Late last week Warren Mundine, billed as an “Aboriginal leader”, gave Samantha Hawley of the ABC Radio’s PM program his views of the report by UN’s Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Human Rights, Professor James Anaya and his findings that give a damning assessment of the Federal Government’s Intervention in the Northern Territory.
Mundine didn’t hold back and his voice was but one of a chorus – from both sides of politics – of those that shouted down the good Professor and his findings.
Maybe for the good Professor it is a case of when everyone disagrees with you then you must be getting it right!
Here is what Warren Mundine told the ABC’s Samantha Hawley:
Aboriginal leader and former ALP president, Warren Mundine says that’s the right action to take. But he’s outraged by Professor Anaya’s findings and says his views should be completely ignored.
WARREN MUNDINE: I think this Rapporteur’s report should be dealt with the same as every other Rapporteur’s report; just drop it in the bin and actually get on with the job. What is detrimental about the protecting of children, the protecting of women against sexual assault, physical assault?
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: He has found that elements of the intervention are racially discriminatory; but are you saying that that’s okay given the problems that were in those communities?
WARREN MUNDINE: When Aboriginal women or Indigenous women I should say, are being raped then we need to have policies in place that deal with the rape of those women.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Rapporteur also said there is entrenched racism in this country; would you agree with that statement?
WARREN MUNDINE: (laughs) Look, I think Australia is a great place. I think Australians are great people and decent people. We are one of the most modern, human rights, civil societies in the world.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Okay but, so there’s not an entrenched racism in your view in this nation?
WARREN MUNDINE: There are issues in this nation and there is racism in this nation, anyone would be a fool to say there’s not. But there is racism and there’s problems in all nations. We are actually, in Australia, working towards resolving those issues.
MARK COLVIN: The former ALP president and Aboriginal leader, Warren Mundine ending Samantha Hawley’s report.
Richard Downs will be familiar to readers of these pages from recent posts about the fight that he and the Alyawarra people of Ampilatwatja north-east of Alice Springs from recent posts here and here.
For mine, if you wanted to speak to or hear from a real “Aboriginal leader” and you had a choice between Richard Downs and Warren Mundine then I would take Richard Downs without a blink.
Richard Downs and his people sit out in the dust and heat at their bush camp after walking off from the township of Ampilatwatja in protest at the abject failure of this and previous Federal governments to accord his people their dues as Australian citizens – they want back what the government stole from then when the NT Intervention rolled into town.
They want the government to give them back their equality, their dignity, their freedoms and their right to live their lives as they decide – not as decided by some shiny-bummed bureaucrat in far-away Darwin or Canberra.
And Richard Downs isn’t just a man of action – he is also a man of words – and I for one would give good money to see a stand-up debate between Richard and Warren – I reckon Warren wouldn’t stand a chance.
Maybe that is why Warren and the other so-called Aboriginal leaders don’t dare take a step inside the Territory – if they did they would find themselves outclassed by the many people of Richard Down’s calibre who live their quiet lives in ever increasing desperation – not due to their own failings or the failings of their people – but a desperation caused by the manifest failings of governments that reckon they know how Richard and his people should live their lives and fail even in that task almost absolutely.
Here is what Richard Downs and his people said to Warren Mundine this afternoon:
PRESS RELEASE FROM RICHARD DOWNS
On behalf of my people I am calling on you to heed the advice of the UN special rapporteur on Indigenous rights and support your people demanding an end to the NT Intervention.
In your statement against the rapporteur you say the Intervention is protecting of women against sexual assault, physical assault. But this is not true – you need to focus on the big picture of what is happening to us. Your governments so called measures under the intervention go far beyond this to take away our dignity, our self esteem, and land control, disempowerment, human and indigenous rights.
More oppression, more young people in goals, we have no say in the justice system, which is failing. Your system is about creating divisions, hate and racism and control over people who are already struggling under oppression.
Get out of your air-conditioned office. You need to visit the people on ground, see and listen to them or are you afraid to find and learn the truth. You are an outsider, an outcast, a nobody just like us. The governments have taken away all our indigenous and human rights in this country. We are now are separate from rest of Australian people. Otherwise I urge you to show aboriginal people evidence and proof that we are all equal.
Show me where you and your government have had consultation, meetings with my people. Show us where this great law is protecting women and children, give us the evidence on how many convictions there has been with sexual child abuse, rape, murders, where is this indigenous pedophile ring your governments statements stated at the beginning. We don’t need any controls and measures and taking away of our land to negotiate to come to an agreed partnership arrangements with governments and others.
Make your stand Warren, Human Rights for all people of different cultures. Support your peoples United Nations DECLARATION on the Rights of INDIGENOUS PEOPLES.
Start your journey on discovery of yourself, your people, humanity our brother, open you mind and let your spirits guide you. Focus on the whole issue not on particular points to pull the wool over our general public friends.
Tell the general public the truth don’t hide the rest.
A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred; he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity. Nelson Mandela – Freedom – Compassion
Ampilatwatja Community walk off spokesperson