I once heard a NAIDOC organizer say it was hard to remember what the letters stand for so it is sensible of the National Gallery of Victoria to prompt
readers with ‘National Aboriginal Islander Day Observance Committee’ in brackets in its promo for free NAIDOC Week Introductory talks on the gallery’s
wonderful indigenous art collection: July 5,6,7, & 8 at 12.30pm (just in case you’re in town on any of those days www.ngv.vic.gov.au for more info).
This week’s Green Guide story on the ABC show George Negus Tonight talks about his licence to kill (ie his producer does not force him to slavishly
follow topical issues). He is taking ratings points from the commercial channels, he says, because they have forgotten that current affairs is answering
the question ‘why?’ which is what people want to know, rather than just gawking at things sensational!
For NAIDOC Week George is giving indigenous Australians the chance to speak about things that matter to them – culturally, politically and socially. He
says he’s aiming to prod them into talking about things the way they see them. He says there is a lot of talking about indigenous Australians but he is not
convinced we do a lot of talking to indigenous Australians.
Rosemary Neill, a Walkley Award-winning journalist who has written many articles on indigenous issues in the Australian, certainly states things the way
she sees them in her book ‘Whiteout – How Politics is Killing Black Australia’ (2002). I found the book fascinating. She quotes anthropologist Les Hiatt
saying it’s becomingly increasingly difficult to speak honestly about indigenous issues in public because people do not want to admit that progressive
policies of the past, from both sides of politics, have failed. Words have become more important than outcomes and loyalty to ideals more important
than making these work. Food for thought!