Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Roll on 2015

So, 2014 is drawing to a close and we're about to enter the uncharted territory of 2015. As New Year's Eve is one of the only gazetted holidays I actually celebrate in this country, I thought I would take the time to write a self-indulgent dissertation on this year and what it has meant.

Firstly, I do note that I am having less “bad years” than what I had 10-15 years ago. I don't know if this is a case of age and experience assisting me in taking the good with the bad in a way I didn't have the know-how to do back then, whether my life is just genuinely better than it was then or whether I am just more comfortable in my own skin and give less of a crap about some of the nasty stuff because I recognise there are plenty of good folks out there. I'd probably say all three apply and overlap to some extent. I am getting through years better and I am definitely enjoying myself more.

2014 has been a total mixed-bag of a year, but overall it's been a good one. There have been some tough moments, some sad farewells, stressful situations and some failures along the way. It has also though, been a year of possibility and opportunity. Some of the highlights of this year include:
  • Catching roughly 32 single flights over the space of the year, including attending the WIPC:E conference in Hawaii
  • Presenting talks and being on panels at the Forum for Indigenous Research UoW, the Women's and Gender Studies Conference, the Emerging Writers' Festival, the Model UN and many others
  • Causing the receptionist at work to laugh at my expense because I keep trying to dodge radio interviews. For the record, it got pretty full-on interview-wise for a bit there. I even got to the point where I said that I would only do pre-recorded interviews for mob because I could at least always trust them to respectfully showcase my opinions. Bad experiences with some mainstream providers left a horrible taste in my mouth. My advice to these mainstream providers is this: if you are going to seek Indigenous opinion, do so respectfully keeping in mind that our opinions are completely marginalised in this country. Don't do so tokenistically and therefore contribute to our marginalisation
  • Being offered two columns – one in Tracker Magazine which was unfortunately short-lived due to “government interference” and one which is still in process and will hopefully have an outcome soon. Also, I'd have to say contributing to the diversification of discussion by mob on the topic of Constitutional Recognition, as this has led to more of our alternate views being aired and has taken the focus away a little from self-serving white rich male conservatives who should actually be considered to be talking out of turn on this matter
  • Contributing to an anthology (due out in 2015), a NextWave publication, Tara Moss's book (thanks for asking for the quote!), amongst others
  • Meeting a huge bunch of really awesome people – via the above activities, via my union work, or in general life (2014 has been a year of challenging my introversion!). Add this to the awesome people I have known for years and I'd say I'm pretty sorted for wonderful folks. I want to thank you all
  • Working at a place such as the NTEU where I have brilliant colleagues and where I am paid to be politically-engaged every day. It's not always perfect but there are also not many gigs where you can say that you hang around like-minded types everyday and get to go to protest rallies
  • Having my first ever positive experience being on TV, thanks to the team at NITV
  • Starting up a Facebook page and having the most brilliant group of people join it!
  • Seeing the rise of a young, energetic bunch of activists who are passionate and public and are not taking any shit from anyone. You lot have no idea how much you have inspired me and, as a late Generation X-er I just wanted to throw my encouragement out there and urge you to keep fighting the good fight
There have been many other great moments, and I have many people to thank for the opportunities, for the collaborations, for the encouragement, and just in general. So please, take this as my general thanks and apologies that it is not individual.


It has been difficult in some ways too. I won't dwell on these difficulties but I have learnt that some people will choose to be racist/sexist/etc even with all the opportunities to not be and there is nothing I can do about it. I have also learnt that some choose to not collaborate and would rather try to drag someone else down to build their own notoriety and there is nothing I can do about that either. I hope both those types take 2015 to grow somewhat.


Finally, I hope 2015 is a good year for everyone. I hope “the system” gets smashed to smithereens and we are all living in a better world come 2016. I hope for myself that it continues to be a time of excellent adventures, challenges, experience broadening and ridiculous times spent with wonderfully ridiculous people. I also hope that my CD collection continues to grow, that I continue to scoff curries, that I grow out of my clumsiness and that I can go a week without having to whinge about my back. Thanks for reading my stuff, for visiting my blog and for all the support.

All the best!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What does this tell us?

The Abbott government supports Constitutional Recognition and says it's what Aboriginal people really really want (and funds associated campaigns to the tune of $10M over two years)

The Shorten opposition supports Constitutional Recognition

The Greens support Constitutional Recognition

The NSW Premier Mike Baird supports Constitutional Recognition and has thrown down the gauntlet for other states to follow suit

Former Prime Ministers Hawke and Howard support Constitutional Recognition and indeed, Howard tried to introduce it during his term in office. Initially JWH; being the huge advocate for Indigenous equality that he was (/sarc); proposed that a preamble to the Constitution be adopted including the words "honouring Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, the nation's first people, for their deep kinship with their lands and for their ancient and continuing cultures which enrich the life of our country" - this failed at vote. Then it was part of the policies promised during his 2007 election campaign just seconds after the Northern Territory Intervention had been implemented. Hawke? Well he was the one who reneged on his promise of a Treaty.

So as far as resounding endorsements for this idea and its merits when it comes to promoting true equality, I'm feeling rather underwhelmed. When is what Aboriginal people think going to be of actual importance to this debate? Or are we just supposed to sit here and continue to be told what it is that we want and that will be good for us while we nod along placidly?