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By Christine Fletcher

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Extra info for Aboriginal self-determination in Australia

Sample text

This contrast, I believe, is one that we must consider: we must ensure that all politicians, public servants and industry groups are able to consider the contrast between what is said overseas - that is, the impressions that we are giving about being a mature nation with the capacity to deal effectively and equitably with the rights of our indigenous peoples - with certain key aspects of the debate here in Australia. Unfortunately, when I returned to Australia, I heard of a senior public servant, representing his state government in the debate over drafting appropriate legislation for responding to the High Court native title decision.

Want to make bigger rocket. One day I bet pretty damn soon rocket go straight like spear. Put man on moon. Then I bet plenty trouble, Man and Earth burst like bubble. People go round like leaf in willy-willy, tear their hair, all s o r y and silly, white fella and him piccaninny die in city. Black fella in bush he feel pity. Whitefella wrong. Call each other liar. Should have sat down quiet and talked by fire. I want to close by saying there is room for trust, there is room for belief and there is room for reconciliation.

It is no wonder that Aboriginal people objected, given the chance. Government departments condoned these activities. Up to 75 per cent, or more, of single Aboriginal girls' wages in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory were paid into a special Native Affairs Department fund, while 50 per cent of married Aboriginal workers' wages went into that fund also. The money was supposedly held in trust for them, but, sad to say, the people who earned it, who paid into these trusts, never saw that money again.

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