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January 26, 2012 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Australian PM Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott are dragged from an Australia Day lunch by their security details after armed Aboriginal protesters surrounded the venue. The protestors arrived from the nearby Tent Embassy after comments made by Tony Abbott that it was time for the Embassy to "move on" - comments particularly pointed on a day many are trying to rebrand as Invasion Day.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot (62 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
FTA: After Ms Gillard was bundled into a waiting car and whisked away, a protester displayed one of Ms Gillard's blue high-heel shoes, which had fallen off during her hasty exit, and shouted: ''Gingerella, come get your shoe!''

This anti-ginger bigotry has gone too far.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:46 AM on January 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


"This anti-ginger bigotry has gone too far."

Really? Thats your takeaway from this?
posted by Blasdelb at 7:57 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait, Aborigines have been doing Occupy Canberra for 40 years! Holy crap!
posted by notme at 7:57 AM on January 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


BobbyVan was making a funny, I think (hope).
posted by Pendragon at 7:58 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


let's be honest ... very few of the loony but vocal left are trying to brand it invasion day ... many is an exaggeration.
posted by jannw at 8:04 AM on January 26, 2012


Classic!

People have been calling it 'Invasion Day' or 'Survival Day' for years, but they're usually called 'Indigenous' people, rather than the 'loony left'...

Pretty sure the Koori Mail refers to it as 'Survival Day,' or just January 26. I think it's usually 'Invasion Day' in the National Indigenous Times.
posted by Sedition at 8:16 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Where does the bit about the protesters being armed come from? The only reference to weaponry I can find in the article is in the hands of the police, but I didn't watch the video.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:25 AM on January 26, 2012


I found this report by CNN.
Gillard and federal opposition leader Tony Abbott were taken out of the building after a group of between 50 and 100 protesters from a nearby ceremony gathered around the building, bashing windows and brandishing sticks and rocks, according to federal police.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:38 AM on January 26, 2012


They were armed with the truth.
posted by euphorb at 9:09 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


To be clear, the protesters were angry at Abbott, and some claimed to have no idea Gillard was also in the building.

True fact: It's 25 years since the release of "Beds Are Burning" (and Peter Garrett is in Gillard's government).
posted by dhartung at 9:33 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mr Abbott said: ''I think the indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held by every Australian and, yes, I think a lot has changed since then and I think it probably is time to move on from that.''
Good grief, what a condescending prick.
posted by dvdgee at 9:45 AM on January 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


a woman in traditional Aboriginal body paint wrested a side door open and threw a handful of rose petals inside

Is there a significance to rose petals that I'm missing?
posted by desjardins at 9:49 AM on January 26, 2012


They aren't explosives.
posted by Jilder at 10:09 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


On a slightly more serious note, I have a great and mighty hatred for Australia Day as a whole. What an insult to make our day of national pride the same day that my ancestors arrived in their new prison, to make a prison of sacred land, to clear off the original inhabitants and built vicious new systems of punishment for their British masters. We inaugurated it with a gang rape and sealed it with genocide and I for one would rather pick a different day to celebrate the good things we have here. Fuck, roll a couple of dice, and you will find a date less fraught and ugly than 26/01
posted by Jilder at 10:20 AM on January 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


To hell with all the British colonists who think native inhabitants need to "move on". How about changing the flag, that smallest, humblest, easiest concession to reconciliation, so that everybody can feel part of Australia without having to salute such a terrible crime?
posted by Jehan at 10:26 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


How about changing the flag

Why is Australia a properous, successful society today? Because it was settled by the British.
posted by Dasein at 10:41 AM on January 26, 2012


Why is Australia a properous, successful society today? Because it was settled by the British.

So you're against the Maple Leaf flag of Canada, by that logic, right?
posted by Jehan at 10:50 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is Australia a properous, successful society today? Because it was settled by the British.
Just like America! Which why we don't celebrate the day we kicked them out oh wait we totally do.
posted by delmoi at 11:02 AM on January 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh god, dvdgee, could you have cherry picked anymore?

Here is Abbott's full quote.

