Wednesday, 27 January 2016

On Stan Grant's speech

As I sit writing, rain on a tin roof...

From the Ethics Centre website 26 January 2016


Over a million people have viewed Stan Grant’s powerful speech from the final IQ2 debate of 2015, where he argued that while racism is destroying the Australian dream, we're better than that. We asked a number of Indigenous men and women what we can do to make a real difference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians."

LINK is here  

ooO _______Ooo

I was pleased to be asked for my thoughts on:
  • how Australians can use Stan Grant's speech as a launching pad for practical and political change? It needn’t be focussed around specific policies (although it could be), but more about
  • trying to convert the feel-good process of watching a video and sharing it online into something that might actually *help* the very people who Stan speaks about so compellingly.
  • Or perhaps reflecting on the significance of the speech the day before Australia/Survival Day and what it means at this time of year...

This is a lot to include in a response capped at 200 words and - as always happens with hot social media topics - there is never enough time to do it justice. 
I will return to this important national discussion over the next weeks and months.
But for now, as per the Ethics Centre website, my 237 words....

Siv Parker – We haven’t done this before
We haven’t had enough feel-good moments cast around Aboriginal Australia for this nation to be in a position to waste one. So where to from here? 
An icebreaker may help to shake off a few nerves. It would be easier on all of us if we took a breath and agreed – we haven’t done this before. 
Bridge walks, town meetings, community events, The Apology and the land help to give us all our bearings. 
But a digital world makes it easier to satisfy a yearning for substance, to extend ourselves beyond fleeting online interactions. 
The anticipated referendum around constitutional reform is a hook on which to hang our shared history. I have no doubt we can agree to include Indigenous Australians in the constitution. I am not the only one willing to make a start on talking about what that could look like.
We won’t need to invoke great moments from foreign countries to define us, we can create our own. Indigenous people are on the crest of a wave – in asserting ourselves in words, art, performances and knowledge systems – that has been decades in the making. This nation can do better. That is the promise within our ancient story telling tradition. A story is not a one-sided affair. We don’t listen to a story, we become a part of it. In years to come, they will continue to tell stories that includes us all.

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