Back before I had my Guardian account removed, I was an avid reader and commenter (who doesn’t go there for the comments sections?)
In July of last year I read a story that really did shock me, the story of Charlie. A 58 year old aboriginal man who had to have a kidney removed and dialysis three times a week since. He had to sleep rough in the town he was forced to travel to for dialysis because of a lack of services. Charlie ended up dying because he could not get back to his necessary dialysis regime when attending a funeral of a friend in a nearby town.
That story got all of 114 comments on the Guardian front page while it was there for all of a day – it wasn’t a particularly pleasant story or sexy in the least with no specific health minister proclaimed to be at fault.
The very next day the story that of course pushed it off the front page was the terrible and gruesome tale of Adam Goode being “booed” – can you believe it? – while playing football.
A national sporting hero, proclaimed Australian of the year, with money, cars and apartments was “booed”. The sheer humanity of his story made me weep.
As Australian of the Year of course it’s debatable what exactly Adam Goodes actually achieved. Indeed, he may have achieved anything he wanted merely by asking the media for a press conference and then presenting some issue or other that Aboriginal Australians were indeed concerned about – as both a national football icon and Australian of the year, they might’ve even turned up MULTIPLE times to spread whatever message he thought important. Who knows, perhaps old Charlie’s name might even have been mentioned?
However, no such press conference ever materialized and Adam Goodes putting the feather in his cap went on to quit football close to a year later after leading the country down a race baiting path that lasted most of that year.
At the time I remember fuming regarding the entire situation – you can indeed still find my diatribes in the comments sections of both stories.
The problem seems very simple. That the media is of course beholden to money. And by this I mean the news advertising time. Even our poor besmirched ABC has changed from the unbiased national broadcaster we are supposed to get, to leaning in towards larger government with a penchant for more spending in order to provide their services.
This creates a problem for Aboriginal people as a whole, because people like Charlie will never get their stories listened to or understood while this imbalance continues – no change will ever occur.
Today’s story regarding Pauline Hanson reminded me of this fact, with Murrandoo Yanner calling Pauline Hanson a racist when she had merely turned up to an art fair to listen to Aboriginal peoples issues.
I even have my own issues with Pauline Hanson as a Senator, I would’ve preferred Kirralie Smith, but we can’t always get what we want either.
Now I put to you that Murrandoo Yanner is an Aboriginal Activist, and like any good media savvy Aboriginal with ideas of bettering his circumstances he’s using the one avenue open to him. He’s taking cheap race baiting shots at Pauline Hanson with the media there – knowing that it’s the story they were really after.
Had she left that art fair without mishap, we would never have even heard about her being there.
Pauline at least has hit back in the best way I could think she could have – by posting a video asking Murrandoo if he has issues to be discussed to sit down with her. Face time with a sitting senator who frankly has been more than accepting of the need to meet the aboriginal needs of Queensland.
However, something tells me that with his “job” complete he will not take her up on the offer.
I personally think it’s time for the Aboriginal people to wake up and realise their circumstances are not going to be changed by the Aboriginal Councils (bureaucrats) or headline grabbing race baiting media.