Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Mabo: 20 Years Later
June 2, 2012 7:38 AM   Subscribe

At least the South Africans acknowledged the ownership of 400,000 square miles of South Africa by the original native inhabitants. We would regard [Ian Smith, the then Prime Minister of Rhodesia] as going entirely berserk in Rhodesia if he acknowledged no native land rights at all. But the position in Australia is that we acknowledge no native land rights whatever. We took the lot with our proclamations of sovereignty.
That complaint, made by Mr Beazley MP in 1967, was corrected twenty years ago on 3 June 1992, when the High Court of Australia found that "the common law of this country recognizes a form of native title", overturning the doctrine of terra nullius that had held since the 1830s.

While there had been earlier laws recognising limited forms of Indigenous land rights, it was not until after the Mabo court case that the Australian Government passed the Native Title Act 1993, which set out the framework through which Indigenous people could make claims to native title. Around 16 per cent of Australia's land mass is now covered by native title determinations.

The extent to which native titles rights existed, and how these rights should interact with existing property and settlement, was subject to fierce debate: some public figures raised the spectre of native title endangering the backyards of suburban private property owners, and miners and pastoralists achieved a variety of exclusions. Subsequent court cases and legislation served to better define, but ultimately weaken, native title rights.

Some reflections of two decades after Mabo:

Dr Mary Edmunds, Anthropologist: "There is effectively universal agreement that the recognition of native title has delivered neither the bright future it promises to indigenous people nor the catastrophe feared by those whose interests felt threatened."

Noel Pearson, Indigenous community leader: "The opportunity of Mabo is not completely lost to the country, but it is in severe decline. It is going to slip from the hands of the country as long as the political and judicial leadership remains as poor as it has been."

Prof Marcia Langton and Prof Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh give a radio interview on why the high hopes of native title reform have not come to pass.

So where to from here? 27 May to 3 June was National Reconciliation Week 2012, and this year's theme was "Let’s Talk Recognition": a reference to the report Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution that was presented to the Australian Government on 19 January 2012. The report calls for the Government to take advantage of a "historic opportunity to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia, to affirm their full and equal citizenship, and to remove the last vestiges of racial discrimination from the Constitution".

Many see constitutional recognition of, and revision of the so-called race powers regarding, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders an important next step in advancing the causes of both native title and broader reconciliation. However, constitutional reform is a rarity in Australia, with only eight of forty-four proposed ammendments being approved, the last occuring in 1977.
posted by kithrater (37 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Don't forget The Redfern Speech. One of the finest pieces of oration ever delivered on the subject of native title.
posted by Talez at 8:27 AM on June 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


The starting point might be to recognise that the problem starts with us non-Aboriginal Australians. It begins, I think, with the act of recognition. Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing. We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination and exclusion.

Yes, that really is a great speech.
posted by kithrater at 8:38 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't forget Midnight Oil, Beds Are Burning. Peter Garrett made the issue so clear even us Yanks knew what was up. "It belongs to them. Let's give it back." No American singer had the balls to say anything like that.
posted by jonp72 at 8:38 AM on June 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is an absolutely fantastic post, kithrater. Thanks for these links and reflections. Here in Canada we are coming up on the 15th anniversary of the Delgamuukw decision, which was our own Mabo. I can guarantee you that there will be no National Reconciliation Week around December 11, but, inspired by you, there will be a fantastic Metafilter post coming that day.
posted by salishsea at 8:52 AM on June 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


"It belongs to them. Let's give it back."

This is part of the reason I got out of Indigenous Affairs. There exists an overwhelming positive sentiment from a large majority of the population to just fucking sort it out already. But, 45 years of federal power to intervene on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and most socio-economic indicators have not changed for the better, and we are still left with atrocious results when you compare Indigenous to non-Indigenous education, employment, mortality, morbidity, and incarceration.

