rocks into yellow, red and oxblood warpaint, like we did when we were kids? Making flour from ancient seeds? Cracking roo bones for marrow?
    We can guess- and we’ll have to guess, because no “knowledge holder” seems to be the slightest bit interested in them. I got a snooty I mentioned them to W—, son of a man called G— who was my dad’s age, and used to labour on the farm. G— was the last of the working generation of Nyoongahs- although my memories of him were of a nice old bloke amongst other nice old blokes who would work on and off, cutting seed spuds or manning the harvester, and doing typical old bloke stuff like throwing spuds at us, giving us Sherbies, and priding themselves on stories of fishing and footy. G— was, just like any other human of his generation, a deep “knowledge holder” of how and when to deploy a running drop-punt, how to brew berley for dhufish, how to break a horse, how to de-bark and split a jarrah, how to build a chimney. It’s incidental that all of these things are European endeavours- well, it was incidental to G—, I’m sure he never dwelt much on it, he was as interested as us to have a feel of a newly unearthed tool stone, and he had no “oral history” of them, not even a word, because his forebears had probably left them where they lay as soon as metals and ceramics were gifted to them by the new world, and never looked back.
    But to W—, they are intellectual anti-matter. If he came into contact with them it would destroy his whole existence. The new world has gifted him the title of Doctor, and he earns his keep by inventing Aboriginal words and imagining how his ancient forebears used blackboy sap to affix rocks to sticks and make axes and spears which are unknown to archaeology… he is an “exhibiting associate” of the architecturally tumored and intellectually timorous WA Museum.

    Once, one dull wintry schoolday when I suddenly had to find something for my firstborn to take in for show and tell, I packed her off with half a dozen tool stones. I think the discovery of them down the dusty shed, and picking out the most interesting selection from the kero-box collection, meant she didn’t worry about the weight in her saddlebags and she gave a spirited hands-on speech, handing them around and inviting the class to imagine what they were used for- one kid gleefully declared that one rock was a left-hander, and ge was right too.
    I got no interest from the school, when I followed up with the chummy acting deputy head and asked if they’d like a little collection to be a permanent addition- along with the newly-minted and newly-permanent “welcome to counrty”s, Papunya paving stones, murals, and Nyoongah-named school factions.
    No thanks, was the reply. It was like she didn’t know why on earth they would possibly be useful to a school. In the face of genuine artefacts and evidence of milleniums of human occupation all in a “kinetic learning” package, she was already doing all she could for “two-way cultural learning” by getting Green Faction kids to accept a dodgy skink as their mascot, and getting the octogenarians who actually built the damn school to cop a “welcome to country’ from a seven-year-old who can’t yet do sums in his head.

    The WA Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act will carve up all of the state into areas to be controlled by LACHS- to all intents, Land Councils. These LACHS- pronounced “larks” by the consultation huckster, though “latches” is a more meaningful sounding-out to me- will be corporate bodies consisting of four directors, who will have the power to declare any activity, on what we have mistakenly been calling Freehold Farmland, as illegal. Their sacred selections can apparently be discharged by the application of Australian Legal Tender, and their wrath can be wrought by $1 million dollar fines.
    I get the impression that W— will be the Gauleiter who has Dominion over our demesne.
    I have my box of rocks. So far, I seem to be the only one who will ever value them.

  2. Beertruk Avatar

    Could that have anything to do with them having a relatively higher incidence of obesity, drinking more, smoking more?

    Fact check : True

    It is the same here.

  3. eli Avatar

    On 9JUL23 Minister Linda Burney was asked the following by ABC in an interview; “ If the Voice comes to the government and asks for funding for something like birthing on country, how will they balance it with advice from their own departments?”
    In her response Minister Burney identified as an example the Waminda Centre in Nowra. I googled “Waminda”. I live in Nowra and had not heard of Waminda though I have heard of a number of local Indigenous projects particularly health related. The following site if googled provides an overview (sorry, I cannot do live links) “$22.5 Million for Birthing on Country! – Waminda.” At that same site if you click on “Waminda” on the top bar then “Goals and Vision” the following comes up:
    “Our Purpose
    Waminda is an Aboriginal women-led community-controlled health organisation that:
    • Is at the forefront of truth telling about Australia’s colonial history and leading work on decolonisation because we know it is necessary to challenge and dismantle colonial systems of oppression and racism to create real change.
    • Promotes the social and political determinants of health and engages in purposeful acts of resistance to raise the health, wellbeing and spiritual status of Aboriginal women and their families in South East NSW.
    • Returns Aboriginal voices to their rightful place, and ensures Aboriginal people are respected and treated with dignity by all.
    • Strives for safe cultural spaces and equitable access to opportunities and resources to ensure Aboriginal women and families thrive.
    • Waminda aims to support Aboriginal women and their families to be strong, independent, prosperous, powerful, and self-determining. We provide holistic services across the life span for Aboriginal women and their families within our model of care.