"Look, I can understand why the Tent Embassy was established all those years ago. I think a lot has changed for the better since then. We had the historic apology just a few years ago, one of the genuine achievements of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister. We had the proposal which is currently for national consideration to recognise indigenous people in the Constitution. I think the indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held by every Australian and yes, I think a lot has changed since then and I think it probably is time to move on from that."

With how they acted I have to agree (for once) with Abbott.

What they did was stupid, meaningless and counter productive to everything they want.

I can't see their message having nearly as much sympathy after this.
posted by Zemoth at 11:48 AM on January 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why is Australia a properous, successful society today? Because it was settled by the British

Actually you could easily argue Australia was in better shape before it was settled by westerners... No cane toads! Amongst any number of other travesties brought upon the land by the colonists...

This goes the same for here in the USA.

But hey, I guess that's "progress" for society!

But seriously...they should do more for the native population.

As should we here in the USA.

And, yeah IMHO...the Aussie flag blows. It's even got a little Union jack on it... womp womp
posted by Capricorn13 at 11:48 AM on January 26, 2012


"Why is Australia a properous, successful society today? Because it was settled by the British"

Right because British settlers have done so many good things for the original residents of Australia. GENOCIDE? no, HELPING.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:54 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why is Australia a properous, successful society today? Because it was settled by the British.

Cite your sources, please.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:56 AM on January 26, 2012


Does calling it "Invasion Day" violate federal sedition laws enacted by the Howard government? It sounds like the sort of thing that might technically be illegal.
posted by acb at 12:08 PM on January 26, 2012


Why is Australia a properous, successful society today? Because it was settled by the British.

Well, yes, this is both completely true and also completely unhelpful. I could resolve the problems in the US healthcare system by killing every American citizen and resettling the American continent with Scandinavians. Sure, you'd have 300 million dead, but you'd have universal healthcare! Hooray!

(I'll be rude and presumptuous at this point and speak for non-Aboriginal Australians: do please call me out if I'm off the mark.)

The problem is how to go on from here. Which is easy for me to say, as a Briton: my side won. But we did win, and we're not going home, and we're not giving the Aboriginal people any significant land back or any ongoing serious money. So Australians surely need to do some deal involving some recognition of the racist basis of the state, some policy to improve things for the guys who didn't have gunpowder, and some refashioning of all Australian identities to some cohesive whole.

Changing the flag would seem to be a reasonable step in that process: this kind of symbol is important. As a Briton, I'll be sad about that, but also happy that it's progress towards a better country making its own new place in the world, respectful and celebratory of all its histories

But again, easy for me to say from a position of privilege.
posted by alasdair at 12:31 PM on January 26, 2012


Just like America! Which why we don't celebrate the day we kicked them out oh wait we totally do.

From a Native American perspective, the British were never kicked out.
posted by the jam at 12:55 PM on January 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yep. The "western" hemisphere never got rid of the cancer that arrived in 1492.
posted by pracowity at 1:16 PM on January 26, 2012


THE BALLAD OF JULIA

Well Julia was our PM and on one Australia Day
Her foil Old No Tony said that he would take away
The Aboriginal Embassay in Canberay
But the tenants said he was wrong and that it should stay

They banged on the glass to make their point and all knew right away
That Tony had gone to far this time but what now could they say
They knew they had to get Julia out right away
While they figured out how to keep the protestors at bay

A burly protection man bundled Julia away
She ensured that Old No Tony got treated the same way
The media swarmed around them like lions stalking their prey
All in all a fine circus on 2012s Invasion Day.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:25 PM on January 26, 2012


Why is Australia a properous, successful society today? Because it was settled by the British.

Australia is a prosperous nation. A lot, but not all of Australians get to share that prosperity.

Let's never ever forget the opportunity cost of that prosperity, and those that do not share in it today.
posted by MT at 1:30 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]



let's be honest ... very few of the loony but vocal left are trying to brand it invasion day


Not really, pretty common term going back decades now.
posted by smoke at 1:57 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


So you're against the Maple Leaf flag of Canada, by that logic, right?

