Indigenous funding: so little to show for $33bn

In 2015-16, $33.4 billion of our taxes went on indigenous matters. This was $44,886 for every indigenous Australian.

Dtarneen Onus-Williams addresses the crowd at Parliament House in Melbourneduring an Invasion Day rally.
Dtarneen Onus-Williams addresses the crowd at Parliament House in Melbourneduring an Invasion Day rally.
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In the photo, the young woman wears a black T-shirt that says “Destroy white supremacy”. Her head is bowed, and with a half-smile she gazes reverently down at a cardboard box in her hands. The box has no lid and is tipped towards the camera. Inside, a large doughnut, iced in the colours of the indigenous flag.

This picture is on the WAR Facebook page. WAR stands for Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, “a collective of young Aboriginal people committed to the cause of decolonisation and the philosophy of Aboriginal nationalism — resistance and revival”.

After hours of research on the topic, it is impossible to say what would occur during an Australian decolonisation event. Nevertheless, should a sudden, mass eviction of anyone non-indigenous occur, it will be unlikely that sugar doughnuts would be available. Perhaps this is why the photo has been posted, as a hint to WAR’s 22,000 followers: victory is nigh, eat these now while you still can.

WAR came to our attention because of the group’s association with “invasion day” rally organiser Dtarneen Onus-Williams, she of the “F..k Australia, hope it burns to the ground” vibe.

After her original comments, and while the storm raged, Onus-Williams doubled down. The comments were “a metaphor, not actually a statement to be taken literally”, however, “I just want everything, all the governments, to fall apart because our people are dying and nobody cares and the whole system needs to change. The leaders of this country continue to ignore and oppress us. I am sick of our people getting locked up and dying in custody, of our young people suiciding.”

WAR chimed in on Facebook: “In response to the attacks on WAR members and the call to burn Australia to the ground at the Naarm Abolish Australia Day Rally, we would like to issue the following statement:

“F..k Australia.

“F..k your land theft, your child stealing and your state sanctioned murders.

“F..k your governments, your military and your police.

“F..k your concentration camps dressed up as correctional facilities and immigration detention centres.

“F..k your economy, your greed and your cult of the almighty dollar.

“F..k your poisoning of water, your wholesale destruction of land and your pollution of our atmosphere.

“F..k your language forced upon us and violently attempting to replace our very own.

“F..k your white supremacy, your patriarchy and your capitalism.

“F..k your flag, your anthem and your precious national day.

“WAR will not rest until we burn this entire rotten settler colony called Australia, illegally and violently imposed on stolen Aboriginal land at the expense of the blood of countless thousands, to the f..king ground, until every corrupt and illegal institution of white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist settler colonial power forced upon us is no more. We will not rest until we build a society that cares for and honours the Earth, our mother, that respects the interconnectedness of all beings, that is founded on our sovereignty and responsibility to this country and the people who live on it, and that offers a place of safety and prosperity for our people and for all those oppressed and excluded … refugees, people of colour, LGBTQIA people, poor people, disabled people.

“Abolish Australia, not just Australia Day.”

As rants go, this belongs to the middle-class, university student, and publicly funded, activist genre. There are real warriors and then there are keyboard warriors. This clearly comes from the latter.

Abolishing Australia — there are days when this seems an attractive option. All the governments falling apart — what an idea, and how very appealing, especially when the business activity statements forms are due.

Seriously though, Onus-Williams says her people are getting locked up, suiciding, and dying. This is true. She also says nobody cares — and this, most definitely, is not.

In 2015-16, $33.4 billion of our taxes went on indigenous matters. This was $44,886 for every indigenous Australian.

To Onus-Williams I say this: people do care about the plight of indigenous Australians, many of us care very deeply, as a matter of fact. The problems are shocking but seem intractable — we feel horrified and helpless; we don’t know how to assist.

Worse, no matter how much money we give, it is never enough. Thirty-three billion dollars a year goes off into the ether, never to be seen again, and nothing seems to ever improve. It is a great mystery, isn’t it, where all that money goes: whose pockets does it all end up in, and what on earth do they do with it?

More:

“F..k Australia, I hope it f..king burns to the ground.’’

Again: this is not about changing the date of Australia Day to another. It is a full frontal attack on all  civilised people who call Australia home.  Malcontents, Mohammedans, feral trash & savages  denying the birthright of our children.

