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.