I might have been in 1964. We fought in two World Wars under the various permutations of the Red Ensign and there was nothing wrong with it. The Maple Leaf is a much better flag design, but I don't think you go messing with national symbols just to stick it to the past. Australians have a lot to be ashamed of in their treatment of aboriginals, as do Canadians, but both countries have accomplished great things in their histories, and owe much of that to their British heritage. They shouldn't shy away from celebrating the good.
posted by Dasein at 2:41 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Personally I think the Tent Embassy should become a permanent, perhaps even formalized, part of our politically landscape. But at the very least, at the very least, it is absurd to suggest it should go anywhere while the the Northern Territory "intervention" is still going on. For Tony Abbott to essentially say, on January 26th of all days, that everything is fine now and they should all just go home, while the Racial Discrimination Act is still suspended and indigenous people do not have equal protection under the law is... is... superlatives fail me. It's just terrible. I don't think the protesters did themselves any favours yesterdays in a public perception / political astuteness sense, but geez... no wonder they were pissed.
posted by adamt at 4:03 PM on January 26, 2012


From the Tent Embassy facebook page:

"Announcement: Stolen shoe apology. A very formal handback ceremony due to the great importance, will be held to return the stolen shoe in return for the stolen land.

In the meantime, julia will be provided a voucher for replacement footage only at specified shops. Footage from SBS and the ABC will not be acceptable as these providers may be too difficult to manipulate. No further mileage from the incident is to be made.

Julia will be eligible to make a shoe title claim which will take approximately twenty years or more before this is seriously considered. This will be dependant on Julia being able to show continuous connection with the shoe. This may be difficult to prove as she will not have had the shoe for 20 years.

Julia will also have to provide evidence she is a full-blooded shoe owner.

Well aware of the mileage he would get out of this footage incident, Tony was willing cede sovereignty of the shoe without resistance, proving he doesn't have a leg to stand on. In the spirit of reconciliation, Tony is offered a voucher to assist in costs to cover his crutch.

Jamms Shoe Title Collective"


Tent embassy facebook page
posted by Sedition at 4:34 PM on January 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I might have been in 1964. We fought in two World Wars under the various permutations of the Red Ensign and there was nothing wrong with it. The Maple Leaf is a much better flag design, but I don't think you go messing with national symbols just to stick it to the past. Australians have a lot to be ashamed of in their treatment of aboriginals, as do Canadians, but both countries have accomplished great things in their histories, and owe much of that to their British heritage. They shouldn't shy away from celebrating the good.

Well, do you think you celebrate it under a different name and with a different flag then? People keep mistaking me and mine for you colonists. My ancestors stayed at home and had nothing to do with the genocides, and yet I'm the one labeled "British" as though I'm in association with all those murderers in the history books. Why should I get the blame for your crimes? I once had a white Australian ask if I was ashamed of what my people did to her country, as though it were my ancestors in the Black Line and not hers!
posted by Jehan at 4:46 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bob Carr's take is worth a read.
I agree with Tony Abbott and think his remarks entirely sensible. The tent embassy in Canberra says nothing to anyone and should have been quietly packed up years ago. The “activists” who run it would be better off investing time in youth programs in indigenous communities. Every government in Australia is aware of its responsibilities to Aboriginal Australians. The debate is how you narrow the gap not whether you should and the debate is as serious within the Aboriginal community as between it and the white.

Anyway here we have again the bankruptcy of the old Leftist approach: throw a demo. Every time some respectable body does this – the ACTU or Unions NSW or a pro-refugee group – the same thing happens: on the street the extremists take over. The Trots love a blue, “the worse things are the better they are” and by radicalizing everyone and breaking heads it all hastens the World October, onto revolution, comrades.
posted by sien at 4:47 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dasein: Can you tell me what natural resources the Britons brought with them TO Australia that made it such a powerful nation?

I mean, If it truly was the British who "made Australia great", they must have brought everything they needed TO Australia. Surely they didn't need any of the bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, rare earth elements, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, or petroleum that belonged to the people who already lived in Australia, they must have brought it all with them, yes?