Australia Day: hardline group not interested in changing date

Invasion Day protesters in Melbourne. Picture: David Caird

Invasion Day protesters in Melbourne. Picture: David Caird

The organisers of the largest Aboriginal rally staged since the 1970s land rights movement have dismissed the campaign to change the date of Australia Day as a “feel good’’ gesture that would do nothing to address fundamental issues of Aboriginal rights, sovereignty and social and economic results.

The hardline position adopted by activists group Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance movement has put an emerging generation of Aboriginal leaders at odds with the Greens and other left-wing political parties pushing for Australia Day to be shifted from January 26.

“We are here for our sovereignty, we are not here to help ­people find a day to celebrate,’’ WAR founder Miriki Onus told the big crowd at the start of an ­“Invasion Day’’ march through central Melbourne’s streets.

“I don’t want to feel good about change the date. I want justice for all my people, every single one of them. And I will fight every single day for that, on any f..king Australia Day. Any day you celebrate, I’ll protest, I’ll be there.’’

Fellow organiser Dtarneen Onus-Williams took the rhetoric one step further.

“We have not organised this to change the date. We have organised this to abolish Australia Day because f..k Australia. F..k Australia, I hope it f..king burns to the ground.’’

Aboriginal writer, academic and activist Tony Birch, an influential figure in the 1970s Aboriginal rights movement, said changing the date would, on its own, achieve nothing.

Related:

 

  • Waleed said changing the date of Australia Day was ‘the next inevitability’ 
  • He stated whatever people’s views were, they should prepare for a new date
  • Aly drew comparisons between the same sex marriage debate and Australia Day 
  • Friday saw rallies demanding the date be changed and flag-waving celebrations

Does anyone in his right mind give a f*kc what Wally has to say?

 

“To those who are suggesting that we change the date, to those who are suggesting that we hold this event on another day, this country does not deserve a day of national celebration in any ­capacity,’’ he said. “This country, this white nation, is not mature enough to have a day of national celebration.’’

Greens leader Richard Di ­Natale addressed the crowd an hour earlier and pressed the case to change the date as a first step ­towards Aboriginal sovereignty.

“We will change the date, we will reconcile and we will achieve a treaty with the First Nations ­people,’’ he said.

Greens MP Lidia Thorpe, the first indigenous woman to be elected to the Victorian parliament, called for flags at Parliament House to be flown at half-mast on January 26 to acknowledge the dispossession and atrocities against Aboriginal people.

“I see the 26th of January as an opportunity for this nation to come together and one of the ways we can do that is to first know the truth of the day and to have ownership of past wrongs, and allow some healing time for this nation to come together and decide on a date that we can all celebrate,’’ she said.

About 10,000 people marched through the city, dwarfing the turnout for an official Australia Day parade earlier on the same streets. Several signs declared RIP Australia Day, Why Celebrate Genocide and F..k the Date — Change the System.

Ms Onus-Williams used a megaphone to heckle people who had come to watch the earlier parade, accusing them of celebrating genocide, dancing on the graves of her ancestors and flying a flag soaked in Aboriginal blood.

WAR, which was formed in 2014, rejects Australian citizenship and the Australian legal system and describes liberal principles such as freedom of speech, ­expression, association and ­religion as “ideals serving only the interests of wealthy whites with power and privilege”.

More:

In Melbournistan, nothing is worse than the “far right”

Police on alert for ‘invasion day’ rally and far-right beach party

The AGE

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Police are keeping a close eye on the potential for violent clashes at competing rallies on Australia Day, with Melbourne set to grind to a halt as thousands of protesters flood into the city on Friday.

A huge crowd is expected to gather on the steps of Parliament House and march to Federation Square for the annual ‘invasion day’ rally, for which protesters have been asked to wear black to symbolise the mourning felt by the Indigenous community.

It will be 230 years since the establishment of a British colony in Australia and the demonstration will remember the 80th anniversary of the first “day of mourning” in 1938, when Aboriginal people walked in silence to protest the “callous treatment of our people by the white man”.

Far-right groups the True Blue Crew and United Patriots Front are also planning their own “beach party” in St Kilda to celebrate Australia Day and could also make an appearance at the CBD rally, as well as a citizenship ceremony in Moreland City Council.

Moreland drew criticism last year for pledging to no longer refer to Australia Day because of the distress it causes Indigenous communities, however it did not go as far as the City of Darebin and Yarra City Council which voted to stop holding citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

In response, the federal government stripped both councils of their right to host the ceremonies completely.

And rightly so.