Not surprising I suppose. Peter Hartcher wrote a leading piece on the theme that we need to do our best for the most forgotten and disadvantaged people in our midst. This is a really strange thing to say, considering the endless refrain about the issue of the Indigenes that has been near the top of the totem pole of concerns since the 1970s. In 1966 the topic of concern at the annual Students Union conference was the lack of graduates from that community and in London in 1972 both Karl Popper and Ernst Gombrich (doyen of art historians) asked me what we were doing about the Aborigines.
The “forgotten people” are constantly in our faces in every aspect of culture, most obviously in the form of the so-called national flag that flies on many schools and public buildings. This combines a monstrous lie (as though the warring tribes constituted a nation with a flag) with a message of separation and division that is the polar opposite of reconciliation. And they complain that we are not getting enough reconciliation!
Likewise the rampant political correctness of our football administrations. In the NRL there is a divisive us against them NRL game each year, there is the absurd notion of the indigenous rounds. And the preposterous beat-up and bullying in the Goodes case.
I replied to Popper and Gombrich that everyone was concerned about the Aborigines but nobody knew what to do. A few months later the Whitlam Government administration arrived and soon embarked on a massive passive welfare program and related affirmative action initiatives. Late in the day people like Noel Pearson announced that passive welfare was the problem not the solution.
As for constitutional recognition and segregated seats in the House, how does any sane person think that even more divisive initiatives on top of the previous mistakes will promote reconciliation.
But what can you expect from Peter Hartcher. This is Peter on Penny Wong. For people who are still interested in the election campaign near the end of the Penny Wong story there is an interesting sound clip embedded. It describes the ALP launch in Queensland and some other aspects of the campaign. Advice from IPSOS polls that indicated that the race was tighter than the national swing suggested so it would end up as a seat by seat election.