After this weekend’s momentous Uluru statement, I was eagerly waiting for the Government’s response. This morning, I got it from Shorten and Joyce. They don’t care about us.
I, like many, was lifted by the words of the Uluru Statement. A historic chart mapping the next step, sharing the name of our grandest link to the past. A push for inclusion, instead of a legal nod of the head. The statement closed with the towering words, “In 1967 we were counted, in 2017, we seek to be heard,” and in my community, optimism was felt, but immediately tapered by fearful cynicism. Those representing us said what we all thought, but will it be heard?
Yesterday, we got our answer from both major parties. The answer was no.
The decision, save for Richard Di Natale, flitted between “we’ll think about it” and “it’s not going to happen”. Hardly the response such a statement was worth. But, to be expected, and that is truly a shame. A shame that has origins long into our past, and now, seemingly continues into our future. What piles irritation onto my disappointment is the childish way that both leaders Barnaby Joyce and Bill Shorten redirected our focus, making such sweeping noncommittal comments re: Uluru, and then regressing into cheap political point scoring over the Beaconsfield mine disaster. Front and centre to this, is kept in a video released by Sky News:
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) May 28, 2017
What I have a problem with, is the callow reduction of my people, and the issue we face – melted down to a derision by Joyce, in that Shorten was having coffee, “talking about the spirit world”. Such a statement I’ve not heard politically in this country. Usually in the political sphere this kind of, let’s call it what it is, racist talk is hidden, opaque, whereas Barnaby uses it as a tool to hit Shorten. This is exactly what the Uluru Statement spoke of: the torment of our powerlessness. Again, despite hope, we have no station. Clearly the issue isn’t as big as who was where that time at Tasmania, or who will back a hole in the ground. Looking on the other side of the fence, the response was less blunt, but just as clear. We’re not important. Bill Shorten stood up for himself, his people:
@Barnaby_Joyce The mine was called Beaconsfield. Somebody died. You disgrace.
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) May 28, 2017
Again, one white man (and rest him) in a mine has taken precedence over our future in what is our country. A future unchecked will continue on as it always has been: imprisonment; poor health; zero education; no hope. It seems the truth has once again revealed itself. White Australia doesn’t care about it. But nevertheless, we’re up for a discussion on what a shared future looks like, and it’s one we’re willing to share, one that we look to push for co-existence, on an even plane. To be heard, according to the issues we see, and the issues our kids face. Right now, we’re speaking loud, but all we hear is the sound of our own voice once more.
For the everyday citizens of this land, in cities, in country: if you wonder why the gap between black and white is so large, and no dialogue exists, the answer is simple. It continues because of men like Barnaby Joyce and Bill Shorten.