....They didn't? they had to take it from the people already there?

Hmm.

Okay, then, surely it must have been because England was sending the finest of their citizenry to settle the nation, yes?

No? Hmmm.

It almost makes one wonder whether the British settlers who did arrive -- most of them unwillingly - could have gotten quite so powerful without the contribution of the Aboriginal peoples.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:55 PM on January 26, 2012


Can you tell me what natural resources the Britons brought with them TO Australia that made it such a powerful nation?

Infectious diseases, livestock, and the concept of Crown-owned mineral rights.

It almost makes one wonder whether the British settlers who did arrive -- most of them unwillingly - could have gotten quite so powerful without the contribution of the Aboriginal peoples.

If the British arrived in Australia and there were no Aboriginal peoples, then I imagine things would have turned out more or less the same for the British. What do you think would have happened differently?
posted by kithrater at 5:26 PM on January 26, 2012


It almost makes one wonder whether the British settlers who did arrive -- most of them unwillingly - could have gotten quite so powerful without the contribution of the Aboriginal peoples.

It's worth pointing out for non-AUSians that the Brits went, in fact, to great pains to pretend that there were no aboriginal people.
posted by smoke at 6:36 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


People keep mistaking me and mine for you colonists. My ancestors stayed at home and had nothing to do with the genocides

Just who exactly do you think is a colonist here? I was born in Canada, same as any aboriginal Canadian. My ancestors didn't commit genocide, thank you very much.

Dasein: Can you tell me what natural resources the Britons brought with them TO Australia that made it such a powerful nation?

Who said they brought natural resources with them? They exploited what was there. They brought the industrial revolution and the Protestant work ethic.

It almost makes one wonder whether the British settlers who did arrive -- most of them unwillingly - could have gotten quite so powerful without the contribution of the Aboriginal peoples.

Well, if you count stealing their land, then, yes, that's a contribution, and I don't think anyone's denying that. But the land was sitting there and would still be sitting there, unexploited, if Australia had never been discovered. I agree that the law needs to recognize that that land was not properly taken in the first place, but you can't say that the wealth would have been created without the British. It wouldn't have been.

Regarding the British not exporting their "best and brightest" - that's exactly the point. The settlers were an underclass at home, but they arrived and they made something of it. They didn't sit around for 30 years in a shack protesting the mistreatment of their ancestors.
posted by Dasein at 7:11 PM on January 26, 2012


30

40.
long time to wait for payment. very patient people.
posted by de at 7:30 PM on January 26, 2012


Truthful account of the events here.

Bob Carr, quoted above, agrees with Tony Abbott that the Tent Embassy's methods of protest were discredited by the events today. But from what I saw, the peaceful protest meant that every TV channel had to spend all of Australia day talking about the legacy of the Tent Embassy, the present state of Indigenous politics, and the history of colonial disposession. Michael Anderson was interviewed on Sky News at great length and in great detail during prime time. This is extraordinary. A rough equivalent would be a small political action that left nobody injured, but meant that every 4th of July Barbecue was spent discussing the current predicament of American Indians, and the relative merits of various forms of activism.
posted by wwwwwhatt at 7:40 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's the video interview with Michael Anderson, founder of the Tent Embassy. This was broadcast on Australia's most influential 24-hour news channel on a day that is usually wall-to-wall treacly jingo. I encourage everyone to watch it for crucial context.

Consider also that Aborigines are usually completely invisible in coverage Australian politics. Occasionally silent women and children are used as an excuse for discriminatory and paternalistic policies, but activists are almost never seen.
posted by wwwwwhatt at 7:54 PM on January 26, 2012


They exploited what was there.

That's precisely my point. There had to be resources there for them to have made something of. I mean, any yutz can do great work if they have good tools, right? (Or, in the settlers' case, if they STEAL the good tools from the people who had them first.....)