    “Birthing on Country Centre of Excellence | National Indigenous Australians Agency (” covers the setup of Waminda.
    The Mission Statement above is toxic to Australia whatever your culture. I do not understand the second bullet point and I conclude that it appears to have nothing to do with medicine and health as the words are usually applied.
    The really sad thing is that there are good and caring people working in this organisation. And I am sure a needy client base exists. I would bet that some have had their lives turned around by the care and support provided. So what is the objective of the Mission Statement which many would see as offensive and even dangerous? Yet it is supported by Minister Burney in an implied “Voice” context? We have a taxpayer funded care-providing organisation which is apparently “weaponised” with a separatist agenda operating under a screen of medicine and health catering for Indigenous people only. If that is democracy in action or “truth” about the voice it should be publicised. Waminda is race determined health care dedicated only to Indigenous and not just providing care to Indigenous on a priority basis. Waminda is probably making a difference where it is needed though there are no performance indicators but the online mission statement defines it an overtly political organisation with an agenda endorsed by Minister Burney, that uses Indigenous health to rearrange Australia. Is this what we have come to? Seems less benign than the subject NZ model of healthcare.

  4. flyingduk Avatar

    The only solution to this madness (fortunately well under way) is complete and utter collapse of society as we know it. The modern world is rapidly transitioning (snigger) away from reward for effort and towards reward for failure. The apparently unseen irony is that the latter requires the former to feed it. It is only when all the government cheese is gone that we can revert to successful model that built this country – reward for effort.

    Until then, I suggest everyone join the mob, start ‘identifying’ as aboriginal – the wokesters already shot themselves in the foot by shouting down any suggestion that there be an objective qualification for that.

  5. Wally Dalí Avatar
    Wally Dalí

    Oh no Dr Duk, the Lizard People are waaay ahead of you. The LATCHES are sovereign, either you is one of the four board members reigning supreme, or you ain’t sh*t. Anyone challenging their diktats may be as indigenous as the ace of spades, but they’re a long way up the freeway without a Jiffy firelighter in their billycan for all the hope they have of an appeal.
    I can’t overstate how nefarious the WA Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act is.

  6. wal1957 Avatar

    flyingduk @ 8:57

    The “mob”, just like the “comrades”, can go take a flying leap.
    This “the voice” experiment and treaty is promoting a felling of illwill towards the city latte aboriginals and by extension to the remote aboriginals.
    The latte swill I could care less about. They are mostly race baiting hustlers.
    I think most of us do care about those that are genuinely in need . Especially the children who are being abused by their fathers, “uncles” and elders. I am apparently a racist by even mentioning the words incest or rape when referring to these vile occurences in aboriginal communities.
    If all the many agencies that are currently “dedicated” to aboriginal issues can’t address basic issues, how the hell is “the voice” etc. going to do any better?
    It will create another bureaucratic nightmare that will consume an always increasing amount of taxpayer $$$ to achieve absolutely squat. Chris Kenny of Sky News has the blinkers on when it comes to this issue. He refuses to see that it will achieve 3/5ths of sweet buggerall.
    F*@k this government and any group promoting this BS known as “the voice”.

  7. Christine Avatar

    I’ve never expected their “voice” referendum to succeed.

    Highlighted by this push for more power –
    the blatant ingratitude and greed of Aboriginal activists.
    They are thankful for nothing.
    The lies are repeated, relentlessly.

  8. Roger Avatar

    So, non-Maori sick children will be pushed down the queue.

    Until a child (or indeed an adult) dies and a law suit for medical malpractice is brought.

