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Australia, you blew it!

Sorry Day March across Sydney Harbour Bridge - 28 May 2000 - photo F Hanson
Vincent Lingiari and Gough Whitlam

Divisiveness and misinformation have again proven to be the most valuable political tools.

For too long, successive governments dominated by middle-aged white men have presided over the lives of First Nations Australians.  “We know what’s good for you."  "You will yield to a European way of life and submit to our laws.”

The 2023 October 14 Referendum to enshrine a “voice” to Parliament was a lost opportunity to show that a majority of Australians have risen above the imperious bullshit, and were prepared to prevent future governments from ignoring the recommendations of aboriginal people or weakening legislated authorities that have had an impact on their lives.

The change to our constitution would have had negligible effect on the lives of most Australians, but could have made a big difference to the well-being of aboriginal people and preservation of their culture and beliefs.

After a predictable resounding “No” vote, I’m not so proud to be part of what appears to be a country still entrenched with unfounded fears and racist teachings.

Let me remind you that on 28 May 2000 about 250,000 people walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to show their support for reconciliation between Australia’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.  So many people participated in the walk that the event took nearly six hours.  Soon after, similar events took place in other cities and towns around Australia.  Together these events were the biggest demonstration of public support for the cause of First Nations Australians. 

So Australia... why the change of heart?

[Photo montage by F Hanson - Sorry Day March across Sydney Harbour Bridge, 28 May 2000]
[Vincent Lingiari and Gough Whitlam - National Portrait Gallery]