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Tent Embassy Demo

January 27, 2012

I agree with Tony Abbott and think his remarks entirely sensible. The tent embassy in Canberra says nothing to anyone and should have been quietly packed up years ago. The “activists” who run it would be better off investing time in youth programs in indigenous communities. Every government in Australia is aware of its responsibilities to Aboriginal Australians. The debate is how you narrow the gap not whether you should and the debate is as serious within the Aboriginal community as between it and the white.

Anyway here we have again the bankruptcy of the old Leftist approach: throw a demo. Every time some respectable body does this – the ACTU or Unions NSW or a pro-refugee group – the same thing happens: on the street the extremists take over. The Trots love a blue, “the worse things are the better they are” and by radicalizing everyone and breaking heads it all hastens the World October, onto revolution, comrades.

Don’t look for logic. Prime Minister Gillard is targeted and some clown is shown brandishing her shoe yet she said and did nothing in respect of the tent. Suddenly we are presented with a demand for “Aboriginal sovereignty” – which can only mean separatism – which nobody has defined and which, on principle, 99 percent of Australians would oppose and a majority of Aborigines oppose. And of course the block-headed demonstration sets back reconciliation and would seal the defeat for Aboriginal recognition in the constitution if a referendum were pending.

I have seen this with “anti-globalization” demonstrations. With union campaigns. With anti-war marches. The soft Left has never been able to lift its sights above nostalgia for the anti-Vietnam demonstrations of the 60s. And the ragbag Left will never forgo an opportunity to turn a “demo” violent.

Aboriginal right to land – which is what the embassy was established to promote – has been recognized in several different forms. The real debate is why this recognition has failed to have any effect on outcomes in remote Australia.

Give us some views on that, instead of bellowing and blockading.

I thought that this response to my blog post from Lynda Newnam was worth reproducing:

“The real debate is why this recognition has failed to have any effect on outcomes in remote Australia.”

Peter Sutton has a lot to say about this in his book “Politics of Suffering” which won the 2010 John Button prize. On receiving the award he was quoted as saying: “At the cost of some vituperation from some of my colleagues, I think it has been worth getting the debate on to a more truthful footing and I think now we can’t go back to the pie-in-the-sky days.”

To gain a quick idea try these links:

Interview with Marcia Langton

Link to ABC Radio Interviews part 1

part 2

In the closing chapter of “Politics of Suffering” Sutton writes: ” It may be that the greatest act of formal and government-embraced Reconciliation will look like something else, aretreat from legal racism. A good candidate here would be the removal of race itself as a legal category of distinction in Australian law and bureaucracy. Aboriginality itself, of course, would not be removed, any more than Jewishness or Greek ethnicity are negated by their absence from the state apparatus. Mary Darkie, from the Great Sandy Desert, put her view this way: “Reconciliation is about getting to know each person individually. It means letting go of old ideas that all white-skinned people are the same or all black-skinned people are the same. All people are different; they may have the same skin colour but inside, each person is unique. It‘s what‘s inside each person that‘s important. I sometimes think we live in a crazy world that we always have to divide people into separate groups.””

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48 Comments
  1. Graeme Taylor permalink
    January 27, 2012 10:34 am

    There are some fundamental issues that seem over your head Bob, and over the heads of all settler Australians. These lands do not belong to the british Crown, and were wrongfully claimed, and then wrongfully handed across to settler governments.
    The rightful Sovereigns of these lands will be recognised, and no media stunt between Tony and Julia can change that.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      January 27, 2012 11:39 am

      I am not a “settler” Australian. We do not have categories of nationality based on how long you or your forebears were here.

      • Jag permalink
        January 27, 2012 2:26 pm

        Why is it so difficult to understand? If you are not indigenous, you are a settler, or settlers’ descendant. That has nothing to do with any category of nationality.

      • Bob Carr permalink
        January 27, 2012 2:54 pm

        Sorry, I am no settler Australian but an Australian. Forget this line, pal. If you get air for it you will arouse a wave of hostility towards every Aboriginal cause.

