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No-one would ever call me someone who is interested in politics! I don’t strongly align myself to any political party. To be honest I don’t understand most of what goes on in the political realm and so my closed mouth is a reflection of that… but I am annoyed today about politics! Something very unusual for me!
As I read yesterday about Julia Gillard enforcing her chosen person onto the pre-selection decisions in the NT it made me grumpy! I felt sorry for Trish Crossin who has lost her role through our Prime Minister’s decision, I can’t begin to imagine how terrible that would feel.
Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to see many more indigenous people in politics (and government leadership of all shapes and sizes) and I have nothing against Nova Peris either. But I have great uneasiness when I consider the way in which this was handled.
This decision reeks of favouritism and racism to me. Do we want aboriginal people in parliament just because they were the Prime Minister’s pet project? Rather, shouldn’t our parliamentarians be strong and wise leaders, whose COMMUNITY chooses them to represent them? Will Ms Gillard be ensuring that we have other nationalities and minorities in her party also? Why is she highlighting indigenous people in this way?
Nova Peris may be a wonderful selection for the Senate… I don’t know her, so it’s hard to judge. But what is really bugging me is the underlying attitude of our nation’s leader that seems to imply that the only way our indigenous people can be leaders in parliament is through her “special assistance” or “Captain’s pick” as she called it. Perhaps what annoys me most is that this act just seems to be another ‘handout’ from the government to try and ‘fix’ the problems that are evident in our indigenous communities.
Some people might question whether the method of her appointment is really a big deal. Isn’t it better to have an indigenous lady in this position than not at all? At least this way, she can be a voice for her community… and yes to some extent that is true. But from the little I know of aboriginal culture (even though I live within it!) leadership, pride and family connections are complicated but very important in determining how someone will be treated and the respect they will be shown. By our Prime Minister simply making her selection on who should be a leader, is this undermining the leadership process of our indigenous community? And it also appears to be a slap in the face to other indigenous politicians who have served their communities for many years, without such special favour being bestowed upon them.
I hope and pray that Nova Peris is a great politician and is able to bring great change, understanding and wisdom to our government, from her point of view as a successful aboriginal woman. But I hope also that our politicians would truly seek to listen, visit, experience and understand the culture and way of life for our indigenous brothers and sisters. Maybe they could experience the complexities of life stuck in between cultures and see the impact that their decisions made so far away in Canberra and capital cities have on families and communities in remote Australia.

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