I had hoped to maybe uncover a Snidley Whiplash, rubbing his or her hands gleefully at the continued impoverishment of these peoples. But, no. I might drink less had I found such a person, organisation, or faction. Trying to explain what, how, and why this state of affairs persists proved beyond me, and I am deeply suspicious of anyone who claims to have it all worked out. And so, to many, it becomes another wicked problem to be studied in public policy seminars.
posted by kithrater at 9:04 AM on June 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Me too kithrater, from the Canadian perspective. I worked for the federal government for three years on rights and title issues. I have worked for 20 more years in indigenous communities on issues big and small.

I have no answers. Mostly I feel like we focus on making things immediately tolerable in the hopes that small interventions might create a tipping point for a few people. Systemic interventions go nowhere.

Until there is real power and real capacity and a shared purpose, this is not likely to change. With our current Canadian government's agenda in place, I can't see how my children's generation will notice many happy results either. The only good news in Aboriginal Canada in my lifetime has been the rights and title victories and an increase in post-secondary education attendance. While that is worth celebrating, a trip to the Inuit communities of Nunavut, for example, will sober you up quickly.
posted by salishsea at 9:16 AM on June 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


A terrific post, thanks.

Languagehat footnote: while my understanding is that Australians universally pronounce nullius as /ˈnʌlɪəs/ (NULL-ee-us), the -i- is long in Latin (nullīus), which means that it's properly /nəˈlajəs/ (nuh-LYE-us).
posted by languagehat at 12:16 PM on June 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thank you for this thoughtful and thought-provoking post. Even though we don't overtly teach Manifest Destiny any more, it's still descriptive of the U.S.
posted by Anitanola at 12:40 PM on June 2, 2012


There exists an overwhelming positive sentiment from a large majority of the population to just fucking sort it out already. But, 45 years of federal power to intervene on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and most socio-economic indicators have not changed for the better,

I'd be part of that majority of people, but I don't understand why you think that just sorting it out already should have any short term effect on socio-economic indicators. It's not some giant welfare handout with strings attached saying "get a job!", it's an attempt at something more closely resembling justice and fair play.

Any significant effect it has on socio economic indicators would surely be generations away? I don't understand how handing someone title to a chunk of land, often in the middle of economic nowhere could be expected to change these things in a few years. What is an owner going to do? Go and live on it, where there are no jobs? Copy the Americans and build a casino... where there are no people? Mine it using skills and technology you don't have? Sell it (or rights to it) and put your descendants back to square one of being landless natives?

Honest question: How are people thinking that title to land would/should be used that would generate community-changing prosperity within a generation?
I'm not familiar with the specifics - do the settlements give natives commercially valuable properties? (such as exclusive commercial fisheries rights?)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:26 PM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't find a cite, but I've heard criteria for "terra nullius" was described as "the ground has never been broken by an agricultural tool", which seems like a good faith attempt - it suggests it's ok to settle on land even if nomads have passed through, but non-nomadic peoples have clear claim to their land. However my understanding of the good faith in which such a law would be applied a few hundred years ago could be officers standing in the middle of a cropfield outside a native village saying "Well I don't see any broken ground around here. How about you Mister Edwards, do you see any broken ground?" "No sir, I don't see any broken ground. Just fields of grass. How about you Mister Burrows?", "Right then, plant the flag!"
posted by -harlequin- at 2:43 PM on June 2, 2012


(I'm aware there are non-agricultural, non-nomadic peoples, but I have a broader international education than most people in hundreds-of-years-ago-Europe :) )
posted by -harlequin- at 2:44 PM on June 2, 2012


Non-North American native peoples don't even get neo-traditionalist ethnic enclaves empowered by techno-magic in Shadowrun.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:48 PM on June 2, 2012


What a great post; thank you.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:18 PM on June 2, 2012


Don't forget Midnight Oil, Beds Are Burning. Peter Garrett made the issue so clear even us Yanks knew what was up.

Pity many Aussies don't. I've lost count of the number of people who 'love me Oils moit' but are utterly opposed to their left-wing agenda.