    • AdamC permalink
      January 27, 2012 3:07 pm

      Bob Carr is entirely correct in his response, both to yesterday’s spectacularly idiotic demonstration, and to the comments of Graeme Taylor and Jag. Separatism as both a means of indigenous development and an end of indigenous policy is an utter failure. It is also a politically toxic doctrine with no support outside the lunatic fringe.

      And I certainly am not a ‘settler Australian’. I am an Australian, and that is that.

    • January 27, 2012 3:21 pm

      Try and find a country which is not based on “settler” sovereignty. Are we going to insist that the Japanese give Japan back to the Ainu? That the Turks give Anatolia back to the Greeks? (Who should give it back to whom, exactly?) And the notion that Aboriginal territories were established by 50,000 years of peace is naive at best.

      The notion of a single Aboriginal sovereignty is entirely a creation of interaction with British-cum-Australian law and institutions.

      Anyone who feels so strongly about it is free to donate any land they own to the indigenous group of their choice. Otherwise, the rest of us can get on with continuing to build a decent society

  2. Mahony permalink
    January 27, 2012 10:38 am

    Spot on Bob.  I am a person who as a social democrat considers himself to be on the left of politics in Australia – but I don’t recognise the crazy antics of yesterday as left wing ‘activism’ – just angry, destructive, extremist rubbish that harms us all and the vulnerable among us the most.  It was the left equivalent of those right wing-nuts that followed Alan Jones to Canberra. Where I disagree with you is on the need for the embassy to remain. Although I would facilitate the Aboriginal community retaking it and developing it into a cultural hub with tangible social and economic spin offs as it continues to remind us if where we HAVE come from.

  3. January 27, 2012 11:08 am

    “The real debate is why this recognition has failed to have any effect on outcomes in remote Australia.”

    Peter Sutton has a lot to say about this in his book “Politics of Suffering” which won the 2010 John Button prize – link http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/praise-and-censure-for-winning-author/story-fn59niix-1225914014005 On receiving the award he was quoted as saying: “At the cost of some vituperation from some of my colleagues, I think it has been worth getting the debate on to a more truthful footing and I think now we can’t go back to the pie-in-the-sky days.”

    To gain a quick idea try these links: Interview with Marcia Langton – http://www.themonthly.com.au/politics-suffering-peter-sutton-marcia-langton-1891

    Link to ABC Radio Interviews part 1 – http://www.abc.net.au/rural/telegraph/content/2010/s3017701.htm

    part 2 – http://www.abc.net.au/rural/telegraph/content/2010/s3017703.htm

    In the closing chapter of “Politics of Suffering” Sutton writes: ” It may be that the greatest act of formal and government-embraced Reconciliation will look like something else, a
    retreat from legal racism. A good candidate here would be the removal of race itself as a legal category of distinction in Australian law and bureaucracy. Aboriginality itself, of course, would not be removed, any more than Jewishness or Greek ethnicity are negated by their absence from the state apparatus. Mary Darkie, from the Great Sandy Desert, put her view this way: “Reconciliation is about getting to know each person individually. It means letting go of old ideas that all white-skinned people are the same or all black-skinned people are the same. All people are different; they may have the same skin colour but inside, each person is unique. It‘s what‘s inside each person that‘s important. I sometimes think we live in a crazy world that we always have to divide people into separate groups.””

  4. January 27, 2012 11:33 am

    It’s hard to believe you were the LABOR premier of New South Wales, Bob.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      January 27, 2012 11:37 am

      I am defending a Labor Prime Minister with a positive record on indigenous issues who was targeted by a mob.

  5. Jack Howard permalink
    January 27, 2012 12:16 pm

    I am inclined to agree with your views on the protesters’ actions yesterday Bob, and the creation of organizations and bodies representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (such as ATSIC, though now defunct), as well as the policy of reconciliation means that much of the raison d’etre for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy has been diluted.

