2023: An Indigenous year in review by Dean Foley
The Status Quo Isn't Enough: Aboriginal Communities Seek Greater Action from Labor & Liberal "Leaders"
This quick analysis highlights some key events and underscores the deep-seated challenges that (still) persist, despite political promises and public discourse.
And at the heart of this review is a resonant call to action…because the status quo maintained by both Labor and Liberal bureaucrats is failing to meet the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal communities.
Australian Referendum on Indigenous Voice to Parliament
Massive failure from Labor and Aboriginal bureaucrats, who not only lost hundreds of millions of funding that was probably spent just on media and promoting The (Labor) Voice, which could have instead gone to Aboriginal housing and closing the gap…
But instead, this personal agenda might have set back Aboriginal human rights, specifically the aspirations of self-determination, by many years….
So in hindsight, what Gary Foley said about The Voice was true.
“What Aboriginal people called Aborigines Talking Shit In Canberra”, he chuckles.
But in summary, even though the overarching idea was good (closing the disparity gaps), they offered just an advisory board and constitution recognition, which was probably not a strong enough proposal to get most Australians to vote yes.
The Voice: An advisory board is our solution.
Austrlaians: Yeah, nah…
And the closest thing I can compare to is the 1999 Australian republic referendum, which had a good overarching idea, but the solution proposed by Howard’s Liberal party turned many people off from voting yes.
So while it’s easier to deflect legitimate criticism and blame the anti-Indigenous groups, at the end of the day, I think there were bigger issues in the foundations of the proposal.
Just a massive waste of time and money.
2024 NSW Aboriginal Land Council Election
So while the election will take place over January (registrations) - February (election), NSW Aboriginal Affairs, specifically NSW Aboriginal Land Council, which falls under David Harris MP’s portfolio, seems to be in a massive mess.
From losing around $100 million in the Statutory Investment Fund (SIF) to having 2x Councillors leaving within a couple of months because of HR/governance issues.
And even though the NSW Labor party promised positive change, they seem to be happy to stick with the status quo, which is disappointing because Aboriginal people deserve better!
But in saying that, NSW Premier Chris Minns campaigned for change outside of the “doomed towers” for change and supposedly shook hands with victims and promised to help, only to forget about them…
So with that in mind, we can’t expect much from him or NSW Labor…
And it’s nothing personal against Aboriginal people. It just seems to be politicians and bureaucrats (Labor, Liberals, etc.) sticking to the status quo, which seems to be talking a lot but not delivering much value to the community.
But hopefully mob in NSW see that the old NSWALC Councillors seem to be displaying similar behaviour / characteristics to Western politicians, and hopefully enough people vote for change in 2024.
Aboriginality Identity Fraud
It seems to be getting out of control… and the reason why nothing is being done is because it seems to align with the government and (large) corporate agenda.
Like Westpac, many companies would prefer to allow their employees to self-identify to make it appear like they are helping close the gaps, even though there is probably a massive gap in their actual impact vs what they promote in the news.
And while the Westpac scandal is outdated (2022 story), don’t be fooled… this is but the tip of the iceberg.
There seems to be a lot more “under the ocean” which hasn’t been exposed yet.
For example, Indigenous Business Australia just celebrated 21,000 home loans… but how many of those loans went to frauds instead of (Aboriginal) people who needed it!?
The actual costs and missed opportunity costs in closing the disparity gaps are massive.
And a recent article by Robert Chappell called “Staff Picks 2023: Indigenous community looks to heal weeks after a “pretendian” is exposed” actually looks into the tangible negative impact of people pretending to be Indigenous.
But here's the deal… it's not only about money, like getting loans for houses or businesses or even snagging grants from government or philanthropic organisations.
Because some of these “Pretendians” are getting jobs as so-called 'experts' on Indigenous culture and policies.
So we're talking about big decisions here – policies that are supposed to fix deep-rooted issues like colonialism… but what happens when these 'experts' aren't who they say they are and are non-Indigenous people pretending to be Indigenous?
It's more than just a little 'oops, got it (heritage) wrong' moment. 😅
Because their advice could lead to policies or academic research that ends up hurting real Indigenous peoples and communities in ways that matter.
A year of bureaucrats doing what bureaucrats do, which is a lot of talking but little action / impact… and that’s not just my opinion because the data shows that the gaps aren’t closing.
In addition, you have to remember that the government changed the (closing the gap) targets to make it easier for them to fix the disparities, but they still keep failing to progress things…
So I wouldn’t be surprised (maybe in 2024?) that they scrap the whole thing because it kind of exposes them, to be honest… and the worst thing for a politician is losing public confidence (failing to do stuff) and ultimately losing their only KPI, which is getting enough votes.
So in wrapping this up (2023), it sure had its rollercoaster moments in Aboriginal affairs – from the bumpy referendum journey to identity fraud scandals shaking things up.
Most of the identity fraud scandals were in Canada and USA… but Australia seems to lag behind at times (probably because of our slow internet speeds?), and it won’t be too long until fraudsters in Australia are exposed.
But hopefully these fraudsters will be prosecuted by the government and have to pay back the money they’ve taken from Aboriginal people, cultural damage, and maybe even jail time, which will deter others from doing the same.
“Criminal charges have been laid against three family members who lied about their Indigenous identity for personal and monetary gain, authorities in Canada announced.” - article.
But hey, let's not get stuck in the doom and gloom.
Because the new year is knocking on our door, and it's loaded with possibilities for positive change… and the fresh breeze of hope is just around the corner, waiting for us to embrace it. 🤞🙏
And looking ahead, I'm optimistic that the (real) voices of First Nations will ring louder and clearer.
Going into 2024, hopefully this spirit could be the game changer in pushing for more meaningful and impactful policies.
So as we say goodbye, let's not lose sight of the lessons learned.
Here's to 2024 – a year where we hope to see the dawn of new beginnings, stronger communities and policies that truly reflect the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal peoples.
Let's roll up our sleeves and prepare to make it a year to remember for all the right reasons. Here’s to positive change! 🌟
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