Is Complacency Edging Australia Towards a Race-Based Society?

CommentaryIn an illuminating piece published in The Epoch Times, David Daintree likens the imposition of the woke agenda on Australians to “living life under occupation.” The validity of his profound analogy is evidenced by the creeping imposition of the Aboriginal lobby’s policies and demands on the broader Australian population. The First Nations’ lobby’s successful conquest of civil society is seen in the omnipresence of the Welcome to Country ritual, which is now used in all meetings, in hospitals, government departments, universities, private businesses, and, as I discovered on April 25, at Anzac Day ceremonies. In addition, the promotion of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which recommends the creation of The Voice—an advisory body to the Australian Parliament—and the establishment of a commission to prepare a “treaty” between Indigenous people and Australia, is on the government’s agenda. Proponents of The Voice seek to justify its establishment on the ground that it provides compensation for past societal discrimination. Although there is little doubt that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were treated horribly, compensation for past instances of racial discrimination is problematic. This is because living people would be compelled to pay compensation to beneficiaries who themselves have not suffered any discrimination. This backward-looking demand also hides the realisation that the quest to seek compensation involves the assessment of past practices in the light of modern standards. The proposal to seek compensation for societal racial discrimination also denies that people have the right to determine the future when they are alive. In addition, the news bulletins are replete with stories that pieces of valuable and historically significant lands have been returned to their traditional owners. Lately, the biggest island in Sydney Harbour, Me-Mel, also known as Goat Island, has been returned to their traditional Aboriginal owners. Australian author Peter FitzSimons’s personal preference to call the Australian President “Elder” if there is a change from the monarchical to a republican form of government is just another expression of the trend to trample the rights of Australians by succumbing to the demands of a vocal minority. Kooma Aborigines dance for the first time in two centuries on Me-Mel (Goat Island) in Sydney Harbour, Australia, on April 18, 2010. (Torsten Blackwood/AFP via Getty Images) But any constructive criticisms of these developments are likely to be dismissed as the rambling of conservatives or racists. What is worrying is not that these developments have impacted the rights of people but that the majority of Australians are complacent and appear unwilling to push for the maintenance of a free society. Indeed, if my experience is an indication, a majority of non-Aboriginal people slavishly accept these developments, provided they do not directly affect their lives. In these circumstances, it is unsurprising that the woke agenda did not figure prominently in the Australian federal election held in May. Nevertheless, this agenda provides ample examples of institutionalised forms of discrimination, suggesting that Australia could be transitioning to a country where burdens and benefits are no longer distributed equally among everyone, regardless of a person’s race. Moreover, it is a process that the new Labor government intends to accelerate and institutionalise. However, the Aboriginal community does not unanimously support these developments. There are those among this community who believe that symbolic rituals and the land rights industry create divisions that do not address the real disadvantages suffered by Aboriginal people: housing, health, poverty, and entrepreneurship, among others. Indigenous Australians are not a homogeneous group, and the Uluru Statement from the Heart and The Voice are not unanimously accepted, even by prominent citizens. For example, Jacinta Price, the new Liberal Senator for the Northern Territory and Warren Mundine, a former president of the Labor Party, consider these rituals as band-aid solutions to the disadvantage suffered predominantly by non-urban Aboriginals. We live in an era where symbolism is regarded as social “progress,” even if it results in the unequal treatment of Australians, involving the creation of a race-based society. Walter Waverley—a pseudonym adopted because of his concern for reprisals by the woke brigade—argued in an article published in Quadrant Online that non-Aboriginal Australians celebrate many aspects of the culture inherited from their forebears. He rhetorically asks the question: “Can we not expect the same of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters?” Additionally, he wonders why there is a need “to reconcile with an imperfect and largely irrelevant past when we all must live in the today?” Perhaps Waverley’s rhetorical questions and Daintree’s discussion of a woke oppression are harbinger

Is Complacency Edging Australia Towards a Race-Based Society?

Commentary

In an illuminating piece published in The Epoch Times, David Daintree likens the imposition of the woke agenda on Australians to “living life under occupation.” The validity of his profound analogy is evidenced by the creeping imposition of the Aboriginal lobby’s policies and demands on the broader Australian population.