    However, the core aim of the Embassy – national uniform land rights for Indigenous people – has not yet been attained apart from in the Northern Territory to some extent. It would be wise to remember that the ALP once aspired to this goal, until pressure from Brian Burke and WA Inc. as well as a massive backlash from miners and other vested interests forced Bob Hawke and Clyde Holding to scrap the legislation in its entirety. While reconciliation and native title has done much to erode the prejudice of many non-Indigenous Australians and grant Aborigines some form of recognition of their history and rightful place in this nation, it does not guarantee the same level of political and economic autonomy for Indigenous communities that freehold title land rights legislation would.

    As a member of the ALP, I would argue that our party’s pursuit of some form of land rights legislation would surely be a worthy pursuit. Wouldn’t this do much more to promote genuine social justice for Indigenous Australians than a failed and paternalistic intervention in Northern Territory communities?

  6. jcswanston permalink
    January 27, 2012 12:21 pm

    Bob, An excellent blog post as is Lynda’s comment. Ultimately behaviour such as that seen in Canberra does nothing to help fix real problems and only harms the causes they claim to be representing.
    James

    PS. Can you please add a share this button for social networks? Thanks!!!

  7. Ramapriya permalink
    January 27, 2012 12:47 pm

    I strongly agree with your opening remarks and was appalled at the ridiculous behaviour of the mob in Canberra yesterday. However, I struggle with the sweeping attack on the left. There are many of us on the left of politics who use reason, logic or debate in a manner where their weight alone can justify and carry the argument, so not all should be tarred with the same brush. Boisterous and belligerent individuals can be found on both sides of the political fence but many on the left feel disempowered as they are often at grass roots levels without the voice that larger money interests have at their disposal. This is perhaps why we see a little more of this sort of activity from the left in this day and age in Australia. In communist countries we have seen this sort of behaviour from the right for the very same reasons.

  8. Ramapriya permalink
    January 27, 2012 12:52 pm

    Can I just add Bob that I am in favour of removing the “Tent Embassy” and replacing it with some kind of monument which could be tendered to indigenous artists and adjudicated on by a committee of Indigenous and perhaps non-indigenous Australians.

  9. ClaireS permalink
    January 27, 2012 1:10 pm

    There was, of course, a time when Aboriginal people were settlers too … who is entitled to decide which land “belongs” to which people, if indeed land can be said to belong to anyone?

  10. Tim permalink
    January 27, 2012 1:26 pm

    “Suddenly we are presented with a demand for “Aboriginal sovereignty” – which can only mean separatism – which nobody has defined and which, on principle, 99 percent of Australians would oppose and a majority of Aborigines oppose.”

    I’m not sure that there is anything “sudden” about calls for sovereignty by Indigenous people. Ironically enough it’s part of why the Tent Embassy was established in the first place 40 years ago (in response to a refusal to recognise land rights). People failing to even acknowledge that those calls have been made may be why some activists are so pissed off. So criticise their tactics if you like (I have sympathy for that argument) but don’t pretend that it’s all come out of the blue.

    As for a lack of definiton of sovereignty, while it is a tricky thing in the Australian context there is a significant amount of scholarship on the matter. A good, readable discussion of the issues is contained in Larissa Behrendt’s 2003 book Achieving Social Justice. While not wanting to deny Larissa the royalties from a few more sales let me spoil the ending by saying most Indigenous activists (in her experience) don’t mean separatism when they say sovereignty, they mean something closer to autonomy with the focus on a culturally sensitive relationships between local and other tiers of government and key institutions.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      January 27, 2012 2:51 pm

      They have that already with every project being negotiated with traditional owners where they exist.

      • Tim permalink
        January 27, 2012 3:56 pm

        I’m genuinely surprised by such a callous response from you Bob. Do you really thing that Indigenous rights is just about the right to be consulted on projects? What about education? What about cultural rights to language, etc? What about comprehensive land rights, not the watered-down version we have thanks to John Howard?

