Saturday, May 23, 2009

how do you sleep, Peter Garrett, when your bed is burning?

In the words of Peter Garrett, entertainer:
The time has come
To say fairs fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share

The time has come
A facts a fact
It belongs to them
Lets give it back

But now we have Peter Garrett, Federal Labour Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts, who won't take a stand for aboriginal rights. And we have Anna Bligh, Labour Premier of Queensland who did a deal with the urban Greenies of the Wilderness Society about the misnamed "wild rivers" to lock out aboriginal people from their own land.

These days, it is far easier to put the straightforward words of Noel Pearson to song than the gobbledygook of former fabulous entertainer turned Labour politician, Peter Garrett.

Noel Pearson:
"As for Peter Garrett's acquiescence to this, Peter Garrett hasn't been up here in two years"

"He has not had one conversation with the organisations or representatives up here. I've not as much as shaken hands with him, and yet 15 years prior to that you couldn't stop the bugger wanting to meet you.

"He would be up here saying he was a great friend of Aboriginal people and so on at the drop of a hat, and in two years of being a minister he has never darkened our doorway.

"And the commitment that I make to him is that he will join the long list of failed environment ministers who have grand schemes about trying to stuff Aboriginal people over who will never succeed."
- World Heritage Listing Plan Fires Anger on Cape York
Some background articles about the "wild rivers" Labour Party sellout:

Indigenous-Green Alliance Cracks
Mr Pearson says any number of environmentalists are "running around in koala suits" trying to save Cape York (about the changing relationship between aboriginal and environmental groups over time, not only in Cape York)

Pearson to sue on wild rivers threat to jobs
ABORIGINAL leader Noel Pearson will launch legal action against the Queensland Government over its declaration of three waterways in Cape York as "wild rivers", claiming the protected status would ruin the future of a generation

Why they're wild about wild rivers
27 issues listed re wild rivers dispute in Queensland: #16. Indigenous people regard the use of the term “wild” as insulting; it infers that the land is uninhabited and “terra nullius”. The Government has treated indigenous people as if the land is “terra nullius”

Bligh's callous land grab
It is a white-settler tradition in Queensland to expropriate Aboriginal land and marginalise Aboriginal people ... If Bligh persists, then all the good work by Pearson and many others to enable Aboriginal people to participate in the economy and improve their education and health will fail. There are lives at stake in this equation. If Cape York traditional owners blockade the cape, as Michael Ross, Olkolo leader and chairman of the Cape York Land Council, has suggested, the trust and partnership painstakingly built up over the past 20 years will vanish. If Bligh thinks this is acceptable, she too has been severely misled by the so-called greens and the party apparatchiks who would sacrifice all this for their deal.

Noel Pearson quits institute to fight wild rivers battle
ABORIGINAL leader Noel Pearson has resigned as director of the Cape York Institute - a think tank that has led the national debate on welfare reform and provided educational programs for young people - to focus on a land rights battle with the Queensland Government

update (24th May): En passant has done a more comprehensive dissection of Oily lyrics

1 comment:

Mark Miller said...

I remember this song from Midnight Oil from years ago. I didn't understand the meaning of it back then. How ironic that the lead singer is now a government minister. Was he qualified for the job or was he installed as a figurehead? That may explain what you're seeing with his ineffectiveness (that is, unless he's changed his mind about it all).

I think we've discussed before that there is a mindset that exists within the green movement that romanticizes peasant life. Therefor they would not like to see the aborigines move forward with modern economic development, since that would be seen as corrupting what was once "pristine" (ie. aboriginal culture and way of life). Plus, they'd see any economic development as potentially harmful to a natural area they see needs to be preserved. I agree with you though that if they are ancestral lands, and if the idea is "they were here first", shouldn't their wishes be respected more?

I'm probably being too forward about this, since I know very little about Australia's history. I do find it ironic that with the liberal inclination to want to protect minorities, and the multicultural ethic of being "hands off" towards ethnic groups, that a liberal government is choosing to interfere with the decisions of aborigines.

There is a strain within liberalism that is elitist, that believes that they should be the ones setting limits on freedom of choice, because us simpletons just screw things up too much. They see it as their job to take care of us. We're seeing that in the U.S. writ large right now.