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The Forum > Article Comments > An appeal to Indigenous Australians: Stop this public sniping > Comments

An appeal to Indigenous Australians: Stop this public sniping : Comments

By Stephen Hagan, published 16/3/2005

Stephen Hagan argues that Indigenous Australians need to awaken Neville Bonner's fighting spirit.

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Stephen WELL said, you have every reason to be as bitter as I have to be ashamed. It took a while but I came to see that we whites did invade this country and treated you mob like animals.We were/are no better or worse than you but unfortunately we were stronger. It is my sincere hope that we can live together as Australians constantly learning from each other and constantly helping each other. Regards, numbat
Posted by numbat, Wednesday, 16 March 2005 1:23:36 PM
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i repeat numbats words, well said Stephen. It is very true that we, as aboriginal people, need to get off our collective bunthies and unite as one people from different clans with a common theme, that being our ancestral ties of more than 1200 generations on this land.

the old divide and conquer game plan well utilised by the colonialists need no longer be played into as it does no justice to our collective cause and calls for recognition of sovereignty.

united we stand, divided we fall.
Posted by kalalli, Wednesday, 16 March 2005 3:41:09 PM
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Thanks Stephen, I really enjoyed the article. Inspiring words.
Posted by fem, Thursday, 17 March 2005 2:54:24 PM
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hello stephen , could not agree with you more about the sniping . it is very destructive for Aboriginal political cohesion and is just what the howard and nationals government likes and wants to see.
however i suspect that unless you get a very strong and vocal team leader [ or possibly more than one ]you will not get the necessary attention to overcome Aboriginal disadvantage . the leader must be independent , inspired , inspirational and have enough support and financial backing to enable him or her to use the press and all other forms of communication to put the case for help to achieve independence and justice . i'm sure they are out there.
to some extent most educated Aboriginal people seem to "lose their fire" and are just too nice for their own People's good . i can only hope you teach your pupils history , politics and public speaking with a passion, because they won't get Recognition , Reconciliation or a Treaty without it!! cheers ,good luck .
Posted by kartiya, Monday, 21 March 2005 9:06:18 PM
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Yes, public sniping will not do anyone any good. But letís not silence rigorous and well informed debate between Indigenous leaders.

If we look back over the last five years or so, leaders such as Noel Pearson and others have gone largely unchallenged in advancing ideologies and policies that we now see being implemented by the Howard government.

The catch cries of 'can't be the government, must be grog' are now a well entrenched and subtext to how the general public rationalize and understand Aboriginal poverty and disadvantage. Historical causation has been rationalized away in these cultural wars where talk of ďAboriginal welfare mentalitiesĒ have become the new racism.

And what role has the media played in developing consensus around the pathologising of Aboriginal peoples behavior?

I for one am waiting to see a rigorous and open debate between Indigenous leaders on a range of issues but more importantly on how we as first nations peoples are ideologically and politically positioned where two factions (left and right) fight over one ideological positions.

Itís the quality of sniping that is the problem, not the sniping itself.

Simply standing on the soap box and calling on Aboriginal people to 'stop the sniping' is gallant and honorable and reminiscent of a dad yelling to his kids to shut up- it isn't advancing the cause. Itíll get the same applause that Noel Pearson gets every time he stands and speaks to whitefellas wanting absolution and a simple social theory that explains away their own privilege and blames every Aboriginal person for their lot.
But for what? Accolades
Posted by Rainier, Monday, 21 March 2005 10:20:20 PM
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One last 'snipe'. Yes, Neville Bonner was a groundbreaker and champion at a time when it wasn't socially and racially concievable that an Indigenous person would enter parliament in Canberra.
But what effect did this have on people at the grassroots? For some it was inspirational but for others in remote commmunities, they still ask Neville who? This is not a slag off at old Uncle but a reminder that the leadership required in Aboriginal communities is more than public office or being media tart for this cause or that.
There, I've said it , it had to be said.
Posted by Rainier, Tuesday, 22 March 2005 9:56:21 AM
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