        I’m no expert by any stretch but you’re seriously mistaken to think that all the substantive rights issues have been resolved, and that’s what is generally meant by demands for soveriegnty.

      • Bob Carr permalink
        January 27, 2012 4:00 pm

        How are any of these goals advanced by the 40 year old embassy and roughing up the PM?

  11. John Carroll permalink
    January 27, 2012 1:33 pm

    As a side issue to this discussion and as a means of framing perspectives the term Labour, leftwing and its divisions do seem to be losing their validity. The relationship between the word labour, the political party Labour and the union movement now seems strained.

    In a similar vein John Howard’s Liberal era was by no means ‘conservative’ and that term was misleading to a public that appears happy to be politically mislead (The Tampa as an easy example) but in need of education.

    As in art movements, the nouns of political styles needs to change so discussion about the method is better contextually considered. Maybe the term Labour is a bit of reach at this time but the names of the factions definitely could be reconsidered by objective commentators.

  12. Maz permalink
    January 27, 2012 2:17 pm

    “The “activists” who run it would be better off investing time in youth programs in indigenous communities.”

    Exactly. Thank you for this post, Mr Carr. What happened yesterday was unacceptable, it’s not okay to attack our Prime Minister or anyone.

    I might not agree with all of Ms Gillard’s policies, or that of any one politician. However, despite some of my outrage at some of what has come out of Mr Abbott’s mouth, you don’t see me attacking him.

    This is not how civilised people behave. Using force only discredits those who have worked hard to achieve in your favour.

  13. January 27, 2012 3:12 pm

    “And of course the block-headed demonstration sets back reconciliation and would seal the defeat for Aboriginal recognition in the constitution if a referendum were pending.”

    Well said, & agree with much of your analysis above, except the quip re anti- war demonstration. Whilst it is not the gist of your article; the anti war marches in Sydney re-Iraq in February 2003 were made up of thousands of NSW citizens of ALL political persuasions, not just the Left, my 90 year old father included- who left Moss Vale at 5am in order to march all day from Central to Circular Quay with my husband, self & then 10 year old daughter and her school mates & parents. http://bit.ly/xgnhOK

    At this moment the indigenous protesters in Canberra are burning the Australian flag; hardly a valid juxtaposition (re at least one example) to those concerned peace rally citizens in Sydney in 2003, whom History has proven correct re their argument that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

    Just pointing out that where Tony Abbott’s words were taken out of context in order to incite a riot, your line that anti-war demonstrators are seemingly puppets of a ‘looney left’ could easily also be similarly misrepresented.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      January 27, 2012 3:56 pm

      Appreciate your comments.
      I opposed the Iraq war but in March 2003 found that the vanguard of one of the anti-war demonstrations saw me drive by and for no reason at all surrounded my car and blockaded it. No reason. And they weren’t the mainstream of the demonstration. They were the Trots and anarchists who fasten onto a sound movement for their own purposes. That happened in Canberra yesterday and a good cause, of Aboriginal advancement, was set back.

      • January 27, 2012 6:31 pm

        This may have happened, but is it really a reason to shift to far-right positions?

  14. Ron permalink
    January 27, 2012 3:13 pm

    Love how you white australians still think you know whats best for Aboriginal people. I believer you lot and your puppet Aborigines who use the term “leaders” will not be happy until Aboriginal people cease to exist…which ain’t going to happen.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      January 27, 2012 3:57 pm

      Your tone confirms every point I make.

    • January 31, 2012 11:45 pm

      I’m genuinely curious, Ron. I gather from your comment that you are a “black australian” so please tell me, what would be best for Aboriginal people?

      Basic numeracy, perhaps? Or is that only for “puppet Aborigines”?

      Basic literacy and grammar? Not that a lack thereof precludes you from online commenting…

      • February 1, 2012 6:50 pm

        Funny, how racist comments are published, and mine are censored. Against freedom of speech as well, Bob? Are only right-wing opinions allowed?