But, at least you admit that they exploited the Aboriginals' land. so that's a start, I suppose.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The mob violence that wasn't.
posted by smoke at 8:35 PM on January 26, 2012


Well, if you count stealing their land, then, yes, that's a contribution, and I don't think anyone's denying that. But the land was sitting there and would still be sitting there, unexploited, if Australia had never been discovered.
I'm pretty sure the aboriginals knew about it before the settlers arrived.

Regarding the British not exporting their "best and brightest" - that's exactly the point. The settlers were an underclass at home, but they arrived and they made something of it. They didn't sit around for 30 years in a shack protesting the mistreatment of their ancestors.
So I'm sure if someone broken into your house at gunpoint (backed by a corrupt local constabulary: this kind of situation), kicked you and your family out and kept all yourstuff, then remolded and made it more valuable, that would be a good thing because they would have "made something of it" and while you would now be homeless. The total amount of wealth in the world would have increased, right? So totally a good thing and I'm sure you'd not complain at all and even thank them for increasing the property value of a home you no longer own.

Talk about a weak argument. It's basically "They weren't really using it so of course we had every right to take it!!"
posted by delmoi at 9:28 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aboriginal protesters torch Australian flag outside Parliament.

Aboriginal tent embassy protesters have burnt the Australian flag at the front steps of Parliament House as tensions surrounding the controversial protest site erupted in Canberra today.

The escalation came as Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she was unaware of claims one of her staffers may have triggered yesterday's ugly Aboriginal protest, which culminated in her being dragged from a Canberra restaurant by her security team.

A crowd of at least 400 protesters this afternoon marched from Old Parliament House up Commonwealth Avenue and stormed the front verandah of Parliament House about 2.30pm, despite a large police presence.
posted by kithrater at 10:02 PM on January 26, 2012


Consider also that Aborigines are usually completely invisible in coverage Australian politics.

I have been in Australia for 2 years (based in Sydney, with a fair bit of work travel), and I can't recall interacting with many aboriginal people in day to day life - bus drivers, restaurant waiters, bank managers, supermarket cashiers, the usual occupations one comes across all the time - even though I do not live in a bubble of privilege.

I think Bill Bryson wrote something about this, calling them "invisible people", but I don't have the actual passage handy.
posted by vidur at 10:53 PM on January 26, 2012


I think Bill Bryson wrote something about this, calling them "invisible people", but I don't have the actual passage handy.

Found it, I think.

Look, I think the Aboriginal community has every right to protest, and that the Tent Embassy is still relevant, especially in the light of the NT 'intervention' which is, frankly, a paternalistic, infantilising, racist disgrace.

But this nonsense - a violent assault on the PM, because the Opposition leader decided to say something stupid - is utterly disgraceful. It invalidates their protest, and makes them look like a bunch of crazy people. Which they aren't - they have serious genuine grievances.

And come on, if you're going to riot every time Tony Abbott says something stupid, you'll be at it all day. The man can't go for a walk around the block without saying something stupidly racist, or posing for a photo whilst wearing hideous speedos.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:29 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aboriginal protesters torch Australian flag outside Parliament.

Big deal. It's just a piece of cloth.

The local news media is going insane on this. Whilst at the doctor's today, I actually saw a Channel 7 reporter reporting about the reporters on other networks who are, in turn, reporting on the local reports of this sordid little scuffle.

That's like breaking the ninth wall.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:34 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


With how they acted I have to agree (for once) with Abbott.

So you agree that 'the indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held by every Australian'? You seriously believe every Australian respects Indigenous people? Most Australians? Half? A third?

And you think a lot has changed since the early 1970s? Like what, exactly? If you're stuck in a remote Aboriginal community, you should 'move on' to where or to do what, precisely?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:23 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


a violent assault on the PM

Dude, I think you've been drinking up some of the media hyperbole. If you can furnish the slightest evidence that there was anything like a violent assault on the PM, I'll eat my hat. Read that New Matilda Piece I linked to. There was chanting and banging on the glass of the restaurant.

Even in my cyncisism, I'm surprised at how much oxygen this absolute non-event is getting. The anti-carbon tax people would be stoked if they got this much coverage from a couple of hundred people and no PR campaign.
posted by smoke at 1:04 AM on January 27, 2012


Dude, I think you've been drinking up some of the media hyperbole.