A bit like Eric, who 'fuckin' hates poofs' but is never more than two pots away from rocking out to Bronski Beat.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:06 PM on June 2, 2012


However my understanding of the good faith in which such a law would be applied a few hundred years ago could be officers standing in the middle of a cropfield

It's a difficult historical question, how and when exactly terra nullius was applied to Australia. In a practical sense, it was applied from the founding of Australia in 1788. But, the closest to an official proclamation of terra nullius was that made by Richard Burke, then Governor of New South Wales, in 1835. Even then, that proclamation doesn't use the term "terra nullius", and wasn’t made to justify the Government seizing land, but rather to halt the habit of farmers making "treaties" with local Indigenous peoples in order to gain cheap access to land and to avoid having to pay the Crown for its usage.
posted by kithrater at 4:09 PM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


kithrater: Thankyou, this is an excellent post.

Talez: The Redfern speech was excellent, and so was Keating's preparedness to confront bigots and smack them down on talkback radio [abridged transcript]. He wasn't perfect, far from it, but he was pretty damn good on this.
posted by robcorr at 4:21 PM on June 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd be part of that majority of people, but I don't understand why you think that just sorting it out already should have any short term effect on socio-economic indicators. It's not some giant welfare handout with strings attached saying "get a job!", it's an attempt at something more closely resembling justice and fair play.

My thinking once was that significant public goodwill enables and encourages politicians to pursue radical and expensive policy decisions, and that well thought out radical-and-expensive policy decisions should lead to better socio-economic outcomes. But, as you point out, it is more difficult than this: handouts with or without strings attached appear not to have worked, and some Indigenous leaders such as Noel Pearson claim that so-called "sit-down money" has caused more problems than it has solved. And when the Government does attempt more radical-and-expensive policy, such as the Northern Territory Emergency Response / Closing the Gap reforms, the results have been mixed, to say the best.

How are people thinking that title to land would/should be used that would generate community-changing prosperity within a generation?

Well, few people think this anymore - most people, as in the linked stories and radio interview, would agree that Native Title did not live up to their hopes and dreams. Marcia Langton says in the radio piece that they got the best deal they could at the time, but it was still a bad deal. It has worked well for some Indigenous peoples, who have managed to secure deals that provide employment and royalties worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and not so well for others.

I'm not familiar with the specifics - do the settlements give natives commercially valuable properties? (such as exclusive commercial fisheries rights?)

One of the real weaknesses of the current regime of native title is that it all depends on the specifics of the native title claim, the resources behind these claims, and how interested parties respect this claim. Probably the only universal right for those found to have a valid native title claim is a seat at the negotiating table when it comes to use of the land by miners, pastoralists, etc. Exclusive possession has only been granted in a few native title claims - in most claims, native title rights co-exist with other rights, such as those of an existing pastoral lease or mineral rights, and are often subservient to these other rights.
posted by kithrater at 4:46 PM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sure it makes me naive - and well it should, I'm still a young man and was just a boy when Mabo happened - but goddamn, I really I find our collective failure to meaningfully address issues for Aboriginals in Australia so, so depressing.

For every Mabo Act, or "Sorry", there's a hundred "Interventions". Aboriginals are demonised in popular media - if they are heard at all, it's only ever one-dimensional stereotypes, or unrepresentative spokespeople like Pearson (who you'd think was the first and last word on Aboriginal issues, the way Howard and the media drool over him).

Perhaps I wouldn't find it so bitter, if I felt that the government in particular were trying their best. But when shit like Little Children was used as mere grist for the political mill of the of day, with Howard cherrypicking which conclusions suited his agenda and leaving the rest behind. It's so cynical. And seeing Abbott and others (let's face it, it's not all on the Coalition side, either), get up there and use these shocking, jaw-droppingly terrible situations to position themselves as white knights, that these incredibly complex, nuanced, long-term issues can be resolved with an "action plan" *retch*, that the problems facing Aboriginals in Australia could be resolved with the right policy recipe, and the failures until now where simply a result of lack of commitment, goodwill etc. It's so depressing. A real politician, when talking about indigenous policy, would and should be the first to say, "we don't know".

And most Australians just trundle on, knowing nothing and caring less about Aboriginals, except when the Tele informs them of all the aboriginals getting a "free ride".

I enjoyed "Go Back to Where You Came From" last year, and I'm disappointed to see they're doing it with "celebrities" this year. I thought a better idea would be to take some "average" Australian out to remote aboriginals communities instead. I mean it wouldn't ignite the conversation and awareness Australia still needs to have, imho, but I think it would have been illuminating for a lot of people.

