Thursday, May 31, 2018

Time for conversation and truth-telling

Looking over the Upper Hunter from Mount Royal, NSW

For the third time, I have left Facebook, and this third time will definitely be the FINAL time.

There is no going back for me, not after everything we actually really did know, coupled with extra dark and menacing stuff that maybe we didn't know but perhaps we did or had forgotten, as well as all the Cambridge Analytica sinister antics - curtains for me 100%.

As I have previously mentioned in this blog (I think?), since September 2016 I have been a councillor for the Upper Hunter Shire Council, and so now that I am no longer on Facebook and therefore no longer have a 'Councillor Page' I am going to use blogger to post regularly (that is if Europe's new General Data Protection Regulation doesn't impede me). Naturally anything I post will be all my own opinions, thoughts and views, and at no time will I ever be speaking on behalf of council.

There ... we've got that sorted (sigh).

On Monday 28th May 2018 we had our Ordinary Council Meeting and in the spirit of National Reconciliation Week I moved:
"That the Upper Hunter Shire Council work with the Wanaruah people and other relevant bodies to create a communications plan that focuses on 'broader community education to help the community better understand Aboriginal people's experiences of January 26.'"
Last September (2017) I put a similar motion to the Upper Hunter Shire Council but it was not even seconded so I never got a chance to talk to it.

This time it was, so in speaking for the motion and inspired by Mark McKenna after reading his recent Quarterly Essay, I said that:

"We need to recognise that the destruction of Aboriginal society was the price of European development. We need to recognise that the material success of Australian society was built upon the dispossession of Indigenous Australia. We need to recognise that it is the time for conversation, truth telling, treaty and settlement. 

We have to do more than begin public meetings with an acknowledgment of country that in itself is so silent when we stop short after "traditional owners of the land."  

Mark McKenna, the historian, in his Quarterly Essay entitled "Moment of Truth," suggests we should continue with a completing clause after we refer to Aboriginal people as traditional owners of the land with the words:

"... which was taken away from them without their consent, treaty or compensation."
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is an invitation to all Australians to start our future together, but to do that we need to recognise unequivocally the brutality of Australia's foundation and listen to Indigenous Australians tell their histories in the spirit of "Makarrata" (healing and coming together after a struggle).

Please, councillors, let us start this conversation in the Upper Hunter Shire."

Out of the seven councillors who were at the meeting three of us voted for the motion, and whilst I was disappointed that yet again it wasn't carried, I felt a little  heartened that two of my fellow councillors thought starting a conversation was a good idea, and that after the meeting the General Manager suggested he might be able to arrange a link up with the Wanaruah people for a meet and greet.

So, perhaps it's actually started ...

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