You're right - my language was a touch hyperbolic, and I apologise. It looked pretty bad when I saw the footage yesterday, but that was probably a side effect of Channel 9's creative editing and a reasonable amount of apple cider.

I've now looked at it all again. I'm still of the view that banging on the windows, trying to force your way through the doors, and throwing things at the PM as she is herded to her car counts as violence, albeit mild. I doubt that the the protesters had any serious intent to harm. However, I still think that their behaviour was pretty awful.

Nevertheless, the cops, as per usual, seemed to be overreacting and all too happy to put the boot in. It looks like, from the various footage, that they exacerbated the situation by being very free with the the shoving, and generally overreacting.

Even in my cyncisism, I'm surprised at how much oxygen this absolute non-event is getting. The anti-carbon tax people would be stoked if they got this much coverage from a couple of hundred people and no PR campaign.

Have to agree with on that. It's very silly.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:59 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn it. You. Have to agree with you on that. Me no type good.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:18 AM on January 27, 2012


Aboriginal protesters torch Australian flag outside Parliament.

Well, at least they weren't wearing it as a fucking cape.

And basically this is a bit of a beat up - if you actually watch the footage of the PM and opposition leader fleeing to their comcar, there is a couple three protesters in the vicinity, but mostly camera people and other media types all over the place trying to cover the 'event' and mostly getting in the way.

There is still a hell of a long way to go on righting the wrongs that began on 26 January 1788, and while Rudd's apology in Parliament a couple years back was an important and moving first step, it was mostly symbolic. I don't know if the best way forward takes the form of something like South Africa's truth and reconciliation committee thing, or if we finally need to devise a formalised treaty, in the way that British colonists did with the Maories in New Zealand back in the day, but we're a long way from solving the problems created by two centuries of violence, neglect, paternalism, and just general abuse.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:53 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I think you might want to check that link Smoke, I think this was what you meant to link too.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 3:13 AM on January 27, 2012


Whoops a daisy!
posted by smoke at 3:20 AM on January 27, 2012


[fixed smoke's link]
posted by taz at 3:24 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad that you reminded me that New Matilda is back
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 3:27 AM on January 27, 2012


Why is Australia a properous, successful society today?

Because China is buying their natural resources at an extraordinary rate?

Here's another one: why are the Australian Aborigines so far from being prosperous and successful today?

Oh, and who used to own the land that all these natural resources are being extracted from at great profit?

Oh, and why aren't those original owners of that land profiting from the extraction of those natural resources?

Great mysteries, these questions. Great mysteries.
posted by yoink at 11:02 AM on January 27, 2012


and I can't recall interacting with many aboriginal people in day to day life
I've got a few indigenous friends. Most don't particularly look Aboriginal. None of them speak with an accent different to mine. If you aren't in the outback you might struggle to recognise indigenous Australians in a cosmopolitan place like Sydney.
posted by bystander at 8:27 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


But the land was sitting there and would still be sitting there, unexploited, if Australia had never been discovered. I agree that the law needs to recognize that that land was not properly taken in the first place, but you can't say that the wealth would have been created without the British. It wouldn't have been.

Discovered? Good grief, what century are we in? I don't see why the wealth needed to be created in the first place. World's not going to end if some natural resources don't get sold.

Regarding the British not exporting their "best and brightest" - that's exactly the point. The settlers were an underclass at home, but they arrived and they made something of it. They didn't sit around for 30 years in a shack protesting the mistreatment of their ancestors.

If it was strictly success driven by their Protestant work ethic, they should have made something of themselves in Britain, no? Or in Australia, where they were still, y'know, restricted by being convicts.

Australians, please correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the various Gold Rushes what provided the critical mass for Australia to economically thrive?
posted by desuetude at 10:17 PM on January 27, 2012


What do Aussie mefites think of Pat Dodson (his recent comments)?
posted by vidur at 2:23 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I personally thought that editorial was excellent when I read it.
posted by smoke at 4:01 PM on January 30, 2012


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