Until we have that conversation and acceptance, as a nation, I can't envision anything meaningful happening for Aboriginal people. Then again, I think back to my primary schooling in the 80s, it was all "explorers", and "pioneers" - terra nullius was very much a part of the QLD state curriculum in that respect. My Modern History teacher in high school had to covertly teach us about the frontier wars here because it was so far removed from the curriculum, and he was (rightfully) worried he would get in trouble in my country high school. I understand it's quite different now, and kids are being taught a lot more about Aboriginal cultures and presence in Australia. I just hope it's not trapped in amber, as it were, so they understand it's a present, living culture. We'll see. I would love to see some meaningful progress in my lifetime. The next Mabo.
posted by smoke at 5:34 PM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Smoke...one thing you could do to move things along is learn the traditional names of the place where you live, and actually use them, given that they probably predate the current names by several tens of thousands of years. We have been doing that where I live in British Columbia - leading up to the winter Olympics, the road signs on the highway to Whistler were changed to have the Skwxwu7mesh names appear first - and it has raised awareness and started many many conversations among average, typically but benignly ignorant folks where I live. Immigrants in particular I find are fascinated to learn about First Nations issues, history and current cultural realities, as they are not generally infected with the same kind of entitled self-importance as long time, multi-generational settlers.

Harlequin...you make a good point about the long term that it will take for these issues to move needles. In Canada, Aboriginal title does have real economic implications, even though it currently exists only as a legal concept. One thing it does is to put the onus on companies and governments to properly consult with First Nations before resource developments occur. Sometimes, when things work out well, these consultations result in agreements that can address pressing community issues, such as funding new infrastructure, or capitalizing a health or education fund. That can be the immediate gain.

in the long term though, having title in place means that communities can become more self-sufficient in terms of engaging in economic activity currently undertaken by industrial interests. It means communities can enjoy some increased health, with access to traditional foods. But it is not simple nor unproblematic.

And also, the doctrine of just polanting a flag because no one planted a plough was specifically addressed by Delgamuukw in Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada said you can't just plant a flag and make it yours. So that was good news.
posted by salishsea at 6:16 PM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


In Canada, the Harper government is doing a good job of playing Snideley Whiplash (e.g. pretending that the UN has no right to point out that many reserves have difficulty getting adequate food).

One good-faith reason why Canadian First Nations reserves are in bad shape is remoteness. Reserves close to major population centers may develop a reputation for fine wine (the NK'MIP), but the more remote they are the worse off they are. For example, health care. A town of a few hundred people that can only be reached by air cannot get 21st century medical care no matter how much money is thrown at the problem. A parent has to take the entire day off work to get her kid in to see a specialist, a huge burden even if transport is fully paid for. If the specialist happened to call in sick that day, try again next week? (source: 3 relatives delivering health care to first nations reserves)

The best solution I can think of would be to cede a fully subsidized apartment building in a nearby major city to each first nation, in addition to their traditional reserve lands.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:20 PM on June 2, 2012


Smoke...one thing you could do to move things along is learn the traditional names of the place where you live, and actually use them, given that they probably predate the current names by several tens of thousands of years.

It is enormously unlikely that any place names anywhere in the world are that old. To suppose that Australian place names, specifically, are that old is to suppose that they were preserved in the face of internal and external migration, through the change and development of languages, and against the common human practice of renaming things for convenience or because of changes in significance.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:41 PM on June 2, 2012


No American singer had the balls to say anything like that.

To be sure, there continue to be ways today in which the treatment of Native Americans is analogous to the treatment of Aboriginals, but one key difference is certainly that there has been a legal framework for the recognition of native land rights for a very long time. For one example known to me, a northwoods Wisconsin "cabin" (almost a mansion of a cabin) built before WWII is on land with a disputed title; the native seller's heirs have been trying to get it back, via the courts, since roughly the 1950s, and sometime around the 1980s succeeded in taking an undeveloped portion (the cabin's formal garden). Related somewhat was a 1970s legal battle that finally recognized treaty-granted hunting and fishing rights. Again, this is not to suggest some moral high ground, just a less stark legal situation.
posted by dhartung at 12:31 AM on June 3, 2012


Thanks for this thoughtful post and the very informative comments. I'm one of the masses who doesn't really understand the nuances and just wants it sorted out for the sake of justice. But while I think the symbolic level was helped greatly by Rudd's apology (and I do think symbolism is important) it's bleeding obvious that the practical level is in the same messed up condition it's always been in.