      • Bob Carr permalink
        February 1, 2012 8:11 pm

        I don’t publish abuse. You might reconsider throwing around “racist” to dismiss opponents.

      • February 1, 2012 9:03 pm

        There is no abuse in my comments. Never has been. Whether a comment is racist or not, it is plain to see.

  15. January 27, 2012 3:25 pm

    Whenever I read or listen to a debate about race or nationality or even gender, I think just how much nonsense it all is. Consider this: none of us were provided a choice as to where, to whom, what gender, what personality, what environment, what wealth, what religion. whose genes we inherit, even what era we were born into. Many of those choices were taken way before each of us was a twinkle in our parents’ eyes. We weren’t even asked if we were to be born at all! So each one of us who happened to be born and raised or even accepted in this most fortunate of societies, ought to dwell on our supreme good fortune. We are, after all, of such a tiny percentage of the global population. What is 7,000,000,000 divided by 22,000,000?

  16. Mike permalink
    January 27, 2012 6:50 pm

    Bob I’m honestly astonished you have this view on this incident. The media spin on this is obviously anti Julia Gillard, the reality is that the crowd was braying for Tony Abbott. The remarks of Tony Abbott earlier in the day were effectively that Australian Aborigines had achieved all they needed and it is now time to move on – he did not elaborate to what they would move to. If I were an Australian Aborigine I also would be angry. The like platitude says – ‘The price of freedom is eternal vigilance’. The lot of many Australian Aborigines is a plight that many Australians cannot understand, the contrast of Tony Abbott standing in front the Sydney Opera House to that of any small NSW country town were an Aborigine may struggle to be recognised as a member of the Community could not be further from the concern of Urbanised Australians.

    Why is that all ALP meetings start with the recognition of the original owners of the land if it is not the price of Liberty.

  17. Racist Inbred Rick permalink
    January 27, 2012 6:56 pm

    Quote[Jag]:

    Why is it so difficult to understand? If you are not indigenous, you are a settler, or settlers’ descendant. That has nothing to do with any category of nationality.

    Well if we want to get really technical, “Indigenous Australians” are also settlers too since they immigrated across from the lands to the north (PNG/Indonesia I think) many thousands of years ago. So Abos are Settlers and everyone else are New Settlers.

    Beside land changes hands so many times in the world, how can we be sure that the Indigenous Australians are the true settlers. Could be dolphins for all we know (this is a pun off a Simpsons episode).

    • Sam permalink
      February 12, 2012 11:23 am

      Yeah we are all from africa, if Aboriginals were the first to a land of terra nullius why cant they claim it, same process different millenia, we are all black, when you go to take a country, you declare war, or make a treaty or declare terra nullius, Australia picked the wrong one, english coomon law never protected Aboriginal so cant USE that, this isnt Aboriginal peoples.fault, its the fault of your ancestors

  18. January 27, 2012 7:01 pm

    Bravo Bob & Linda, I’ve struggled to find the words to express how I feel about this issue without sounding like a racist bigot.

    “Aboriginal right to land – which is what the embassy was established to promote – has been recognized in several different forms. The real debate is why this recognition has failed to have any effect on outcomes in remote Australia.”

    Thank you.

  19. January 28, 2012 4:40 am

    The real debate is why this recognition has failed to have any effect on outcomes in remote Australia.

    The central problem is collective ownership of land and it’s inaliable status. There are several cures. The most obvious being for the collectives to carve out and grant 99 year tradeable leases to the individuals.

    A secondary reason is that we centrally set minimum wages according to the economic conditions of Australia on average rather than locally according to the economic state of the region. Regional Australia has a different cost of living to Sydney but also a different labour market and any regulation of wages requires a different balance.

    A third reason has been welfare without strings. However this is now well recognised and is being addressed. However without dealing with items one and two it is unlikely to make a huge difference.