  9. rickw Avatar

    Apparently, it makes up for Maori people suffering relatively poorer health outcomes.

    What? Eating like f’cking pigs as consequences?!

  10. Vicki Avatar

    I have my box of rocks. So far, I seem to be the only one who will ever value them.

    Wally, this is perhaps one of the most moving accounts of an Australian farmer, descended from farmers who have, as you brilliantly describe, transformed “country” into a productive tract of land. This land continues to have memories and purpose in your life, and the lives of your family members.

    Like so many of us you have come across the tools and remnants of the lives of those who arrived in earlier times. And you valued them, and we should. It is a great enigma to me that authorities today don’t seem to be interested in these relics.

    I always find that visitors to our property – even teens – are amazed at the sight of our bora ring – the ceremonial site – of previous indigenous occupants of our valley. And it breaks my heart that I will have probably have to stop showing it to visitors and even remove the little plaques that I have describing it and a nearby eel oven beneath a very old casuarina. Someone said to me yesterday that I will have to bulldoze the sites.

    What a tragedy that this attempt by the Voice faction to wrest political power is bringing about.

  11. Old Goat Avatar
    Old Goat

    Why am I not surprised ? It’s been coming for a long time . Victim poker on steroids . The joker is that anyone can identify as anything….

  12. JC Avatar

    The joker is that anyone can identify as anything….

    With you identifying as an old goat?

  13. thefrollickingmole Avatar

    It operates in effect in Feraldton hospital Ed already.
    Turn up with a carload of Gerald and wail and gnash their teeth until they skip the cue.
    Which of course teaches the ferals involved that that’s how they get what they want, and bugger everyone else.
    And that’s with a dedicated Abo Medical centre with 1/2 a dozen docs open every weekday.

  14. Vicki Avatar

    Just watched program on ABC (surprise, surprise) which depicted the manufacture of a woomera by some very old Aborigines from Central Australia. Very interesting to watch – the extraction of resin from the spinifex, the cutting of the woomera from a milage sapling, the mastication of am emu sinew for string etc etc. And the finished product.

    But not content with that, “your ABC” had to claim that this device “invented” by the Aborigines was a technically advanced device which was permitted the swiftest weapon until ballistic rifles etc. Your astonishing nonsense. A quick Google search will demonstrate that spear throwing devices are common to early cultures right across the world.

    This is the trouble with cultural warriors from places like the ABC. They are so determined to validate their beliefs that they fabricate stories without checking the actual facts.

  15. Boambee John Avatar
    Boambee John


    I’m not completely sure, but I suspect that an English longbow, or a Mongol compound bow, or a crossbow might have a speed advantage over a spear thrown with a woomera.

  16. Shy Ted Avatar
    Shy Ted

    YEs, I watched First Weapons too. I particularly liked this Aboriginal lass.

  17. Damon Avatar

    Anyone whose income does not derive from the government should ‘identify’ as an aborigine. If you’re not claiming anything, you don’t have to prove you are. They have to prove you’re not.

  18. Boambee John Avatar
    Boambee John

    Jul 16, 2023 7:02 PM
    Anyone whose income does not derive from the government should ‘identify’ as an aborigine. If you’re not claiming anything, you don’t have to prove you are. They have to prove you’re not.

    They would be too terrified to try, see also Pascoe, Bruce, whose genealogical record is quite clear.

  19. Muddy Avatar

    Welcome to the new feudal order.

  20. OldOzzie Avatar

    Women now most likely to vote no as support for Voice falls, according to Newspoll

    For the first time women are now more likely than men to vote no for an Indigenous voice to parliament, the latest Newspoll shows.

  21. HT Avatar

    Jul 17, 2023 9:04 AM
    Women now most likely to vote no as support for Voice falls, according to Newspoll

    For the first time women are now more likely than men to vote no for an Indigenous voice to parliament, the latest Newspoll shows.

    Women are fearful they will lose their position of those most feted by society.

  22. HT Avatar

    Jul 17, 2023 9:04 AM
    Women now most likely to vote no as support for Voice falls, according to Newspoll

    For the first time women are now more likely than men to vote no for an Indigenous voice to parliament, the latest Newspoll shows.

    Woman are frighted they will lose their feted position of societal privilege.

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