Tag Archives: indigenous issues

The taxman cometh (but only for what he can see)

There have been two great transformations in human affairs. One is the Neolithic Revolution, the transition from foraging to farming. This is a transformation which is still going on, as there are still some foraging groups around the planet (though it is a vanishing way of life). The second is the Industrial Revolution, the shift […]

The law tells it as it was

One of the more irritating historical memes is the preposterous notion that the American Civil War was not “really” about slavery, it was about tariffs and states rights. Fortunately, it is easy to demolish this claim for the historical canard it is. All one has to do is to read the Constitution of the Confederate […]

Suffer the little children: the burden of culture

A description of what confronted a Commonwealth officer in the Northern Territory during the Pacific War (1941-5), when thousands of service personnel passed through the Northern Territory: … once you introduced a European or Asian father any child of that liaison had any rights as an Aboriginal extinguished at birth. They were not classed as […]

Australia Day shenannigans

I have to say that I am pretty unimpressed with the actions of the activists who forced Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to flee the Lobby Restaurant yesterday, where she was attending an Australia Day function to celebrate emergency services. For non-Australian readers, yesterday was Australia Day, a public holiday which falls on the anniversary […]

Tribes and Tribulations

If I were an indigenous person trying to make life better for my people, I’d prefer that my cause not be “adopted” by one particular side of politics. Once you get adopted by one side, the other side won’t look at your legitimate claims and grievances, regardless of how much merit they have. Just look at the recent furore involving […]

Bolta, racism and free speech

Hello all, I’m still not back at work yet, but I am slowly getting better from pneumonia. I should be back at work next week. A while back I mentioned that certain indigenous plaintiffs were bringing legal action against Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt. Maybe I’m odd; I don’t have the visceral hatred of Bolt […]

Representating a group and indigenous politics

For some reason, I’ve been thinking of indigenous politics lately. Perhaps it was because of my post on Andrew Bolt and aboriginality. Perhaps it was also because of the recent debate about Queensland’s Wild Rivers legislation. I’ve been thinking of the way in which politicians tend to latch on to a “preferred” indigenous spokesperson, usually […]

Ethnic identity and the law

A long time ago, I was having a debate with some Jewish friends as to when a person could be entitled to call themselves a Jew. One friend claimed that the important factor was self-identification as a Jew. The other claimed that the important factor was recognition of one’s status as a Jew by other […]

Welcoming ceremony

I was not brought up in any particular religious context. There’s not much standing on ceremony in my family. Still, if I ever go to someone else’s house, I try to make sure that I follow their traditions, whatever they may be. I just think that it’s the respectful thing to do. Secretly, just between […]

Offence, the Net and the Law

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (Evelyn Beatrice Hall, biographer of Voltaire) Disapproving of what someone says but defending their right to say it is sometimes very hard. It sounds fine in principle…until you see something that is really challenging to your ideas […]