    We need to stop throwing money at problems and start dealing with the structural frameworks in which people operate.

  20. January 28, 2012 5:29 am

    I generally agree with you here.

    Firstly when i saw the tent embassy over the years I realized that it was a disgrace to the cause. They seem to have never had financing, a real message or the support of the people.

    Secondly the ‘mob’ that ‘attacked’ the prime minister was just that. An angry mob. I hope the business owner presses changes for trespassing and any damages that occurred.

    I do feel Aboriginal rights should be respected. As any individual they should have the rights that all Australians have. The government is not the solution. There is a feeling that the government is not doing enough but in reality if you look at every complaint in aboriginal history they nearly all stem from the government treating them as different.

    If aboriginal rights and liberties would have been respected Europeans would have bought and traded for land. The concept of assimilation and taking children from their parents would not have been passed, etc.

    When the government treats people as a group, race or sex, rather then individuals there is always discrimination.

  21. Jewel Rainbow, North Queensland permalink
    January 28, 2012 4:06 pm

    THIS IS THE FINAL ONE TO POST (PLEASE DELETE EARLIER DRAFTS) I wanted to highlight issues, including passive and overt acts of racism, I’ve seen in the Far North:

    Well said, Bob Carr and Warren Mundine, and elders who have spoken out expressing their dismay at the anarchic harassment of our political leaders that occurred on Australia Day in Canberra.
    While I don’t agree that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy – a brilliant act and gesture of reoccupation that foregrounded long-ignored indigenous grievances and unresolved issues when it was first established (and over the years when it was largely perceived as a non-violent protest and so did not alienate the sympathies of mainstream Australia) – is yet irrelevant nor obsolete (sadly, since much stilI needs to occur for Aborigines to be able to “move on” from not just the colonial past but also beyond present-day instances of racism and the still-yawning health gap…), I wholeheartedly endorse your point, Bob, that: “The real debate is why this recognition has failed to have any effect on outcomes in remote Australia.”

    I would go further and venture a suggestion as to a line of investigation in pursuit of answers to that conundrum…
The question must be asked: why, if Native Title is truly “communal”, is there such a gap between wealthy or comfortable Aborigines in Australia’s regional towns and urban centres, and those who are poor and often homeless or living in the most remote settlements?
Has Government funding given to indigenous councils and organisations for the purpose of addressing disadvantage and improving facilities and health of communities not reached those at the end of the queue? Is it audited and is anyone ever held accountable?
Or have a few greedy and, in some cases, perhaps even corrupt individuals and families who may have set themselves up as recipients of Government grants etc, (supposedly on behalf of the communities whose organisations they likely head, or have run at some time in the past two decades), cunningly and ruthlessly staunched the flow of the ‘trickle-down effect’ so they and their families grow fat, rich and ‘respectable’ while their less-educated or shrewd people struggle to survive on the streets, many turning to booze to keep warm or forget their hurt and sense of dislocation and abandonment – for which they blame whitefellas and, especially, white politicians who are well-intentioned but sometimes wide-of-the-mark with policies designed to help Aborigines they have frequently failed to consult?
For instance, Queensland’s alcohol management plans – while having indisputable acknowledged safety benefits for women and children who have bloomed since they are now much less likely to experience abuse from men on the grog – have created an Aboriginal underclass of itinerant alcoholics who now leave their home country, and the care and support of their families, so they can drink in unrestricted communities like Mossman or Cairns where they often find themselves rejected by local traditional owners and sleeping rough with just the comfort of a bottle or carton.
The State Government that rolled out these supposedly problem-solving AMPs has ignored or neglected to address the parallel need to provide accessible rehab centres on Cape York; instead, it allowed the closure and loss of culturally-sensitive staff from those that did exist (in Mareeba and Cairns) – although we hear one or both of these may be about to re-open, along with a new one in Cooktown that drew a major NIMBY response from the community that reflects badly on white Australia’s willingness to even tolerate Aborigines attempting to dry out.
    Yet bottleshop owners are happy to sell them the demon drink, and in such large quantities that they cannot be ignorant of its harmful impact on indigenous families and health – they just don’t care because they have no qualms about profiting from the misery of the most vulnerable indigenous people if there’s a dollar to be made and no responsibility taken.

  22. Jewel Rainbow, North Queensland permalink
    January 28, 2012 4:17 pm

    While I don’t condone, and was upset by, the actions of the estimated 50 protesters who stormed the restaurant and yelled abused at the Prime Minister – a gracious, patient and tolerate lady who is not a racist – and Leader Of The Opposition (who is not known for tact), I think it is healthy that unresolved issues are beginning to be aired as a consequence of politicians, the media and the public being made aware of the level of grievance still felt by Aborigines who still feel disenfranchised outcasts of mainstream Australian society. Yothu Yindi’s song ‘Treaty’ has long been a favourite – it’s time for politicians and media to listen, consult and reach solutions that are mutually arrived at and agreed, and not arrogantly imposed from above in a paternalistic “we know what’s best for you” way – not just by white politicians but also by individuals, such as Noel Pearson, who influence the well-intentioned but sometimes misguided or out-of-touch lawmakers.

  23. Ian Saxby permalink
    January 28, 2012 4:47 pm

    There’s nothing bigoted about Mr Carr’s article. Stating that the tent embassy serves no purpose (and it doesn’t; have you ever been motivated to do anything for Aboriginal people because there’s a collection of tents in Canberra?) is not equivalent to saying Aboriginal people aren’t as good as other Australians, or that they shouldn’t have the same rights as anyone else, or that Australia has no obligation to address the terrible conditions under which many Aboriginal people live.

    I’m in full agreement with Tony Abbott on this issue as well. The tent embassy activists would achieve far more for Aboriginal Australians by campaigning for decent education for Aboriginal kids, or by raising funds for Aboriginal housing and employment programmes, or by lobbying the supermarket chains to open outlets in remote communities, or by working to eradicate alcohol abuse from Aboriginal settlements.

  24. January 29, 2012 9:02 am

    Good post Bob

  25. January 29, 2012 9:15 am

    Bob, I agree with your opposition to the tent embassy and the ridiculous (and potentially dangerous) protest while the PM and the Opposition Leader were effectively ‘caged’ in a glass-walled restaurant, but I think you are way off the mark to turmn this into a ‘leftist bashing’ exercise.

    Those aboriginal demonstrators were not only unrepresentative of the wider indigenous community, they were also hardly representing those of us whose politics are to the left of centre or even a bit further left than that. That’s anarchy, not politics. And equating it to the anti-Vietnam war protests is also absurd. Were you involved in those protests, Bob? I was, and I certainly wasn’t a radical lefty. Nor were the great bulk of the 100,000 who marched down Collins Street in the moaratorium.

    Good article, Bob, but you take your anti-left agenda too far, in my opinion. Btw, I don’t think “having a demo” is something that is exclusive to ‘the left’. I seem to recall quite a few anti-carbon tax and anti-mining tax rallies organised and attended by right wing ‘wingnuts’ lately.

  26. January 29, 2012 2:27 pm

    The Stolen Generation was not a great help for the Aboriginal cause also.

  27. Tom Fanning permalink
    January 31, 2012 12:24 pm

    Mary Darkie is right: every person is unique. Unfortunately, in combative politics, do not distinguish one’s enemies. A label applied to one person of the left or right is applied to all from that side.

  28. Bob Carr permalink
    January 28, 2012 12:53 pm

    Did the demonstration, the flag burning and the separatist rhetoric help the Aboriginal cause?

  29. Sam permalink
    February 12, 2012 11:30 am

    It got internation atention, now Australia must deal with it under the scrutiny of the world, hopefully a nation claiming great people in a great nation actually take steps that are consistant with those ideaologys, a treaty would be a good start, only has to be consistant with the rest of the world

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