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John Passant

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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

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Sick kids and paying upfront


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Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)



Uluru – it belongs to them, let’s give it back

Uluru is an iconic Australian symbol.  Astute readers will have noticed that it forms the backdrop to John’s photo on this site.

Each year the rock attracts 350,000  tourists, half of whom come from overseas. 

About 100,000 people climb it. 

Uluru is an aboriginal sacred site. It is an integral part of the creation story of the Anangu, the traditional owners.

For this reason they want to stop people going up it.

At the moment there are respectful signs pointing out that the Anangu don’t want people to clamber all over Uluru. 

As the figures show, many tourists ignore the wishes of the owners.

A draft plan for the national park which includes Uluru has recommended that climbing be banned.

The Environment Minister will make the final decision. 

This is an outrage.  The traditional owners have to crawl to a white Minister in far away Canberra for their wishes to be implemented on their land.

 The Minister is Peter Garrett.

Garrett was, in a former life, lead singer for a band called Midnight Oil.  One of their most famous songs is Beds are Burning.  It’s about Aboriginal sovereignty over their own land.

The song’s chorus goes like this:

The time has come, to say fair’s fair,
To pay the rent, to pay our share,
The time has come, a fact’s a fact,
It belongs to them, let’s give it back,

Exactly Peter.  Will you respect the wishes of the traditional owners and ban climbing on this sacred site?

Or will you give in to the vested interests, the racists and their liberal cheer squad and override those wishes.

Certainly Rudd Labor has form here. It continues to override the wishes of Aboriginal people with its racist intervention (i.e. invasion) in the Northern Territory.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has already said he thinks people should be allowed to trample over Uluru, just as he has trampled over aboriginal rights in the Northern Territory.

So, will good Peter or bad Peter prevail?  And if good Peter wins that inner battle, will he stand up to the Prime Minister and defend the powerless against the powerful, aborigines against the State? Unlikely.

The Peter Garrett of old would have banned climbing. 

But now that he is a Labor Minister – in Parliament to make a difference no less! – he may well listen to powerful companies, racists and their liberal apologists and refuse to ban climbing on the rock. 

The fact that I could even write that last sentence and that it is a possibility shows the utter bankruptcy of the notion that you can infiltrate the ALP and make it a progressive party. Labor rules in the interests of capital, not people.

As Peter Garrett sang in the Midnight Oil song The Dead Heart (commissioned by the Mutitjulu community for the handover of Uluru to them in 1985):

Mining companies, pastoral companies
Uranium companies
Collected companies
Got more right than people
Got more say than people

Peter, put the aboriginal community first. Give them more say than companies.

Ban climbing on Uluru, and do it now. Otherwise you reinforce the genocide and dispossession that Australian society is built on.

But go further than a ban.  Empower aboriginal people.

Return Australia, their land, to them.

Without this recognition of prior ownership and empowerment policies that flow from this recognition,  a ban is just tokenism, a sop to our collective middle class conscience without addressing the real issue – the theft of the land from the aboriginal people.



Comment from peter piper
Time July 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm

if Ayers Rock “belongs to them”, then the rest of modern Australia “belongs to us” – can we then ban the blacks from our society? Its only fair