When the good ship Generation One stormed home to victory on Sydney Harbour in the Australia Day Ferrython it was a quietly dignified affair.
A bunch of Aboriginal boys to my left banged on the hull and cheered uncontrollably, I gave the black power salute while wearing a T-shirt on my head and to my right the former Upper House President Meredith Burgmann gave the second place-getters the finger.
And just to add to the solemn gravitas the whole boat was fitted out to look like a giant purple whale.
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Some people really just shouldn’t open their mouths in public - a woman called Emanuela D’Annibale is one of them.
D’Annibale was trying to fix a major PR problem she’d created for the brilliant new Generation One initiative to increase indigenous employment, when she managed to make things oh so much worse.
She told this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald that the reason she hadn’t hired a young indigenous woman she thought was too white to represent Generation One was because “I wouldn’t have picked her for Aboriginal at all ... to me she looked like an Aussie girl.” As opposed to all those un-Aussie indigenous women I suppose.
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I was heartened last week to note the launch of the GenerationOne project to address Indigenous disadvantage in Australia and in particular, the approach the campaign has taken towards reaching out to the younger generation to “make a difference in our lifetime”.
It is certainly not the first time such a grand plan to address the gap between non-Indigenous Australians and Indigenous has been announced, however the backing of high calibre celebrities and notable businesspeople goes a long way towards bringing this idea to the attention of mainstream media – something many similar projects have failed to achieve.
This is an issue that requires the attention of all Australians, however individuals can often feel powerless in the face of such an immense and longstanding disparity, not knowing how one person can make a difference.
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