Not for a moment am I against the advancement and enhancing of indigenous Australians. I worked in aboriginal communities in both Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and undertook studies to fine tune my cross cultural understandings.
It is against this background of work, study and observation that I find myself increasingly concerned about ideologies that lead toward separation rather than togetherness of cultural groups.
Land rights and title conferral have given exclusive land ownership to an increasing number of indigenous groups. Juxtapositionally that locks more and more non-aboriginal people out in access terms. Permits have to be acquired and other considerations taken into account by non-aboriginal people before they can access larger and larger percentages of Australia’s land mass.
Increasingly, the impression is given that Australia does not belong to us all.
Again I acknowledge the consideration needs to be given to elevating indigenous Australians. But there is rather strange thing that seems to be unfolding. There are more and more social, sporting, academic, and developmental opportunities being offered to aboriginal people, which exclude those who are not indigenous. Aboriginal people are invited to be a part and parcel of all organisations and groups to which other people be long but the reverse is about exclusivity.
It seems to me that for indigenous Australians, “rights“ are to the fore but “responsibility” is downplayed.