Friday, 31 December 2021

Burning down (old) Parliament House

- or at least setting fire to the front doors - is apparently the way you now "protest" against "colonial rule".

Yesterday the old Parliament House in the nation's capital was, for the second time, the site of an extraordinary piece of vandalism when "protestors" deliberately set the front doors alight. These "protestors" are gathering in number ready to stage an even bigger event on this country's "national" day. 

Now I am well aware that there are some people who object to our national day holiday. I am well aware of what they believe.  I know the Aboriginal Tent Embassy is 50yrs old. I happened to be in the nation's capital when it was first set up.  I am also well aware that someone is going to say, "Well if Prime Minister McMahon had done the right thing back then you wouldn't have this problem now."

What happened then and what has happened since then are matters for constitutional lawyers and land rights advocates. The "Mabo" case - which recognised aboriginal land rights over the Murray Islands - has dramatically changed the way land rights are viewed.

While it was not until 1962 that all Aboriginal people were included on the electoral roll (thus requiring them to vote) it was possible for Aboriginal males in this state to vote almost from 1836. Women had the right to vote from 1894 and that included Aboriginal women. While the situation varied in other states many Aboriginal people had the right to vote before the referendum which specifically included them. 

This though is not enough for some people. It will never be enough. One of the Greens Senators, who identifies as "aboriginal", tweeted, "Seems like the colonial system is burning down. Happy New Year everyone."  The tweet was deleted about an hour later but the damage was done. 

Someone tried to tell me that this is  "like pulling down a statue". I don't agree. I don't agree with pulling down statues either. If you want to be rid of one then negotiate its removal. It might not be as much "fun" to do it that way, indeed it might be hard work. What it will be though is legal and, while some people will disagree, you will get more support. 


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