The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Stolen Land – National Week of Reconciliation

We should not forget that Howard’s 10 Point Plan legislated away the landmark High Court ruling on Native Title and the Keating Government’s Wik legislation. In the words of Deputy PM Tim Fischer the 10 Point Plan delivered ‘bucket loads of [Native Title] extinguishment’.

Together with Howard’s refusal to say Sorry or accept the findings of the Stolen Generation commission, Australia again was turning its back on our indigenous culture and society after coming so far through every government from Frazer and Whitlam to Hawke and Keating.

We’ve hardening our hearts and are destroying the soul of our nation.

During the days of the 10 Point Plan, I met a lady who was part of the indigenous lobby group representation for Howard’s consultative panel. On arrival they were given something like one or two hours to read hundreds of pages of legislation, with only one copy provided and returned at the end of the ‘consultation’.

I was enraged and saddened by this turning away, as though we were now stealing their land again, and enamoured enough of the wonderful melodious melancholy Celtic gift of the gab style of Shane Howard that I wrote the following song which won me my first accolade at a Folk Festival competition and launched my musical career (yeah… right).

Howard is an unreconstructed methodist missionary assimilationist saving the souls of the colored savages when it comes to aboriginal affairs. Don’t believe anything he says as he tries to convince you otherwise. His impressionable formative adolescent years were spent deep in Methodist Youth Land circa 1950, channeling all that wicked teen spirit into saving pickaninny souls for Jesus, make no mistake about it.

Another reason why Howard’s time should be up, even if it isn’t, by virtue of some miraculous Terror™ event or the markets go down the gurgler.

Stolen Land

As wretched convicts bound in chains our ancestors were damned
Paupers, rogues and dissidents, they were exiled to this land
And all the ancient dream-time place, the mountains, hills and plains
Became the King’s possession as Australia was proclaimed

Free settlers came to work the land, to start their lives anew
They cleared the trees to graze and farm as the young country grew
With ambit claims the squatters came, the land to occupy
With leasehold granted by the Crown, they didn’t need to buy

With blood and greed we stole their land two hundred years ago
For we were young and had the need to make our country grow
Some say it’s all behind us now, that we are not to blame
But it will be our lasting shame if we steal their land again

The settlers and the natives clashed for a hundred years and more
Blood stained the earth as lives were lost, they waged a dreadful war
Dispossessed of their tribal home, the natives were in retreat
To mission stations and the edge of town they sent in grim defeat

The squatters grew more wealthy with their cattle, wool and wheat
With profit from native labour the injustice was complete
Vast tracts of land were over-used, turned into deserts of sand
No compensation to the natives for the loss of all their land

The native people of Australia, the high court has declared
Have rights to native title, the land must now be shared
But the lease holders and miners, to share is not their aim
Native title they’d extinguish, to steal the land again

The politicians’ empty promises, claim we are one nation
But then they rule for some, not all, causing hatred and division
Its time to end this shameless greed, for one and all to care
In this great land of sweeping plains, there’s enough for all to share

OK, so I always struggled to get it scan properly when singing it, but looking back at it now, I’m happy that the last two verses say it all about the Howard Era, then and now. It ain’t pretty and it ain’t working. The gig is up.

Thanks for the hat tip from The Thinker’s Podium which inspired this piece to acknowledge the National Week of Reconciliation, in the 40th anniversary year of the referendum changing the constitution so that the Federal Government could legislate on matters concerning indigenous people in exchange for giving them a vote and granting them rights as Australian citizens. So far, much of it has been against the interests of aboriginal people, and none more so than HowardCo in returning our zeitgeist to the attitudes of the 50s which so appalled my dear old pa when I was but a wee lad.So yeah, Tim, I’d have to conclude that governments can change people by providing leadership (indeed, in all but modern free-market culture this has been a primary duty). If nothing else, HowardCo has shown us what happens when you abnegate that duty for eleven years.What’s that old saw about conservatives who don’t believe that government works, and then get elected and prove it?

Filed under: Australian values, Big Picture, Indigenous, Music, Politics

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The Dog’s Bollocks

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