I completely and utterly support any genuine attempt to improve the situation. And I'd love to hear about any suggestions for personal actions I could take to demonstrate that support or make a difference. I like the idea of using Aboriginal placenames wherever possible (apart from some suburb names and Uluru, I don't get the idea we do great in that area). When I can tell it's appropriate, I name the individual Aboriginal group in question (Noongyar or Wadjirri are the ones nearest to me, to the best of my knowledge) rather than lumping them all together as if there were no differences between tribes and regions.

Smoke's idea of a version of "Go Back to Where You Came From" sending people to various Aboriginal communities is pretty good. I think people would be very suprised by what they saw.
posted by harriet vane at 5:36 AM on June 3, 2012


I don't claim any great expertise in aboriginal affairs, and if I was a Commonwealth Minister, I would run a million miles from Jenny Macklin's job.

But I really would question the assumption that I'm reading here that this is something that can easily be "just sorted out" or that more money will solve anything. The problems are wicked, they are multitudinous, I don't think that there are any simple answers to very complex problems. Well meaning and talented people have spent a lot of time trying to improve the lot of aboriginal Australia. The problem cannot be simply boiled down to a charge of racism, any body trying to play that card isn't credible, I don't believe.
posted by wilful at 4:56 PM on June 3, 2012


I'm also going to say something unpopular that will get me howled down, I'm sure, but as a reasonably firm (non-proselytising) atheist, I find aboriginal mystical claims of spiritual connections to Country to be about as much woo as claims of transubstantiation of the blood of Christ and the existence of Ley lines and chakras. Not to form the basis of any rational social justice policy. Don't misinterpret me, I'm categorically not saying that there shouldn't be social justice for this class of institutionally depressed/suppressed people, it is a travesty and a black mark on Australia as a developed nation. Land rights should be recognised, not due to an pre-literate creation myth but to improve the lot of aboriginal people most effectively and to right a legal wrong.
posted by wilful at 5:09 PM on June 3, 2012


I'm no expert myself, Wilful, but I would hazard a guess that for many Aboriginal people inhabiting those lands, there may not be a division so clear-cut as all that.
posted by smoke at 5:18 PM on June 3, 2012


take some "average" Australian out to remote aboriginals communities instead... I think it would have been illuminating for a lot of people.

It's a tricky one. I think many Indigenous people would be concerned that such a show could promote negative stereotypes, that of the remote ghetto. While the intended message of "Go Back to Where You Came From" is "these are ordinary folks like you but subject to forces outside their control" would be more-or-less the same in such a show, it would be much harder to convey. Without easily identifiable external events, many people would blame the conditions in those remote settlements on the inhabitants in line with the just world fallacy.

I find aboriginal mystical claims of spiritual connections to Country to be about as much woo as claims of transubstantiation of the blood of Christ and the existence of Ley lines and chakras

wilful, you might find this talk by Peter Sutton and Marcia Langton* from 2009 interesting. In it, Peter Sutton talks in part about finding that the "connection to country" is missing in the younger generations of Indigenous peoples, and that much of the spiritual tradition could effectively be wiped out once the current generation of elders are gone.

The problems are wicked, they are multitudinous, I don't think that there are any simple answers to very complex problems.

In that talk, Peter Sutton poses what he believes to be the first question any honest policy should answer, which is [paraphrasing] "should government continue to fund and maintain racially segregated communities"? And while I'm not sure I agree with his answer of "no", it is a very good question because of the follow-up questions it forces any answer to grapple with. If you answer no, what then? If you answer yes, then how, for how long, at how much cost, and to the detriment of what other areas of social spending?