The First Nations’ lobby’s successful conquest of civil society is seen in the omnipresence of the Welcome to Country ritual, which is now used in all meetings, in hospitals, government departments, universities, private businesses, and, as I discovered on April 25, at Anzac Day ceremonies.

In addition, the promotion of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which recommends the creation of The Voice—an advisory body to the Australian Parliament—and the establishment of a commission to prepare a “treaty” between Indigenous people and Australia, is on the government’s agenda.

Proponents of The Voice seek to justify its establishment on the ground that it provides compensation for past societal discrimination. Although there is little doubt that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were treated horribly, compensation for past instances of racial discrimination is problematic. This is because living people would be compelled to pay compensation to beneficiaries who themselves have not suffered any discrimination.

This backward-looking demand also hides the realisation that the quest to seek compensation involves the assessment of past practices in the light of modern standards.

The proposal to seek compensation for societal racial discrimination also denies that people have the right to determine the future when they are alive.

In addition, the news bulletins are replete with stories that pieces of valuable and historically significant lands have been returned to their traditional owners. Lately, the biggest island in Sydney Harbour, Me-Mel, also known as Goat Island, has been returned to their traditional Aboriginal owners.

Australian author Peter FitzSimons’s personal preference to call the Australian President “Elder” if there is a change from the monarchical to a republican form of government is just another expression of the trend to trample the rights of Australians by succumbing to the demands of a vocal minority.

Epoch Times Photo
Kooma Aborigines dance for the first time in two centuries on Me-Mel (Goat Island) in Sydney Harbour, Australia, on April 18, 2010. (Torsten Blackwood/AFP via Getty Images)

But any constructive criticisms of these developments are likely to be dismissed as the rambling of conservatives or racists.

What is worrying is not that these developments have impacted the rights of people but that the majority of Australians are complacent and appear unwilling to push for the maintenance of a free society.

Indeed, if my experience is an indication, a majority of non-Aboriginal people slavishly accept these developments, provided they do not directly affect their lives.

In these circumstances, it is unsurprising that the woke agenda did not figure prominently in the Australian federal election held in May. Nevertheless, this agenda provides ample examples of institutionalised forms of discrimination, suggesting that Australia could be transitioning to a country where burdens and benefits are no longer distributed equally among everyone, regardless of a person’s race. Moreover, it is a process that the new Labor government intends to accelerate and institutionalise.

However, the Aboriginal community does not unanimously support these developments. There are those among this community who believe that symbolic rituals and the land rights industry create divisions that do not address the real disadvantages suffered by Aboriginal people: housing, health, poverty, and entrepreneurship, among others.

Indigenous Australians are not a homogeneous group, and the Uluru Statement from the Heart and The Voice are not unanimously accepted, even by prominent citizens.

For example, Jacinta Price, the new Liberal Senator for the Northern Territory and Warren Mundine, a former president of the Labor Party, consider these rituals as band-aid solutions to the disadvantage suffered predominantly by non-urban Aboriginals.

We live in an era where symbolism is regarded as social “progress,” even if it results in the unequal treatment of Australians, involving the creation of a race-based society.

Walter Waverley—a pseudonym adopted because of his concern for reprisals by the woke brigade—argued in an article published in Quadrant Online that non-Aboriginal Australians celebrate many aspects of the culture inherited from their forebears. He rhetorically asks the question: “Can we not expect the same of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters?” Additionally, he wonders why there is a need “to reconcile with an imperfect and largely irrelevant past when we all must live in the today?”

Perhaps Waverley’s rhetorical questions and Daintree’s discussion of a woke oppression are harbingers of more challenges to come in the near future.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Gabriël A. Moens AM is an emeritus professor of law at the University of Queensland, and served as pro vice-chancellor and dean at Murdoch University. In 2003, Moens was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal by the prime minister for services to education. He has taught extensively across Australia, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Moens has recently published two novels “A Twisted Choice” (Boolarong Press, 2020) and “The Coincidence” (Connor Court Publishing, 2021).