The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Quentin Bryce Speaks Up On Indigenous Australians

Posted by caitlinate on October 29, 2008

From The Australian:

THE disparity between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians across every facet of life from health care through to opportunity remains unconscionably large, Australia’s Governor-General Quentin Bryce said today.

Giving the keynote address at the Global Foundation’s Australia Unlimited 2008 round table in Melbourne, Ms Bryce said the lives and spirits of many Aboriginal people “have been almost eviscerated by the workings of nature and human action over decades”.

She said she planned to use her term as Governor-General to provide an ear and a voice for indigenous people.

“People must know that they have been heard, and we must ensure that others have heard them too, so that we can go on to explore ground upon which we might be prepared to stand and work together,” Ms Bryce said.

Apart from the fact that it is Quentin Bryce speaking – first female Governor General of Australia and, technically, the most powerful female in Australia – you may ask what is so relevant about her comments. You may question what Aboriginal health and sovereignty has to do with feminism in Australia, even in general.

Indigenous people in Australia are treated as second class citizens. Governments make decisions about their land, their communities, their families, every aspect of their lives. Their voices and their desires and what they want is very rarely heard. Indigenous women in Australia are absolutely the least heard voice of all. It is the duty of the non-Indigenous people of Australia to stand up and help have those voices heard. It is the duty of non-Indigenous women in Australia to stand up, shoulder to shoulder with their ‘sisters’ who are having their words and thoughts and ideas and lives ignored, and say LISTEN.

So good on Ms Bryce for doing just that.

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4 Responses to “Quentin Bryce Speaks Up On Indigenous Australians”

  1. Clem Bastow said

    I love Quentin Bryce.

  2. Sara Lewis said

    Bravo.

  3. I think what she has said is so important. In light of the intervention especially, where the focus has been on alcohol and sexual abuse, I’ve heard too many people condemning ‘aboriginal people’ and asking where the women are to protect their children etc. This very question should shed light on the matter in a different way. Where are these women’s voices and power in regards to the real dangers and harms for them and their children? Certainly we haven’t seen a true account of this yet, I believe. But we should.

  4. RE: “PROTEST AGAINST THE MEDIA REPORTING ON THE “GANG OF 49″
    I bring to all Readers attention that the mainstream media referred to alleged “crimes” have all occured on Kaurna Yerta (Adelaide).

    http://cooberpedyregionaltimes.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/is-gang-of-49-stunt-a-tactical-political-turf-war/

    The bottomline is that Original Peoples of what we call “South Australia” since King William IV Letters Patent and Governor Hindmarsh’s Proclamation 1836 have never ceded Sovereignty to the British, now since Queen Elizabeth II South Australia Letters Patent 1986, Australian Crown …

    This means then in terms of real self determination the Proclamation 1836 is extremely important for our current South Australian Vice Regal Representative and Governor Hindmarsh’s successors to seriously consider, “Transcript;
    ‘It is also at this time especially, my duty to apprize the Colonists of my resolution, to take every lawful means for extending the same protection to the NATIVE POPULATION as to the rest of His Majesty’s Subjects, and of my firm determination to punish with exemplary severity, all acts of violence or injustice which may in any manner be practised or attempted against the NATIVES who are to be considered as much under the Safeguard of the law as the Colonists themselves, and equally entitled to the privileges of British Subjects. I must therefore with confidence to the exercise of moderation and forbearance by all Classes, in their intercourse with the NATIVE INHABITANTS, and that they will count (no) opportunity of assisting me to fulfil His Majesty’s most gracious and benevolent intentions towards them, by promoting their advancement in civilisation, and ultimately, under the blessing of Divine Providence, their conversion to the Christian Faith. By his excellency’s command, Robert Gouger, Colonial Secretary.’”
    http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=77&c=3726

    I re-emphasise:
    “my firm determination to punish with exemplary severity, all acts of violence or injustice which may in any manner be practised or attempted against the NATIVES who are to be considered as much under the Safeguard of the law as the Colonists themselves, and equally entitled to the privileges”

    … “I must therefore with confidence to the exercise of moderation and forbearance by all Classes, in their intercourse with the NATIVE INHABITANTS, and that they will count (no) opportunity of assisting me to fulfil His Majesty’s most gracious and benevolent intentions towards them, by promoting their advancement in civilisation”

    It is not clear but it seems that there are “Aboriginal” or Sovereign Original People from Ceduna involved in the so called “gang of 49″ thus where are we as a society and community actually helping our young South Australians through rites of passage into adulthood “by promoting their advancement in civilisation”?

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