* I'm not secretly Marcia Langton, she just seems to be in all of the sources I wanted to use for this FPP!
posted by kithrater at 8:46 PM on June 3, 2012


Languagehat footnote: while my understanding is that Australians universally pronounce nullius as /ˈnʌlɪəs/ (NULL-ee-us), the -i- is long in Latin (nullīus), which means that it's properly /nəˈlajəs/ (nuh-LYE-us).

Law talkin' people are taught to use the nuh-LYE-us pronunciation, so no, NULL-ee-us is not universally used.

It's a kind of 'secret handshake' in-group designator, much the same way as body pokin' people say MED-sən instead of the more common 3 syllable MED-ə-sən.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:46 PM on June 3, 2012


kithrater, I'll watch that when I get time, thanks.
finding that the "connection to country" is missing in the younger generations of Indigenous peoples, and that much of the spiritual tradition could effectively be wiped out once the current generation of elders are gone
I like the richness of human diversity and culture so I'm sad. But I abhor superstition and nonsense so I'm glad.
If you answer no, what then? If you answer yes, then how, for how long, at how much cost, and to the detriment of what other areas of social spending?
Indeed, that is the nub of it. No simple answers. Even trite issues, such as can dugong be hunted with rifles and speedboats fall under this.

Are Australians interested in helping maintain a distinct aboriginal culture, even where it is divorced from most of its meaning and practices, and comes with real costs, including financial, or should aboriginal culture be swept away, lost into the mix of modern Australia?

Can't say I have the answer.
posted by wilful at 9:05 PM on June 3, 2012


Smoke...one thing you could do to move things along is learn the traditional names of the place where you live, and actually use them, given that they probably predate the current names by several tens of thousands of years.

That's long been the case in a lot of places. From the area I grew up in Sydney, for example, you've got Cronulla (Kurranulla, little pink sea shells) or Jannali (place of the moon) . There are countless examples all over Sydney & the country: Woollomooloo, Woollongong, Wangaratta, Coonabarabran, Warringah, Parramatta, Gunnamatta Bay, Kirribilli, Lilli Pilli, Wee Waa, Toongabbie, Cabramatta, Turramurra, Woollahra, Tamarama, Maroubra, Coogee, Cooranbong...even Bondi is the Aborginal name for the famous beach.

Naming places with Aboriginal names is the one thing we actually do well.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:44 PM on June 3, 2012


Here's a better list, including Canberra, the national capital.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:50 PM on June 3, 2012


And I live in Buln Buln, which in Woiwurrung (spoken by the Wurundjeri) means lyrebird. It's near Warragul, which means wild dog (dingo), and there are several wild dog businesses in town.
posted by wilful at 10:52 PM on June 3, 2012


Who normally wins the Lyrebirds vs Dingoes football matches? Or does Buln Buln only have a netball team?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:22 PM on June 3, 2012


They're actually the Buln Buln Lyrebirds. But they face the Warragul Industrials or Dusties, not the doggies. I've been editing that wikipedia list.
posted by wilful at 11:32 PM on June 3, 2012


I live in Melbourne, which is named after a tribal leader of my people. He was born more than two hundred years ago and was a consort of the famous warrior queen Victoria who led the tribe in wars against the wicked French, who coveted their land.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:41 AM on June 4, 2012


That's right. The aboriginals didn't have a place name for Melbourne, because they knew that nobody in their right mind would want to live there.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:21 AM on June 4, 2012


Since I said I was one of the people saying I'd love have the issue "just sorted out", I'd like to add that I realise it's not that easy. My heart just wants someone to wave a magic wand and make everything better. Aboriginal babies should have the same chances as the rest of us at having a reasonably decent life; health and education funding shouldn't be contingent on allowing the state and mining companies to extract all the value from your land (oh man i hate Colin Barnett); when I think of the abuse dished out to the Stolen Generation for Their Own Good my heart just breaks.

But I do understand that it is a wicked problem, multi-faceted and difficult to address without causing other problems. It's just so huge that sometimes I despair of us ever getting it right.
posted by harriet vane at 10:55 PM on June 4, 2012


« Older The photograph...  |  The gas station of the future?... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments