“You’re not welcome on our land, Jenny Macklin.” The young female voice cut the air in Hobart’s Grand Chancellor ballroom at Friday night’s NAIDOC dinner as the Minister departed the stage to the sound of her own footsteps.
Back in 1997, John Howard got the same treatment. At the Melbourne Reconciliation Conference, parts of the indigenous audience silently stood mid-speech and turned their back. The images were flashed worldwide.
But this was different. The voice was Nala Mansell-McKenna, the startlingly young State Secretary of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. She spoke with authority; having just officially welcomed the 600 guests to her people’s country. Third, apart from the ABC online, the incident went unreported by the Hobart Mercury and other mainland dailies.
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Good Government is about empowering people, creating a sense of community, facilitating change and giving people real choices.
Fifty years ago the people managed our communities, looked after employment, hospitals, policing and schools. Problems that occurred in the community were sorted out by the community.
However successive policies by both parties have moved Australia away from a community empowerment model towards a centralized control system with bureaucrats managing down on communities. The people with the power to help sort out problems with hospitals, policing and towns have been progressively removed from our communities, taking their power with them.
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